CLIVEDENmain.jpg CLIVEDENbghist.jpgCLIVEDENfam.jpg CLIVEDENarchitecture.jpgCLIVEDENrev.jpgCLIVEDENned.jpgCLIVEDENpreserve.jpgCLIVEDENfun.jpgCLIVEDENsources.jpg



CLIVEDENcliveden.JPG Cliveden is designated as one of the twenty-nine sites National Trust for Historic Preservation. In fact, it is the only site under the protection of the National Trust in Pennsylvania. Why not visit one of the turning points of the Revolutionary War? Cliveden reflects the Georgian architectural style, with a twist of German construction, being that it was built within the walls of Germantown. On the left, a twenty-four inch thick stone wall prevented General Washington and his troops from capturing the house in order to get to the British during the Revolutionary War. Being a pivotal moment of the Revolutionary War as well as the site of the death of seventy American soldiers, the spirit lives on with your visit.

The six-acre summer sanctuary was built in the mid-18th century in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cliveden was built a few years before the American Revolutionary War by Benjamin Chew, in order to escape the Yellow Fever that plagued the city of Philadelphia. He believed that by building the summer home a distance away from the port city of Philadelphia, he would be able to protect his family from getting sick, as well as enjoy a summer home. Chew built this home around many other estates owned by the wealthy for the same reason. (Achenbach)



CLIVEDENfamtree.JPGCliveden is located in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In this area, many wealthy families built their homes further away from the city in order to avoid the Yellow Fever and other sicknesses. These houses are located in a semi-circle that surround the Germantown neighborhood.

The Chew family maintained the Cliveden house until the 1970s. Benjamin Chew passed Cliveden down generation to generation. However, at one point, Chew sold the house to a friend while he lived somewhere else, but ten years afterwards, Chew repurchased his house. Although this caused a break in the family connection to the house, the National Trust does not consider it a break because it wasn't for very long. The last Chew who lived there had given the responsibilities to t he National Trust for Historic Preservation because he could no longer maintain the house. The Cliveden exhibit at the 1876 Centennial made people realize the potential and symbolism of the Cliveden house, thus allowing the Chews to establish tours that exemplified a piece of the American heritage.

There was also one point where an insane man set Cliveden’s barn on fire as a decoy. He intentionally used Cliveden as a decoy in order to set the nearby church on fire, and knew that the people who came to extinguish the fire would go for the house before the church because of it being a historical landmark. The barn was extended by one of the later Chews and then turned into a gift shop and other rooms once owned by the National Trust. In fact, there were many things added to the house later on after it was originally built by Benjamin Chew. Passing it down to his family led to his sons and grandsons adding more to the barn as said as well as a patio, a bathroom, and a connection between the house and the kitchen for the maids. There was also an extension on another small building where they pretty much did everything from washing clothes to keeping food. There was once a swimming pool out toward the barn, but it was taken out once the National Trust owned it.

Most of the Chews now live in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Like said, Benjamin Chews and the original Chews originated from Maryland, and many people from New Jersey visit the site claiming they are related to Benjamin Chew, however, they are not. (Achenbach)

The National Trust now owns the six acres of land left of what use to be much more. They have owned it now since 1972.


The Cliveden house reflects the style of Georgian Architecture. It was designed after the British styles but built by Germans. Quite contrary to the popular belief that Cliveden's design is Federal, Benjamin Chew ordered that it be designed in Georgian style. There are pieces on the top of the building that are put there purely for decoration as seen in one of the pictures above. This is an example of the Georgian style on the house as well as the windows. However, one thing that makes it different is the roof which has a different kind of shape to it that is more German and makes the style not federal. Also, the federal style actually hadn't come out yet during that time.



Washington ordered his army to fight back against the British soldiers that had fired first from the house on October 4th. The house was used to protect the soldiers during the battle. Meanwhile, Benjamin Chew was captured in New Jersey and put on house arrest in order to prevent him from taking part in the aid of either side.

The basement in particular was used by the British to hide and fire the guns from. They shot from out the windows which can be seen from the outside bottom of the house. Washington had a very difficult time fighting the battle because of the few soldiers under his order.

Therefore there were very few men compared to the British which is one of the reasons they lost the battle. After the cannons and muskets destroyed some of the home and killed about seventy Americans, the British walked away with the medal and many of the American soldiers who died were buried right there on the land. Both the British and the Americans respect Cliveden and claim it a responsible and symbolic place of creating the nation, and a pivotal step in the Revolutionary War.

