Germantown White House (Deshler-Morris House)
George Washington’s White House in Germantown
The irony of the Deshler-Morris House is that it once was home to the two fiercest foes in America’s history. After defeating George Washington in the Battle of Germantown, British General Howe took over the summer retreat which was empty for the winter. Years later, President Washington moved the first family into the home, a precursor to the “White House.”
Originally a simple four-room summer cottage, a nine-room addition made this one of the most elegant homes in the region. While most of the furnishings in the dining room, (which was where Washington held cabinet meetings), tea room, bedrooms and living room, are original to the Deshler and Morris families, the red sofa is thought to have belonged to Washington.
Recognizing the importance of preserving America’s parklands, President Theodore Roosevelt created the National Park Service. But America’s historic buildings didn’t have the same protection and many significant treasures were lost. It wasn’t until the passage of the Historic Sites Act in 1935 that nationally significant buildings, including the Deshler-Morris House, were protected for future generations.
Open April – December, by appointment only
The Washington family portrait in the hallway includes George, Martha, grandchildren Nellie and Parke Custis and enslaved servant William Lee.
Tales of Washington’s naughty grandson are a delight as is the playroom which has a large doll house and other antique toys.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
5267 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144
- The Village of Arts and Humanities
- Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion and The Grange Estate
- Hidden City Festival
- Revolutionary Germantown Festival
- The Johnson House Historical Site, Inc.
- Awbury Arboretum
- The Germantown Historical Society
- View more attractions