Just outside of Memphis proper, the close-knit community of Germantown lies tucked into the quiet rolling hills of eastern Shelby County. Home to excellent public schools, large homes, and attractive neighborhoods, Germantown is consistently one of the most sought-after suburbs in the Memphis area for families looking for peaceful living that’s still close to downtown excitement! Whether you’re a lifelong Memphian looking for a change, or a transplant looking to put down new roots, this city has a comfortable small-town feel. What you may not know is that Germantown has a rich and interesting history that goes back almost 200 years!
Founding of Germantown
In 1825 a woman named Frances Wright saw the beautiful wooded land along the wolf river and decided it would be the perfect place to try out the utopian abolitionist community that she called the Nashoba Community. Her hope was that the community would prove to the south that they could survive without exploiting slave labor. Though her plan was ultimately not successful because of planning missteps, and the reality that the South was not ready for such a radical plan, by 1830 enough settlers had moved to the area for the first store to open, and by 1841 the town was incorporated.
While many may assume that Germantown got it’s named because of German settlers in the area, it was named after surveyor N.T. German, who laid out the original lots in the community in 1836. The Memphis-Charleston Railroad was built through the community in 1852 which allowed the community to grow, but during the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemics during the same period caused setbacks. However, the community proved resilient. Churches and schools were rebuilt, and the area’s sense of community strengthed as the 20th century dawned.
Germantown Explodes into the 20th century.
During the first half of the 20th century, Germantown remained a quiet hamlet on the outskirts of the city. As the city of Memphis expanded outward after World War II, Germantown grew exponentially. The town remained a peaceful and scenic escape from city life thanks to proactive and strategic planning and zoning regulations. Germantown now boasts its own performing arts center, athletic center, a highly-ranked library, and 700 acres of parks, playing fields and greenways, which prove that Germantown will have an exciting future to match its rich history.
Germantown residents love the ambitious and innovative shopping and restaurant options that have moved into picturesque and historic locations to carry on the unique culture of the community. Year after year, Germantown and those who call it home find new things to love about living here.
Germantown Historical Sites
The city's earliest settlers chose high ground and clustered around the railroad depot at Germantown Road. The current depot was built in 1948 to replace the original structure and is now home to the Germantown Train Museum, which showcases and especially interesting part of the history of Germantown. Markers are placed throughout the district to illustrate original buildings and sites.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Fort Germantown is on Honey Tree Drive, off of Poplar Pike. 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.
John Gray House
The John Gray House in one of Shelby County’s oldest brick homes. It was moved to Germantown is under the auspices of the Historic Commission, which open the house to the public several times a year.
The Judy Mac Team Can Help Make Germantown Your Home
With colonial and farmhouse homes lining the winding suburban streets, and a distinct “city meets country” feel, it’s easy to see why Germantown consistently shows up on “best places to live” lists nationwide. If strong community standards, traditional values, a historic identity, and a clear vision for the future sounds good to you, Germantown could be the perfect place for you and your family to call home. If you’re interested in finding out more about life in Germantown, the JudyMac team is here to help! You can browse some of the current Germantown listings here, or you can get in touch with us today at 901.756.8900 to schedule a showing or discuss your options. No matter what your real estate needs, we’ll find the perfect house for you to come to!