Tuomi’s Time Machine: Better Together

In the 1960s and ‘70s, Germantown became known as a center for activism and outreach, with many of its citizens becoming involved with local non-profits and particularly with those with missions associated with humanitarianism of one kind or another.

One such organization was the Togetherness House, which, according to Philadelphia telephone directories, was open at 32 East Armat Street from 1972-1976. The organization held many fundraisers on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights; the funds from these events would be distributed to other area nonprofits with similar humanitarian missions, and directly to the community itself.

Togetherness House held all kinds of events, from poetry readings to seminars on the Vietnam War and the draft, from film screenings to jazz and rock concerts. Many bands of the “Germantown Sound” of the ‘70s performed there, including Melisma, Trade Wind, Moshka, Skyline and the West Side Blues Band, Toe Jam, the Salutations, and Belshazzar’s Feast, to name a few. In similar fashion, other organizations – the First United Methodist Church of Germantown and the Germantown Jewish Center among them – held benefits for Togetherness House.

Posters and flyers announcing these events were often quite elaborate; with carefully drawn and often whimsical caricatures featured prominently. An example is shown above, announcing a Togetherness House concert, with Dave Smukler and his Montana and Green Mountain Band, held on Friday, May 11, 1973. The reasons for the closure of the Togetherness House are not known, but decreasing funding and poor economic conditions are likely among them. The building at 32 East Armat Street still stands, though it has been altered significantly through the passing of the years.

About the Time Machine
This regular series goes back in time with Tuomi Forrest, Executive Director of Historic Germantown, as he picks some of his favorite images from the Germantown Historical Society’s extensive collection. Alex Bartlett, Librarian and Archivist of the Germantown Historical Society/Historic Germantown, writes the columns, bringing photos from the distant past to life.

Discover Germantown History
For additional information or to learn more about the history of Germantown, please call Alex at (215) 844-1683 or email him.

Did you know the Germantown Historical Society has thousands of historical photographs of local subjects available online? You can see them at www.germantownhistory.org by clicking on “online photographs collections” on the home page. Then, use the “keyword search” function to search for photographs. Enjoy!

About Historic Germantown
Historic Germantown (HG) is a partnership of 18 historic houses, destinations, and museums that have joined together to protect, preserve, and share some of the area’s prized cultural assets. HG manages the Germantown Historical Society archives and a collection of over 50,000 items; for more information, visit Germantownhistory.org or FreedomsBackyard.com. Located at 5501 Germantown Ave.

About Alex Bartlett 1 Article
Librarian and archivist Alex Bartlett combines his hobbies with his career. Working for the Germantown historical society, Bartlett manages the libraries’ collection and archives, while also helping to provide visitors with requested research documents. Alex is a self-described “history nerd,” with interests in archeology and old bottles and glassware. He said that growing up in Germantown is what initially stimulated his enthusiasm toward historical documents and objects, and his job manages to integrate all of his interests into one field.

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