Discover History

Discover History

Journey to the past and discover history when you visit the historic Northwest. Take part in a dramatic reenactment of Philadelphia’s only Revolutionary War battle. Discover a Quaker safe house for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad. Wander throughout the residential streets of Mt. Airy and admire more than 250 years of architectural history. Venture into historic houses that are open to the public – you can sip on sangria inside an 18th century estate or enjoy a Dickens production in a restored Victorian mansion. Visit Mt. Airy and Germantown and experience living history. Click here to view a map of locations of historic sites.

Upcoming History Related Events

  • October 4, 11:00 am

    Revolutionary Germantown Festival- The Battle of Germantown

    On October 4, 1777, the Continental Army attempted to fight the British out of Germantown. Washington and his troops lost the battle and were forced to retreat to Valley Forge for the winter. Come out for this annual reenactment of the Revolutionary Battle of Germantown and other fun activities!

CLIVEDEN

Built in 1767 built for the Chew family, Cliveden was the site of the Battle of Germantown, Washington’s attempt to liberate Philadelphia in 1777. Its collection of decorative art is world-renowned. Today Cliveden serves as a community resource, home to concerts, festivals, and a resource in the preservation of Germantown. Don’t miss the dramatic reenactment of the Battle of Germantown on Cliveden’s grounds in October! It takes places during Revolutionary Germantown, a lively festival that draws thousands to Mt. Airy every autumn.

6401 Germantown Avenue Plan It! | 215.848.1777  | www.cliveden.org
Hours: Guided tours April – December: Thursday-Sunday 12 – 4 PM. Open by appointment outside of stated hours.
Admission: Adults - $10, Students $8. AAA and Philadelphia Card Holders receive 2 for 1 admission. National Trust and Cliveden Members are free.

EBENEZER MAXWELL MANSION

The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is Philadelphia’s only authentically restored Victorian house museum and garden. Upon entering the museum, visitors step back in time to discover a living record of the comforts and tastes of the rising middle class in an era when gas lighting, grained woodwork and stenciled ceiling decorations were emblems of social standing. The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion regularly hosts Victorian craft workshops and Victorian dinner theater – reserve tickets in advance for the popular Dickens Christmas shows and the Lizzie Borden murder mystery productions!

200 West Tulpehocken Street Plan It! | 215.438.1861 | www.ebenezermaxwellmansion.org
Hours: Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 12 – 4PM.
Admission: $6 per person.

JOHNSON HOUSE

Built in 1768, was home to three generations of abolitionist Quakers. In the 1850s, the house harbored runaway slaves as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The Johnson House is one of the few remaining Underground Railroad Stations in Philadelphia open to the public. Hear captivating stories of runaway slaves and their escape to freedom on a dynamic guided tour.

6306 Germantown Avenue Plan It! | 215.438.1768  | www.johnsonhouse.org
Hours: February – June and September – October, Thursday and Friday: 10 AM – 4 PM. All year, Saturday: 1 – 4 PM. Open by appointment outside of stated hours
Admission: Adults - $8, Seniors - $6, Children 12 & Under - $4

AWBURY ARBORETUM

Awbury Arboretum is a 55-acre site, originally the private estate of the Cope-Haines family, wealthy Quaker shipping merchants. Located in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Awbury is a green oasis in a densely populated area. Since 1984, the Awbury Arboretum Association has connected the urban community with nature and history. Get away from it all as you walk through the wooded paths, or join a group and volunteer at the Agricultural Village.

The Francis Cope House, One Awbury Road Plan It! | 215.849.2855 | www.awbury.org
Hours: Grounds are open to the public, sunrise to sunset.
Admission: Free.

HISTORIC RITTENHOUSETOWN

Historic RittenhouseTown, a National Historic Landmark District located in Fairmount Park, is the site of British North America’s first paper mill built by the Rittenhouse family in 1690. Eight generations produced paper and textiles and ground grain. Six of the original 45 buildings survive including the 1707 Homestead and ca. 1725 Bake House.

206 Lincoln Drive Plan It! | 215.438.5711 | www.rittenhousetown.org
Hours: June – September on Saturday and Sunday: 12 – 4:00 PM. Open by appointment outside of stated hours.
Admission: Adults - $5, Seniors & Children - $3. Current Historic RittenhouseTown Members
are free.

STENTON

Stenton is the c.1730 country house of William Penn’s Secretary, James Logan; one of the central figures in colonial Pennsylvania history. It is one of the best preserved and most believable historic houses in Philadelphia. Through the story of Logan, Stenton interprets life in the early 18th century. Stenton regularly hosts archaeological tours, lunchtime lectures, holiday teas, and even decorative arts workshops.

4601 North 18th Street Plan It! | 215.329.7312 | www.stenton.org
Hours: April – December, Tuesday – Saturday: 1 – 4 PM. Open by appointment outside of stated hours.
Admission: Adults - $5, Seniors & Students - $4, Children 6 & Under – Free. Friends of Stenton are free.

