- Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Germantown is a neighborhood in the northwest section of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, about 7–8 miles northwest from the center of the city. The neighborhood is rich in historic sites and buildings from the colonial era, a few of which are open to the public.
Germantown stretches for about two miles along Germantown Avenue northwest from Windrim and Roberts Avenues. The boundaries of Germantown borough at the time it was absorbed into the city of Philadelphia were Wissahickon Avenue, Roberts Avenue, Wister Street, Stenton Avenue and Washington Lane. Today, the next neighborhood to the northwest, Mount Airy, starts around Johnson Street, although there is no universally recognized exact boundary. Nicetown lies to the south and Logan, Ogontz, and West Oak Lane lie to the east.
Germantown was founded by German settlers, thirteen Quaker and Mennonite families from Krefeld (Germany), in 1681. Today the founding day of Germantown on October 6, 1683, is remembered as German-American Day, a holiday in the United States, observed annually on October 6.
On August 12, 1689, William Penn at London signed a charter constituting some of the inhabitants a corporation by the name of "the bailiff, burgesses and commonalty of Germantown, in the county of Philadelphia, in the province of Pennsylvania." Francis Daniel Pastorius was the first bailiff. Jacob Telner, Derick Isacks op den Graeff and his brother Abraham Isacks op den Graeff, Reynier Tyson, and Tennis Coender were burgesses, besides six committeemen. They had authority to hold "the general court of the corporation of Germantowne," to make laws for the government of the settlement, and to hold a court of record. This court went into operation in 1690, and continued its services for sixteen years. Sometimes, to distinguish Germantown from the upper portion of German township, outside the borough, the township portion was called Upper Germantown.
In 1688, five years after its founding, Germantown became the birthplace of the anti-slavery movement in America. Pastorius, Gerret Hendericks, Derick Updegraeff and Abraham Updengraef gathered at Thones Kunders's house and wrote a two-page condemnation of slavery and sent it to the governing bodies of their Quaker church, the Society of Friends. The petition was mainly based upon the Bible's Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Though the Quaker establishment took no immediate action, the The 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, was an unusually early, clear and forceful argument against slavery and initiated the process of banning slavery in the Society of Friends (1776) and Pennsylvania (1780).
When Philadelphia was occupied by the British during the American Revolutionary War, several units were housed in Germantown. In the Battle of Germantown, in 1777, the Continental Army attacked this garrison. During the battle, a party of citizens fired on the British troops, as they marched up the Avenue, and mortally wounded British Brigadier General Agnew. The Americans withdrew after firing on one another in the confusion of the battle, leading to the determination that the battle resulted in a defeat of the Americans. However, the inspirational battle was considered an important victory by the feisty Americans. The American loss was 673; the British loss was 575. The battle is called a victory by the Americans because along with the Army's success under Brigadier General Horatio Gates at Saratoga on October 17 when John Burgoyne surrendered, it led to the official recognition of the Americans by France, which formed an alliance with the Americans afterward.
During his presidency, George Washington and his family lodged at the Deshler-Morris House in Germantown to escape the city and the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. The first bank of the United States was also located here during his administration.
Louisa May Alcott, author of the novel Little Women, was born in Germantown in 1832. Germantown proper, and the adjacent German Township, were incorporated into the City of Philadelphia in 1854 by the Act of Consolidation.
Bright April, a 1946 book written and illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli, features scenes of Germantown of the 1940s while addressing the divisive issue of racial prejudice experienced by African Americans, a daring topic for a children's book of that time. Selected digital images of this book are available here.
Germantown, as are all areas of Philadelphia, is zoned to schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Germantown High School is in Germantown.
Germantown is the location of the private Quaker schools Germantown Friends School, Greene Street Friends School, and The William Penn Charter School, the oldest Quaker school in the world. The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf occupies the former site of Germantown Academy, which moved to Fort Washington, Pennsylvania in 1965.
