Germantown Avenue at Rittenhouse St.
- Turnpike Toll House and Potter Row at 5843-45-47
- The Toll Gate and John Smith House on the Southwest
Collection (Compiled by Jane Campbell, circa 1900-1910), vol.
- Left: p. 125 (woodcut of toll house and
- Right: p. 213 (photograph of toll gate and Smith
The Germantown and Perkiomen turnpike was finished in 1801. Until
the time the city took over the road in the early 1870's, a toll
booth stood on Germantown road opposite Rittenhouse Street.
From this location the last toll keeper, Enos Springer, not only
collected tolls, but also sold everything from sleds and ladders
to chickens and pigeons. The toll booth stood in front of a
pharmacy in Potter Row. In 1809 the property belonged to the
estate of Henry Beck; his son Baltus made leather breeches here.
The old Potter-Beck home had a half-door and pent roof, but
nineteenth-century additions to the front altered the original
building into stores.
Across the street, on the southeast corner of Germantown and
Rittenhouse stood blacksmith John Smith's three-story house.
This house was built on the site of an older house owned and
occupied during the Revolution by John Smith's father,
Pennsylvania German Peter Smith. By the end of the nineteenth
century, this house was owned by Keyser and the meadow to the
rear had been built up solidly with houses facing West Rittenhouse Street.
All buildings since demolished.
- GHS: Box 11, envelope 5: "The Old Tollgate below Centre
St." (photograph of original wash and ink drawing in John
Richards' sketchbook, p. 20).
- GHS: Jellett, Edwin C. "Germantown Historical
Miscellany," p. 233: "Old Poor House Lane" (October 8, 1898 news
- GHS: Johnson, George Clarence. "Pictorial Germantown
Road...," p. 88 (text).
- GHS: (L1-11) Keyser, N.H. Germantown Scrapbook, pp. 27-
28 (newsclippings on Old Germantown Pike and Enos Springer).
- GHS: Keyser, Naaman. History of Old Germantown.
Manuscript notes for v. 2, pp. 27-28 (unpublished typewritten
- GHS: Photo Box 1, p. 5: "Toll Gate in front of house of
John Smith, south corner of Germantown avenue and Rittenhouse
street" (same photograph as shown above from the Campbell
Collection, vol. 33, p. 213 at the HSP).
- GHS: Photo Box 11, envelope 8: "First Presbyterian
Church, old Blg-5847-5851 Gtn Ave." (photographic print #641 pos.
433 featured in "spaces and Places" exhibit, 1980. Also shows
the extreme upper end of Potter's Row with part of the gable end
of an old two-story stone building to the rear).
- GHS: Photo Scrapbook 5, p. 46: "Building of the
Germantown Young Men's Christian Association, 1873-1892.
Formerly the Building of the First Presbyterian Church in
Germantown. East Side of Germantown Avenue, South of Haines St.
(same photographic image as in Photo Box 11, envelope 8; however,
this image includes slightly more of Germantown Avenue on either
side of the YMCA).
- GHS: Streets Box 1, envelope 1: two news columns about Germantown
turnpike and Enos Springer.
- HSP: Campbell Collection, vol. 33, pp. 125 and 213: 3 news clippings with
images and text which include the Old Toll House, Potter
buildings and the John Smith house.
Perkins Collection (Compiled by Helen C. Perkins, 1900-1909)
Richards, John. Old Landmarks in
Germantown and Vicinity, 125a: "Springer's Tollgate on Main
Street below Centre St." (ink and wash drawing).
- HSP: Shoemaker Collection, folio 15: "Toll Gate.
Germantown Road Op Rittenhouse St." (zinco lithograph and manuscript text).
- Hotchkins, Rev. S. F. Ancient and Modern Germantown,
Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill. Philadelphia: P. W. Ziegler and
Co., 1889. P. 142 (text about the
John Smith house).
- Quaint Old Germantown: Sixty Views of Ancient
Landmarks Drawn on Zinc by John
Richard 1863-1888 and Collated by Julius Friedrich
1913, plate XII: "Old Toll Booth" (zincotype). Available at HSP and GHS.
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