Historical Markers
The Johnson House Historical Marker
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The Johnson House

Philadelphia and its Countryside/Lehigh Valley


Marker Location:
6306 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

Dedication Date:
June 1, 1995

Behind the Marker

The Johnson House, a station on the Underground Railroad, pictured here in 1867.
The Johnson House, 6306 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1867.
For many years, the Johnson House was one of the largest residences in Germantown. Built in 1768 by Dirck Jansen for his son, who took the name John Johnson, Sr., the stone building became a local landmark and served as a safe house for runaway slaves during the years before the Civil War.

Family tradition maintains that legendary Underground Railroad agent Harriet Tubman sometimes brought fugitive slaves to the residence. A family member named Jenetta Johnson Reeves recalled that there were always "so many different colored people" hiding in the back garret or attic room of the house. "It seemed to her a different family was there every time she went up to it," an interviewer noted.

The residence also bears witness to the scars of the markerBattle of Germantown in 1777 during the Revolutionary War, a defeat for the Continental Army that led to British occupation of Philadelphia. Visitors can still see damage to the structure made by musket shot and cannonballs.

 Members of the Johnson family lived in the home until the early part of the twentieth century. For years, the building served as the headquarters of the Women's Club of Germantown. Since 1980, the Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust has managed the site.
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