History

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 historic post office building

train depot with old train and onlookers 

 historic presbyterian church

Original Post Office

Germantown Train Depot

Germantown Presbyterian Church

Germantown was founded along the Cherokee Trace on a ridge between the Wolf River and Nonconnah Creek, about 16 miles east of the Mississippi River.

The first settlers arrived in Germantown about 1825. Between 1825 and 1830, Miss Frances Wright established Nashoba Plantation, a utopian community intended to emancipate slaves. By 1830, the first store was opened as more settlers moved into the area.

The community became known as Pea Ridge in 1833, town lots were laid out in 1834 by surveyor N. T. German and the name was changed to Germantown in 1836, reflecting the presence of German families.

The town was incorporated in 1841. The Memphis-Charleston Railroad was built through the community in 1852. Germantown experienced set backs through the period of the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemics of that era reduced its population to a few hundred.

The town rebounded slowly. Churches destroyed in the war were rebuilt, schools were constructed and the population began to return around the turn of the century. The city name was briefly changed to Neshoba, an Indian word meaning "wolf," during World War I.

During the twentieth century, the community derived its strength through involvement of citizens, as evidenced in the churches, garden clubs and civic organizations. The Poplar Pike Improvement Association and the Germantown Civic Club played vital roles in the physical and social development of the community.

In the last half of the century, the population grew from about 400 to more than 40,000. Over several decades, elected and civic leadership, with support of citizens, worked proactively to control suburban growth through development regulations, aesthetic controls and strategic planning efforts.

The result is a premier residential environment with high quality City services that make Germantown an attractive, healthy, safe and wholesome place to live, work, worship and play. For information about living in Germantown today, check out Life and Stories.


Historical Sites


Old Germantown
The city's earliest settlers chose high ground and clustered around the railroad depot at Germantown Road. Built in 1948 to replace the original structure built prior to 1868, the depot is now home to the Germantown Train Museum. Throughout the district, markers are placed to illustrate original buildings and sites.

Fort Germantown
Replicas of Howitzer cannons mark the place where 250 Union troops built an earthwork redoubt as part of a series of forts guarding the Memphis and Charleston Railroad during the Civil War. Listed in The National Register of Historic Places, Fort Germantown is on Honey Tree Drive, off of Poplar Pike.

John Gray House
Nestled in Municipal Park, the John Gray House in one of Shelby County's oldest brick homes. It was moved to Germantown and is under the auspices of the Historic Commission, which opens the house to the public several times a year.