Mount Airy got its name from William Allen’s 1750 summer estate, eight miles from Philadelphia. For much of its early history, Mount Airy remained rural, with a thriving mill community along the Cresheim and Wissahickon Creeks, yet also accessible, connected to Philadelphia and the outlying towns by the Germantown Road. The 1777 Battle of Germantown brought the Revolutionary War to the village’s doorsteps when George Washington’s troops attacked the British. In the 19th century, when two railroad lines traversed Mount Airy, the old estates and farms gave way to a fresh grid of streets, fashionable new developments such as Pelham, and important institutions, including the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Mount Airy contains many never-before-published images from family albums and historical archives, showing the area as it once was and how it grew to become one of the few neighborhoods in America celebrated for its racial integration.
Author Bio: Elizabeth Farmer Jarvis is the curator of the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, a board member of the Germantown Historical Society, former curator of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and a curatorial consultant. She is the author of Chestnut Hill Revisited and coauthor of Chestnut Hill with Thomas H. Keels.
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