Historic RittenhouseTown


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Fairmount Park

At the heart of the thriving early industrial community known as RittenhouseTown, the first paper mill in British North America built by William Rittenhouse and his son, Nicholas, occupied the north bank of the Monoshone Creek.  A second mill, Homestead and Bake House quickly followed.  For the next 200 years, while eight generations of Rittenhouse family members continued to live and work all along the Monoshone and Wissahickon Creeks, the focus of the community remained this intimate cluster of buildings enclosing both public and private space. 

From the early 18th century, Rittenhouse Street linked the early settlement at Germantown with RittenhouseTown and brought a constant stream of people, horses and wagons into the community past the Homestead on their way to the mill across the Paper Mill Run. Weavers transformed flax grown in Germantown into linen textiles and when the fabric was reduced to rags it was brought to RittenhouseTown to be made into paper.  Paper produced at the Rittenhouse mill was sold to printers in nearby Germantown, Philadelphia and New York for use in Bibles and newspapers. 

As the Rittenhouse family expanded so did the village of RittenhouseTown.  In later years, the Baptist Chapel located just yards from the Homestead’s front door welcomed mill workers who lived in the tenement building directly across Rittenhouse Street.  By the mid 19th century, over 40 buildings populated this busy self contained industrial village including numerous residences for family members and mill workers, several mills producing paper, textiles, rugs, and blankets or grinding grain, a school, firehouse, general store and smithy. Until the construction of the Walnut Lane Bridge in 1908, Rittenhouse Street continued to be one of only a few routes linking Germantown with Roxborough, Manayunk and the Schuylkill River. Continue...


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News & Events

2013 Fall Workshops at Historic Rittenhousetown start in September and run through November!

Check out our paper arts workshops:

Paper Workshops

Our 24th annual Paper Mill Run 5K race was a huge success! For results or a brief video please click the links below!

2013 5K Race Results

5K Race Video




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Full List of Benefits.

2013 Annual Appeal Campaign