You are here

Germantown Railroad Suburb

-A A +A
Mid-19th century. W. Walnut Ln. and Greene and W. Tulpehocken sts.
  • 50 W. Walnut Lane (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

In the 1830s the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad, later part of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, transformed the old German village into a vital part of the industrial city of the nineteenth century. Northwest of the old center, at W. Walnut Lane, and Greene and W. Tulpehocken streets, is an important cluster of pre–Civil War houses with others of the period on surrounding streets. The most important include 50 W. Walnut Lane (c. 1859), probably by Samuel Sloan and altered c. 1910 by Mellor and Meigs; 200 W. Walnut Lane (c. 1859), attributed to Thomas Ustick Walter; and the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion (c. 1859) at 200 W. Tulpehocken Street, usually attributed to Joseph Hoxie but with little basis. All three houses share central entrance towers, large parlors to the side, and grassy settings behind cast-iron fences, features that reflected pride of ownership in the newly developing railroad suburb. The Maxwell Mansion has additional interest as the first Victorian-era building to be preserved and restored in the heretofore colonial-mad city.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Germantown Railroad Suburb", [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 141-142.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.