Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA)

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Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love), (2006 metro population: 5,823,233), fifth largest city in United States, has played a very significant role in American Men­nonite history. The city was founded by William Penn and the Quakers in 1681 and chartered in 1701. The Quakers have played a prominent role in the life of the state and the city. The first perma­nent Mennonite settlement to be established in America was Germantown located 6 miles north of the city at that time, but now incorporated in the city. Ever since the first arrival in 1683 Phila­delphia served as a gateway port for most of the Mennonites of Swiss-German background, though very few of them settled in the city. The Germantown Mennonite Church is still in ex­istence today (2007).

Mennonites moving into the city later (1865) established the First Mennonite Church (General Conference Mennonite [GCM]) at Diamond and Reese streets (see Philadelphia First Mennonite Church) and the Second Mennonite Church (GCM, 1899) at Franklin and Indiana. In the late 1950s, the Norris Square Mennonite Church, or­ganized in 1922 (Sunday school organized in 1899), belonged to the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. The Mennon­ite Brethren in Christ had the Salem Church at Broad and McFerran and some missions in West Philadelphia and Roxboro.

Philadelphia is a cultural center of the nation and contains in its many libraries and museums, such as the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Germantown Historical Society, the Free Library of Phila­delphia, the Friends Historical Society, the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, significant material pertaining to Mennonite culture and history.

The capital town of the Fernheim Mennonite Colony in the Paraguayan Chaco, Filadelfia, was named after the Pennsylvania city, partly because the owners of the land sold to the Mennonites had their chief residence there, and partly because the idea of emphasizing brotherly love appealed to the refugee settlers.


Fretz, Clarence. "A Sight-Seeing Tour of Philadelphia." Mennonite Life II (July 1947): 24-26.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius. "Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 Jun 2021.,_USA)&oldid=170287.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 June 2021, from,_USA)&oldid=170287.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 162. All rights reserved.

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