National Historic Landmark Districts
National Historic Districts
- Awbury Historic District
- Tulpehocken Station Historic District
National Historic Landmarks
- Cliveden, the estate of Benjamin Chew, an important site during the Battle of Germantown
- Germantown Cricket Club
- John Johnson House, a site on the Underground Railroad
- Charles Willson Peale House
- Wyck House
Other historic sites
- Alden Park Manor
- Barron House
- Concord School House
- Ebenezer Maxwell House
- Gilbert Stuart Studio
- Green Tree Tavern (Germantown)
- Lower Burial Ground (Hood Cemetery)
- Mennonite Meetinghouse
- Loudoun Mansion
- The Connie Mack House
- The Upper Burial Ground
- Vernon Park
- Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), born in Germantown, noted author of the Little Women series of books
- James Barron, naval hero
- Martin Grove Brumbaugh, Governor of Pennsylvania, 1914–1919
- Charlotte Wardle Cardeza (née Drake), Titanic passenger
- Benjamin Chew, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania
- Walter Leighton Clark, American businessman, inventor, and artist
- Bill Cosby, entertainer
- Charles Darrow, inventor of Monopoly game
- Eve Jihan Jeffers , entertainer
- Henry Gibson, actor
- Nelson Graves, Philadelphian cricketer died in Germantown in 1918
- Rufus Harley, jazz musician
- Bernard Hopkins, professional boxer
- Maggie Kuhn, activist, founder of the Gray Panthers
- George Landenberger, 23rd Governor of American Samoa
- George Lippard, 19th-century novelist, journalist, playwright, social activist, labor organizer, most widely read author in the United States, 1844–1854
- Eric Lobron, German chess champion of American descent
- James Logan, statesman
- G. Love, born Garrett Dutton III, front man of the musical band G. Love and Special Sauce
- Connie Mack, winningest manager in Major League baseball history
- J. Howard Marshall, wealthy magnate and former husband of the late Anna Nicole Smith
- Jimmy McGriff, jazz musician
- Robert L. McNeil, Jr. (1915–2010), developer of Tylenol and chairman of McNeil Laboratories
- George T. Morgan, former chief engraver at the United States Mint
- Francis Daniel Pastorius, leader of Germantown settlement
- Sun Ra, surrealist and musician
- Edmund Randolph, the first United States Attorney General
- David Rittenhouse, astronomer, mathematician, first director of the United States Mint
- Owen J. Roberts, Supreme Court Justice
- Charley Ross, four-year-old kidnapping victim in 1874
- Francis Schaeffer, theologian, especially influential as an Apologist
- Ron Sider, founder, Evangelicals for Social Action
- Gilbert Stuart, painter
- Frederick Winslow Taylor, engineer, management theorist, and consultant
- Meldrick Taylor, professional boxer
- Bill Tilden, tennis player
- George Washington, first president of the United States. Lived in Germantown briefly at the Deshler-Morris House.
- Grover Washington, Jr., saxophonist
- Owen Wister, author
- ^ Reuters: German American Day 2008
- ^ The Library of Congress: Chronology 'The Germans in America'
- ^ http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natregsearchresult.do?fullresult=true&recordid=0
- ^ http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/underground/pa6.htm
- ^ http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Text/66000687.pdf
- ^ http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1141&ResourceType=Building
- ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
- ^ Singer, Natasha. "Robert L. McNeil Jr., Chemist Who Introduced Tylenol, Dies at 94", The New York Times, June 3, 2010. Accessed June 4, 2010.
- Web pages Describing Historic Germantown
- Art by Joseph Ropes (1812–1885), Scene in Germantown, Pa., 1874
- Art by Anna Peale Sellers (1824–1905), Belfield Farm (near Germantown)
- Art by William Britton, Market Square, Germantown, c. 1820
- Greater Germantown Housing Development Corporation
- East Germantown Blight Certification, City Planning Commission, 2003
- Phillyhistory.org, Historic Photographs of Philadelphia, City Archives
- Germantown Historical Society
- A small collection of Germantown general court records, which cover the years from 1691 to 1701 and include information on disputes related to land, apprenticeships, sales of goods, personal matters, and other issues, is available for research use at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
- G-town Radio: The Sound from Germantown, G-town Radio is an internet radio station located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. The website says, "Our mission is to become an outlet for local content, community news and great music."
- Chronology of the Political Subdivisions of the County of Philadelphia, 1683–1854
- Information courtesy of ushistory.org
- Incorporated District, Boroughs, and Townships in the County of Philadelphia, 1854 By Rudolph J. Walther – excerpted from the book at the ushistory.org website
Neighborhoods of the Northwest Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Andorra • Beggarstown • Chestnut Hill • East Falls • Germantown • Manayunk • Morton • Mount Airy • Roxborough • Wissahickon • Wister
Incorporated Districts, Boroughs, and Townships in the County of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania prior to the Act of Consolidation, 1854
Aramingo Borough | Belmont District | Blockley Township | Bridesburg Borough | Bristol Township | Byberry Township | Delaware Township | Frankford Borough | Germantown Borough | Germantown Township | Kensington District | Kingsessing Township | Lower Dublin Township | Manayunk Borough | Moreland Township | Moyamensing District | Northern Liberties District | Northern Liberties Township | Oxford Township | Passyunk Township | Penn District | Penn Township | Philadelphia City | Roxborough Township | Richmond District | Southwark District | Spring Garden District | West Philadelphia Borough | Whitehall Borough
Coordinates: 40°02′37″N 75°10′55″W / 40.04361°N 75.18194°WCategories:
- Neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Municipalities in Philadelphia County prior to the Act of Consolidation, 1854
- 1689 establishments
- 1854 disestablishments
- German-American history
- Historic districts in Pennsylvania
- Populated places in Pennsylvania with African American majority populations
- Populated places established in 1683
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