Town Hall
5928 Germantown Avenue

Naaman Keyser, Manuscript Notes for v. 2 (north of Chelten), History of Old Germantown, pp. 36-37
Germantown Historical Society

Included are unpublished typewritten notes:

"The land upon which this is built is part of what was originally the upper half of lot No. 15, drawn in the name of Jurian Hartsfelder. In 1714 it was owned by John Williams. In 1776 it belonged to the Hogermoed family; Hotchkin says Matthias Adam Hogermoed owned it. Later it came into the possession of Samuel Harvey who built a house upon this site about 1800. He owned land from Main Street to the Township Line. Mr. Harvey was at one time Burgess of Germantown. He was also the first President of the Germantown Bank, occupying that position from 1814 until his death, March 3, 1848. He was also very prominent as a local preacher of the Methodist church. His son Samuel was born Nov. 30, 1799, and died in Philadelphia Nov. 28, 1884. In 1853 he sold his place to the Borough Council. There had been considerable discussion about the advisability of erecting a town hall and lock-up, and in 1848 an act of the legislature authorized its erection. It was built in 1854, the work being hastened in anticipation of the consolidation of the borough with the city of Philadelphia.

"In 1862 the city of Philadelphia offered the property to the United States government for hospital purposes. In July of that year it was organized as the Cuyler Hospital...Numerous frame buildings were erected until there was accommodation for 630 beds. It continued to be a convalescent hospital until the close of the war. When the frame additions were dismantled, part of the lumber was sold to Dr. Peter D. Keyser, who built his summer house on Greene Street above Washington Lane out of it....

"In 1876 the old steeple was removed and a new one erected in order to accommodate the old clock and bell that had formerly hung in the State House on Chestnut Street. They were displaced when Adam Seybert gave to the city the bell which now hangs there, and were secured for the Town Hall in Germantown through the influence of Councilman James R. Gates and several other influential citizens. The new tower was erected by popular subscription. On the one hundredth anniversary of the battle of Germantown, Oct. 4, 1877, the complete tower, with its clock and bell, was presented to the citizens of Germantown with appropriate ceremonies.

"For several years, the upper floor of the building has been occupied by Ellis Post, No. 6, G.A.R.

"Mr. William H. Emhardt kindly furnishes the following interesting information respecting the town hall:--
'The present site of the Town Hall was the residence of Samuel Harvey. There was a large meadow in front with the Honey Run Creek crossing it. At the time of consolidation, all of the townships had more or less of a debt, which the city assumed. Germantown was without debt. It was decided by Borough Councils that Germantown should be on the same plane as others, so the Harvey property was bought and the Hall ordered to be erected, the city paying the cost later. Napoleon LeBrun was the architect. The tannery of Charles B. Engle on the north was at that time in full operation.'"

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