Toll House on Germantown Road at Rittenhouse Street
Thomas H. Shoemaker Collection, folio 15
Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Included are a image of the toll house with the Potter buildings behind it (zinc lithograph by John Richards), and a page of manuscript text, dated 1889:

"Old Toll gate, Main St. opp. Rittenhouse"

"It was chiefly through the exertions of Caspar Haines that, early in this century, the Turnpike Road was built from Chestnut Hill to Phila; Samuel Harvey being its first President, and Chas Nice and Jacob Rittenhouse being superintendents for a long time.

"Some 15 years ago the city made it a free road and later the residents repaved it, say about 1876.

"Watson says that previous to the turnpike being built the road was impassable at the breaking up of winter to wheel carriages, and men and women came in on horse back with their marketing.

"The great country stores of Rex at Chestnut Hill, and Fry, Stoneburner and Miller at Germantown were supported by the fact that the farmers, on account of the bad roads, could not get to the city with their produce and would trade it to the storekeepers, but the turnpike changed it all, and the stores soon began to decline.

"Our picture is of the old toll-gate so well remembered by this generation. The last keeper was Enos Springer, a Penna. German, whose broad face was full of good nature. He was shrewd, independent and humorous and his public life brought him in contact with many people who yet remember his quaint sayings. He had famous sleds, I still own one, ladders, chickens, pigeons, etc. for sale, and as he turned many an honest penny, he accumulated quite a sum. He opened Springer St. through his property. Judge Peters once asked a former keeper where Cliveden was. He replied 'it was just above old Jakes,' and on asking who old Jake was (a reknowned stocking weaver) the answer was received, 'Why you don't know old Jake? Then you don't know nothing.'

"The house behind the tollgate is the old Potter home owned for a century or more by the Potter and Beck family. Mrs Potter's mother was a Beck. It formerly had a half-door and pent-roof and had 2 1/2 acres of ground attached to it.

"There is a tradition that a British soldier at the Battle of Germantown, in retreating, demanded something at this house, and upon its being refuse, attempted to enter the doorway on horseback."

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