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.

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