The site of the first paper mill in British North America
The birthplace of paper in North America, Historic RittenhouseTown is now a preserved village on idyllic Lincoln Drive in beautiful Fairmount Park.
In 1690, German immigrant William Rittenhouse and his son Nicholas built the first paper mill in British North America on the banks of the Paper Mill Run (also known as Monoshone Creek). A second mill soon followed, and an early industrial community that came to be known as RittenhouseTown was born.
The mill was operated for the next 150 years by 10 generations of the Rittenhouse family, and the town at one time once consisted of 45 buildings.
Today, the mill site and adjacent 1707 Rittenhouse Homestead and Bake House serve as reminders of the importance of the papermaking industry to the development of early America and the essential role of the Rittenhouse family as suppliers of locally produced paper for letters, legal documents, maps and books.
Proof: The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1992.
Of note: William Rittenhouse was an ancestor of clockmaker, American Revolutionary and astronomer David Rittenhouse, for whom Rittenhouse Square is named.
Visitors to Historic RittenhouseTown offers a number of tours and hands-on experiences, including papermaking, German colonial cooking and printing.
Historic RittenhouseTown is open on Saturdays and Sundays from June through September from noon to 4 p.m.
For more information on the historic district, click the button below.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
5442 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144
- Revolutionary Germantown Festival
- Juneteenth Festival
- Historic Germantown Visitor Center
- Awbury Arboretum
- Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion
- The Johnson House
Historic Site, Inc.
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