Today the battle scars remain on the house caused by the musket balls and shootings of the Battle of Germantown. After this battle, the Americans began to win their battles afterwards.



An interview with Mr. Noah Lewis, who portrays Ned Hector. See what he has to say...

What are your responsibilities as Ned Hector?
: #1 to give a voice to those black colonials who were not given the honor they were due for their contributions. #2 to teach about our colonial history.

What are you promoting?: I hope I am promoting an appreciation of our more complete colonial past. I hope someday non Black Americans will accept the African-Americans as part of their personal history much in the same way I accept those Americans other that African-American as part of mine. i.e. - I consider Washington, Franklin, Adams as part of my history even though they are not African-Americans. I hope the other American cultures will consider the likes of James Forten, Phyllis Wheatley, and Benjamin Bannaker as part of theirs. I hope the general public, knowing they are free in part because of the contribution of the Colonial African-Americans, will consider African-Americans in an even more positive light.

What is your education career background?
: Biology BA, Electronics Assoc., Bio-Medical, Computers

Did you specifically choose Ned Hector? Why?: Yes. Learning about Ned made me realize my preconceptions of colonial Africans were wrong. Although these African-American helped us to have our present day freedoms, I believed it was not right for them not to receive their proper honor and credit.

Are you paid or do you volunteer?: I do both. Presently I am try to make a living at doing these presentations, but I still do a lot of gratis work.

How do you get the word out or advertise for Ned Hector?: Word of mouth. Hopeful if my audience like what I do and are inspired by what I do, they will tell others.

Do you have any ancestors that fought in the Revolutionary War?: Not that I know of yet.

Why do you think public history should be preserved and better funded?: We learn from the past. Hopefully it makes us better people.

What do you enjoy most about your job?: The interaction with people and watching the "light go on" when they understand.

What role do you think public history plays in American Culture?: It's what we use to measure ourselves against.

What are some yearly events held at Cliveden?: The Battle of Germantown, Cultural events, Jazz performances, and public educational seminars.


In order to promote the Cliveden landmark, we decided to collaborate with what already exists; such as the reenactment of the Battle of Germantown, jazz performances, and educational seminars. Another component we would add in order to promote Cliveden is the monthly visit of Ned Hector to the site. Since Mr. Lewis portrays Ned Hector in many schools, the idea of promoting the involvement of African-American soldiers in the Revolutionary War and the significance of Ned Hector to many North Philadelphia high schools, middle schools, or even elementary schools will eventually draw in visitors. If Mr. Lewis were to portray Ned Hector in the Philadelphia area as well as the outerlying towns, it would spread general knowledge and appreciation of the site. Eventually, the word about Cliveden will get past Philadelphia and out to people that live in neighboring states.

Also, the general advertisement on local channels may bring an interested crowd.

However, the truth in promotion lay in the hands of local history teachers that acknowledge the site. Without acknowledgement, Cliveden remains a backdrop of Cliveden Street; a street through Germantown.



Being that there is a Cliveden Street, in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there is also an Allen's Lane that leads straight to William Allen's estate. William Allen was a close friend of Benjamin Chew, who enabled him to build Cliveden. In modern terms, William Allen provided the "hook up" with authoritative figures, which set Benjamin Chew in a good position and connected him with many other wealthy people.

The eldest daughter of Benjamin Chew, Margaret Chew, also known as "Peggy" was in love with Major John André. If that name does not ring a bell, Major André assisted Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War and was later hanged due to his treacherous activity. Love poems and letters between the two are located inside the Cliveden house.

Cliveden was named after the country estate of Frederick, Prince of Wales. (Wordpress)

The estate was originally sixty acres of land, and it reduced to six acres.

After The Battle of Germantown, the Chew generation realized exactly how important the battle scars were on the side of the house, that it has never been replaced since.

Germantown was named after the many Germans that lived in the area.


Achenbach, Fred. "Cliveden." Cliveden House. Cliveden, Germantown. 17 May 2009.

"Benjamin Chew (1722-1810), University of Pennsylvania Archives." University of Pennsylvania University Archives and Records Center. 28 May 2009 <>.

"History of Cliveden «." Cliveden of the National Trust. 28 May 2009 <>.

Home. 28 May 2009 <>.

Independance Hall Association. "Cliveden." 28 May 2009 <>.

Lewis, Noah. "Cliveden and Revolutionary War." Letter to Alyssa Bearoff, Joyce Rasing. 14 May 2009.

THE LOCAL AREA WATCH. 28 May 2009 <>.