Attraction

Wyck

The Quaker way of life preserved for 300 years in Germantown

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Overview

Duck into the partially hidden garden along busy Germantown Avenue for a 2.5-acre oasis of color and scent at the historic Wyck house and gardens.

In dramatic contrast to its modern city neighborhood, Wyck’s quiet landscape prepares visitors for time travel as they tour the house and grounds.

Experience three centuries of gardening on the property, established in the early rural Colonial layout of woodlot, vegetable and herb gardens and ornamental gardens.

The Wyck house and gardens are open from April through November on Thursdays through Saturdays. Tours can be scheduled outside of open hours with advanced notice.

The History

The history of Wyck is as colorful as its gardens. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Wyck, which was constructed using Wissahickon schist, was a peaceful 50-acre farmstead that was settled by Quakers.

During the Battle of Germantown, Hessian troops seized the house and used it as a field hospital, an 18th-century MASH unit.

The ornamental rose garden blooms with more than 30 varieties of roses.

Over the next 300 years, the family made its mark on the Philadelphia community, including founding the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture of Ambler (now Temple University Ambler), along with numerous horticultural research projects and inventions like a patented device to press apples for a more natural tasting juice.

Wyck’s gardens were a significant part of the lives of the Wistar and Haines families, who lived here from 1690 to 1973. For more than nine generations they preserved the historic plantings and layout, most recently between 1912 to 1935.

The Experience

Step into Wyck’s famous gardens and be whisked back to the Colonial and Victorian eras with a stroll through the rose garden, vegetable garden, lawns and other plantings, many of which are direct descendants of the original 19th-century plantings.

The ornamental rose garden blooms with more than 30 varieties of old roses, which, unlike today’s roses, were bred to be fragrant and unleash an incredible and unique smell when they bloom in late May and early June.

The 18th-century barnyard area where vegetable crops now grow, the chicken coop and Hans the turtle are some of the property’s highlights. Note: The vegetable garden and perennial border are at their best in mid to late summer.

The house, remodeled in 1824 by the famous architect William Strickland, contains an extensive family library of early horticultural books, furnishings and possessions that illustrate Philadelphia Quaker life, and nearly 10,000 objects, a small portion of which are displayed in the house at any given time.

Events & More

The annual Revolutionary Germantown Festival is held the first Saturday in October.

And don’t miss Wyck’s weekly farmers’ market, held every Friday in the summer and fall .

The grounds also play host to festivals, children’s programming, workshops, classes and summer camps.

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