206 Lincoln Dr., 215/438-5711
HOURS: Weekends noon–4 p.m., last tour 3 p.m. June–Sept., and by appt.
COST: $5 adult, $3 senior and child
Cliveden, Upsula , Johnson House , and Stenton  offer a glimpse into Germantown as the summer retreat for wealthy Philadelphians. The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion  shows Germantown as the Victorian suburb. But only RittenhouseTown shows you the Germantown of its earliest settlers—the Germans.
The group of small German-style buildings in a beautiful wooded enclave on the edge of the Wissahickon Creek transports you to a time before the Revolution—when Germantown was home to German immigrants drawn to Pennsylvania to enjoy religious freedom.
William Rittenhouse (originally Wilhelm Rittenhausen) was the leader and first minister of a small Mennonite community. He built North America’s first paper mill on this site in 1690. By the late 18th century, the site developed into a small self-sufficient industrial village containing more than 40 buildings including homesteads, workers’ cottages, a paper mill complex, a church, a school, and a firehouse.
Today, seven buildings, including a barn housing a papermaking studio, the original Rittenhouse Family Homestead, and the original Rittenhouse Homestead Bakehouse, remain and are open to the public for tours.
More than 10 generations of the Rittenhouse family lived on-site and operated the mill for more than 150 years, among them William’s grandson, David Rittenhouse. Born at the mill in 1732, David went on to become a mathematician, astronomer, statesman, and first president of the U.S. Mint .
In the late 1870s, the family sold the 30 acres, which are maintained by Historic Rittenhouse, Inc., a member-supported organization dedicated to preserving its history. In 1992, it was named a National Historic Landmark.