The Germantown section of Philadelphia is filled with historic homes, many dating back to the 1700s, and the homestead of one is even older. If you wander a little further along Germantown Avenue, past Grumblethorpe, you’ll come to rather imposing Georgian home called Cliveden Mansion, built by Pennsylvania Chief Justice Benjamin Chew in the 1760s. Chew and his descendants lived at Cliveden for over 200 years.
Like Grumblethorpe, Cliveden was occupied by the British during the battle of Germantown. Colonel Thomas Musgrave and his tropps used Cliveden as a stronghold. Marksmen from the 40th regiment stood post at second floor windows like snipers, shooting from above. Washington’s army was told to “reduce” Cliveden – as in reduce it to rubble but neither cannon shots nor fire could bring down the house.
Cliveden Mansion has a long history in Philadelphia, predating the Revolutionary War, and it’s history is filled with ghost stories. In part 2 of the Ghosts of Germantown you’ll hear the history and hauntings from Cliveden, as well as a few other haunted locations including West Allen’s Lane and Loudoun Mansion.
Research sources for this episode include:
- Cliveden of the National Trust
- The Ancient and Modern Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill by S. F. Hotchkin (1889; available online via the Hathi Trust)
- Philadelphia Inquirer and Inquirer Archives
- Hidden City Philadelphia
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