54 West Rittenhouse Street
Joseph E. Hill School
"1-- W. Rittenhouse"
Photograph from the Philadelphia Historical Commission
Three story stone building.
The public school erected on this site in 1844 originally had
three stories, with a classroom and "hat" room on each floor. The
first floor housed the primary department, the second floor the
elementary and grammar department, and the third floor the girls'
school. This school served rich and poor families alike in
Germantown, Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill, Rittenhousetown, Frog
Hollow, Fisher's Hollow, York Road and even Smearsburg.
The Joseph E. Hill School (also known as the Rittenhouse Grammar
School) was founded in 1868. Although public schools were
legally integrated after 1881, the African-American teachers and
principal continued to serve the African-American children of the
neighborhood until at least World War I.
- GHS: Baugh, J. Gordon. Souvenir of Germantown...,
p. 15 (photograph and text).
- GHS: Jellett, Edwin C. "Germantown Historical
Miscellany," p. 232: "Old Poor House Lane" (news article written October 8, 1898
- GHS: (L 1-12) Jellett, E.C. and Keyser, N.H. Collection,
p. 42: "Rittenhouse Public School" by Mr. Mosby for the
Independent Gazette (this newsclipping is a description of
the school in its first decade written by Mosby, a student here
- GHS: Phot Box 3, envelope 5 (photograph).
- GHS: Photo Box A (photograph).
- HSP: Perkins Collection vol. 62, pp. 55-56: "A Pen
Picture of Old Poor House Lane Fifty Years Ago" (news article dated November 20,
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