Historic Germantown: Philadelphia, PA

Market Square

Impacting your World Christian Center
The Impacting your World Christian Center is the last of three churches built on this location.

Today Market Square is a small park along Germantown Avenue, with several benches and with most of the space dominated by a Civil War memorial. Nearby are several historic buildings including the Germantown Historical Society, Impacting Your World Christian Center, and the Deshler-Morris House.

The market used to be the center of the community's activity. This half acre became a busy market place as early as 1703. The Market House was here until recently and also the engine house of the Fellowship Fire Engine Company, one of three Germantown volunteer groups. What is now a formal park was once a place of great activity. The prison and, consequently, the stocks were located here; indian delegations on their way to Philadelphia broke their journeys here, and linen sellers and weavers used to offer their wares for sale in the square. Now only an occasional walker stops and rests on one of the benches.

The Impacting Your World Christian Center now stands at the edge of Market Square. It was built in 1888. The first was the German Reformed Church, built in 1733. George Washington worshipped here when he stayed in the Deshler-Morris House. The building was remodeled in 1839. During the Battle of Germantown the British captured a batallion of Virginians in the Ninth Regiment and locked them in the church until they were marched into Philadelphia after the battle was over.

Civil War Monument
The Civil War monument sits in the center of market square.

The "Union Solider" at solitary rest atop the monument, so reminiscent of the civil War memorials in most Pennsylvania and Virginia towns, has stood there since 1883, and the block on which he stands is a piece of granite from Devil's Den at Gettysburg. The cannon on the north side was from the British frigate Augusta, sunk by the Americans during the Revolution. Four memorial tablets list the names of soldiers who served for the Union's cause and were residents of Germantown or who resided and died in Germantown after the war. One Confederate soldier is memorialized with his name inscribed on one of the cannons.

Germantown Historical Society
The Germantown Historical Society and Visitor Center

The Germantown Historic Society and Visitor Center is located by Market Square at 5501 Germantown Avenue (215-844-0514). It recently moved to this location, previously housed in a group of historic houses just below Queen Lane. The current building sits next to the Impacting your World Christian Center. It still has its original brick facade but was remodeled with a colonial-revival interior. The Historical Society offers to the public a library and archives dating back to the 17th century. The museum on the ground floor has a changing exhibit from the Society's collection of over 20,000 artifacts.

1. Photos by Greg Heller, Copyright © 2000 by the Independence Hall Association
2. Marion, John Francis. Bicentenial City: Walking Tours of Historic Philadelphia. Princeton: The Pyne Press, 1974.
3. Jenkins, Charles F. The Guide Book to Historic Germantown. Germantown Historical Society, 1973.
4. "Germantown ...still making history." Germantown Historical Society and Visitors Center brochure. Germantown Historical Society, 1999.
5. Germantown and Old Philadelphia. Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.

Next: Deshler-Morris House