The House before its restoration in the 1960s, showing its early 19th-century Georgian-style facade
|Location||5267 Germantown Avenue, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Area||< 1-acre (4,000 m2)|
|Architectural style||American Georgian|
|NRHP reference #||72001155|
|Added to NRHP||March 16, 1972|
Grumblethorpe, in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the home of the Wister family, who lived there for over 160 years. It was built in 1744 as a summer residence, but it became the family's year-round residence in 1793. It is a museum, part of the Colonial Germantown Historic District.
Grumblethorpe was built as a summer residence in 1744 by Philadelphia merchant and wine importer John Wister, when Germantown was a semi-rural area outside the city of Philadelphia. It eventually became the family's year-round residence when they withdrew from the city during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793.
It has a stone and oak facade and was known as "John Wister's Big House". It has lower-ceilinged rooms than those at Cliveden, Loudoun, and Stenton, other historic houses in the area. The stones for the house were quarried on the property and the joists were hewn from oaks in Wister Woods, also owned by the family. The original section of the Grumblethorpe Tenant House was built as a dependency.[clarification needed]
Because it was built on the fertile soil of Schuylkill Valley, Grumblethorpe's garden was among the most productive in the region. It was primarily a working farm, and it dominated Philadelphia's horticultural trends for nearly two centuries (1740-1910). The land was a prime source of marketable crops and animal husbandry from the 1740s to the 1870s, and it decreased in practical use only when the farmstead grew smaller in the late 19th century.
During the American Revolutionary War
In September 1777, the house was the scene of events in the Battle of Germantown. While the Wisters were staying in another home, British General James Agnew occupied the house as his headquarters during the battle. He was wounded and died in the front parlor, where his blood stains can still be seen on the floor.
In the 1960s, the house was restored and refurnished to match the original period (removing an early 19th-century Georgian-style facade) and now serves as a museum. The gardens are also being restored.
Grumblethorpe was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It is a contributing property of the Colonial Germantown Historic District, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
- National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Grumblethorpe". U.S.history.org. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
- Albert Cook Myers, ed. Introduction, Sally Wister's Journal: A True Narrative: Being a Quaker Maiden's Account of Her Experiences with Officers of the Continental Army, 1777-1779. Ferris & Leach, Philadelphia, 1902.
- Minardi, Joseph M. Historic Architecture in Northwest Philadelphia: 1690-1930s. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2011.
- H.D. Eberlein and H.M. Lippincott, The Colonial Homes of Philadelphia and Its Neighbourhood, J.B. Lippincott Co., Phila. and London, 1912.
- Roger W. Moss, Historic Houses of Philadelphia: A Tour of the Region's Museum Homes, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.
- John L. Cotter, Daniel G. Roberts, and Michael Parrington, The Buried Past: An Archaeological History of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grumblethorpe.|
- Official Grumblethorpe page at Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks website
- Listing, photographs, and drawings of Grumblethorpe at the Historic American Buildings Survey
- Listing, photographs, and drawings of Grumblethorpe Tenant House at the Historic American Buildings Survey
- Listing at Philadelphia Architects and Buildings
- Painting of Grumblethorpe