Wyck historic house ties legacy of its family to Germantown community

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A historic house and museum in Germantown is connecting to its community through summer programs for the entire family.

The Wyck, on Germantown Avenue and Walnut Lane, is a National Historic Landmark house as well as a garden. It was the ancestral home to one Philadelphia family for nine generations, from 1690 to 1973.

"We can tell a story of Philadelphia history for 300 years," said Kim Staub, executive director of the Wyck Association.

According to Staub, the house is one of a kind, because it serves as both a landmark and a time capsule for a family with deep Philadelphia roots.

"The family were philanthropists, brewers, educators, weavers, they did a little bit of everything," she said.

The association tells the story of the Wistar and Haines family that lived at the Wyck house, and their connection to Philadelphia, through programs that focus on history, horticulture, and urban agriculture, using the past as inspiration for the present.

"Through the summer we have our home farm club, which means every Tuesday and Friday, you can just show up, you don't have to register," Staub explained. "You can take home a share of produce for free or help feed your community."

The 2.5-acre space also has several historical artifacts that connect the past with the present, all while sharing the impact of the family on the community.

"We have founders of the first school for horticulture for women ... people recording weather, people who were founding schools in Germantown," said Staub, "so yeah, a little bit of everything."

And the house has a very special claim to fame.

"We have the oldest rose garden in its original plant in the entire United States," Staub said, "so even though the roses only bloom in May, there are still many things of interest and things blooming in the garden."

Staub said the Wyck Association keeps the values of the family alive through innovation and social responsibility, both to history and the Germantown community.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Shara Dae Howard/KYW Newsradio