Germantown History

Germantown Life & Stories

  • 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 white 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 setbacks 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 the 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 leaders, with the 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, and play.
  • Learn more about Germantown History
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