Category Archives: Historic Germantown Township, Pa.

Philadelphia’s and German Township’s Boundaries in 1681

Two historic maps to take a look at today. Have you seen Thomas Holme’s 1681 map of modern day SE Pennnsylvania?

Thomas Holme (link) began his Map of the Improved Part of the Province of Pennsylvania in 1681. You can view and/or download this surprisingly detailed map from the Library of Congress at this link and at the Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Nework (link).

For casual historical observers this 342-year-old map offers several surprises when you take a close look at it.

Philadelphia County included modern day Montogomery County as well as parts of Berkes County. Who knew? Montgomery County was created in 1784 out of land originally part of Philadelphia County (link).

 Our area, outlined in blue, was called German Township in 1681. It was later called Germantown and even later it was subdivided into Germantown Borough and Germantown Township. Finally, in 1854 Germantown Borough and Germantown Township were consolidated into the City of Philadelphia as part of the City – County Consolidation.

While no roads are shown,  a single land owner is identified and the Wissahickon and Wingohocking Creeks are clearly visible on this map. 

This 2nd map may be informative for those not familiar with Philadelphia’s City – County Consoldiation in 1854 (Link). 

Using Philadelphia’s Detailed City Atlases to Research Development in the Upper Northwest

Would you like to see how the Upper Northwest or any other part of Philadelphia looked in the 1860s, 1890s, 1910s or some other pre-1930 time period? If yes, then you may be very interested in the Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network’s interactive historic map site. (Link)

What can you do on the Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory site? As an example, let’s look at Smedley’s 1862 Atlas for Philadelphia find out what Chestnut Hill’s map looked like in 1862? This screen shot shows the Index for Smedley’s Atlas.

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