Founded in 1901 as the Site and Relic Society of Germantown, the Germantown Historical Society is dedicated to preserving, protecting, and interpreting the rich and diverse history of the historic German Township (now Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill) in northwest Philadelphia.
The Society carries out its mission with a museum, library and archives. Our programs are designed to address the needs and interests of the multicultural community of area residents, schoolchildren, and national and international visitors that we serve. Our publications sample parts of the history of not only Germantown, but also of neighboring Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill which Germantown Avenue bisects.
Germantown's story is the story of founding and settlement, religious freedom and tolerance, patriotism, abolitionism, architectural excellence, industry, and community service. Come to GHS and learn about the first German settlement in the New World, the nation's earliest "urban village," the site of the first written protest against slavery, the setting for the Battle of Germantown, the nation's first commuter suburb served by one of the nation's first railroads, and then the "town within a city" served by the longest streetcar line in the nation. Visit other sites to learn about the Victorian Age, the Underground Railroad, and, yes, a place where George Washington really did sleep. Discover why thousands of Irish, Italians and African Americans made German Township their home.