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Germantown Apartments

Germantown Apartments Listings

Germantown was originally the Borough of Germantown, a town in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania and is today primarily a neighborhood in Philadelphia, about six miles northwest from the center of the city. The neighborhood has been fully built up as a part of an urban city, but is rich in historic sites and buildings that have been preserved. Many of these are open to the public. Germantown stretches for about two miles along Germantown Avenue northwest from Windrim Avenue. The next neighborhood to the northwest, Mount Airy, starts around Johnson Street, though there is no universally recognized exact boundary.

In 2005, the median home sale price in the 19144 zip code, which contains most of Germantown, was $95,000. This was an increase of 23% over the median price in 2004. The median home sale price in the 19138 zip code, which contains part of East Germantown, was $82,050. This was an increase of 37%.

Map of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania highlighting Germantown Borough prior to the Act of Consolidation, 1854The town was first settled in 1683 by immigrants from the Rhine Valley. In 1681 William Penn published a broadside in German to recruit settlers for his new colony. The first group to respond, Mennonites from Krefeld, Germany, arrived in Philadelphia on the Concord in October 1683.

A settlement in German Township, which was commenced by Pastorius, October 21, 1685. 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 German towne, in the county of Philadelphia, in the province of Pennsylvania.” Francis Daniel Pastorius was the first bailiff. Jacob Telner, Dirck Isaacs Opdagraaf, Herman Isaacs Opedegraaf 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, Francis Pastorius drew up the first documented protest against negro slavery in American history.  Therefore, Germantown can be said to be the wellspring of the Pennsylvania German, or Pennsylvania Dutch, ethnic group in the United States.  When Philadelphia was occupied by the British during the American Revolutionary War, several units were housed in Germantown. During the Battle of Germantown in 1777 the Continental Army attacked this garrison. (Interestingly, the American and British troops had their headquarters in two mansions virtually across the avenue from each other.)

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. Though they 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, the inspirational battle was the feisty Americans’ important victory of the war. 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 Burgoyne surrendered, it led to the official recognition of the Americans by France, which formed an alliance with the Americans afterwards.

For a time after the war George Washington rented a house in Germantown to escape the central city. The first bank of the United States was also located here during his administration.  The author of the novel Little Women, Louisa May Alcott, was born in Germantown in 1832. Germantown proper, and the adjacent German Township, were incorporated into the City of Philadelphia in 1854.