Germantown is a neighborhood in the northwest section of the city, rich in historic sites and buildings from the colonial era. 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.
The Germantown area of Philadelphia is one of Philadelphia’s oldest settlements. It was originally settled by Mennonite and Quaker German speaking émigrés from Holland, Germany and Switzerland attracted to Philadelphia by William Penn’s promises of religious tolerance. 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. When Philadelphia was occupied by the British during the American Revolutionary War, British units were housed in Germantown. It was the site of the the Battle of Germantown in 1777. During his presidency, George Washingtown 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.
Some other notable attractions include the Awbury Arboretum, the Germantwon Cricket Club, Cliveden, Grumbelthorpe, Johnson House, Rittenhousetown, Stenton, Upsala and the Wyck House. Germantown is lively and diverse, with people of many backgrounds, races, and income levels. It has a long history and a strong sense of community and still retains its cobblestone streets. Housing stock ranges greatly, from Colonial single family, to row to stately mansions.