WYCK

Wyck is a 2 ½ -acre urban oasis at the southwest corner of Germantown Avenue and Walnut Lane, which includes a historic house, rose garden, small farm and lawn. By experiencing Wyck, visitors explore the lives, interests, habits and curiosities of the Quaker family who owned the property from 1689-1973. Learn how to tend to your garden at the rose symposium or purchase produce at Wyck’s farmers market on Fridays from June thru November.

6026 Germantown Avenue at Walnut Lane Plan It! | 215.848.1690 | www.wyck.org
Hours: April – December, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays: 1 – 4 PM. Open by appointment outside of stated hours.
Admission: Adults - $5, Seniors - $4

DESHLER-MORRIS, or THE GERMANTOWN WHITE HOUSE

The Germantown White House (Deshler-Morris) served as a temporary refuge from the 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic for President George Washington and his cabinet. The First Family returned here the following summer to enjoy the pleasant country surroundings. This National Park Service site interprets President Washington's household, including the enslaved African American servants.

5442 Germantown Avenue Plan It! | 215.597.7130 | www.nps.gov/demo
Hours: Open for tours April- December: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM – 4 PM. Admission: Free

CONCORD SCHOOL & UPPER BURYING GROUND

The Concord Schoolhouse, Germantown’s first English-language school, was a school from 1775 until 1892, supported by a fund allowing any family that could afford the fee to enroll children, including African-American families who rented the school house in the 1850s. Revolutionary War soldiers lie buried in the Upper Burying Ground.

6309 Germantown Ave. Plan It! | 215.844.1683 | www.concordschoolhouse.org
Hours: Open by appointment.
Admission: Suggested donation of $5 Adults, $3 Children 18 & under.

GRUMBLETHORPE

Grumblethorpe, a 1744 Colonial German farmstead with Revolutionary War significance, features period furnishings and an extensive two-acre garden.

5267 Germantown Avenue Plan It! | 215.880.8620 and 215.843.4820 | www.philalandmarks.org
Hours: Open by appointment.
Admission: Adults - $5, Seniors & Students - $4, Family - $12, Children 6 & Under – Free. Landmarks Members are free.

LA SALLE UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM

La Salle University Art Museum houses over 4,000 objects and provides a survey of Western art from the fifteenth century to the present. Smaller collections of Japanese prints, Indian miniatures, Pre-Colombian ceramics and African sculpture.

1900 W. Olney Avenue Plan It! | 215.951.1221 |  www.lasalle.edu/museum/
Hours: Academic Year, Monday – Friday 10 AM – 4 PM. Open by appointment outside of stated hours.
Admission: Free. Donations gratefully accepted.

GERMANTOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Germantown Historical Society ensures that the history, artifacts and publications related to the Germantown section of Philadelphia are collected and interpreted for visitors and researchers.

5501 Germantown Avenue Plan It! | 215.844.0514 | www.germantownhistory.org
Hours: Museum & Library hours: Tuesdays 9 AM – 1 PM, Thursdays 1 – 5 PM, 1st and 3rd Sundays 1 – 5 PM. Open by appointment outside of stated hours.
Admission: Museum: Adults - $3, Seniors & Students - $2, Children 10 & Under – Free. Archives: Adults - $10, Students - $5. GHS members receive free admission to the museum, library and archives.

ACES MUSEUM

The ACES Museum is home to Parker Hall, an entertainment venue for Black soldiers during World War II. Today, the museum honors minority veterans through exhibits and programs.

5801 Germantown Avenue Plan It! | 215.842.3742 | www.acesmuseum.org
Hours: Open by appointment.
Admission: Donations greatly appreciated.

GERMANTOWN MENNONITE HISTORICAL TRUST

Germantown, the first permanent settlement of Mennonites in America, features this 1770 meetinghouse. It houses the table where the first protest against slavery in America was signed.

6133 Germantown Avenue Plan It! | 215.843.0943 | www.germantownmht.mennonite.net/
Hours: Open by appointment.
Admission: Donations greatly appreciated.

HOOD CEMETERY

The Hood Cemetery is one of Germantown's oldest historic sites, located on land set aside in 1692. It is estimated that more than 1000 persons are buried within its two acres, including many of the earliest settlers of Germantown.

4901 Germantown Avenue Plan It! | 215.844.1683 | www.hoodcemetery.org
Hours: Open by appointment.
Admission: Donations greatly appreciated.

Fun Fact

William Allen, the mayor of colonial Philadelphia in the mid 18th century, built an estate in 1750 at the corner of what is Allen’s Lane and Germantown Avenue today. Mt. Airy is named after the estate, but you cannot pay a visit to the neighborhood’s namesake today – it was demolished over 150 years ago. 

Partnership

Historic Germantown

Thanks to our partners at Historic Germantown for helping to develop this page. For more information about historic offerings in Northwest Philadelphia, visit freedomsbackyard.com.