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 set backs 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 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 leadership, with 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, worship and play.
The City of Germantown's latest census recorded a city population of 41,011. The 2000 U.S. Census reports the largest percentage of people in Germantown is between the ages of 45 and 54. The second largest percentage of population is between the ages of 35 and 44. The median age is 41.3 years old.
There are 13,220 households in Germantown with an average size of 3.14 people. Forty-one percent of the households have children under 18 years old.
Germantown has 13,676 total housing units with a 97 percent occupancy rate. Of the 13,220 occupied housing units, 89 percent are owner-occupied and 11 percent are renter occupied.
The average value for owner occupied housing in zip code 38138 is $238,013. The average home price in zip code 38139 is $353,694.
Germantown is one of only 29 cities in the nation that can take pride in its triple-A Bond rating from both Moody's and Standard & Poors.
Germantown has the lowest crime rate for any city its size in the state of Tennessee and the police and fire departments have an average emergency response time of about five minutes.
In 2000, 97.2% of the population over 25 years old had obtained a high school diploma or higher. More than half of the population has a bachelor's degree or higher.
At $44,021, Germantown had the highest per capita income of all the municipalities in Shelby County in 2000, according to the U.S. Census. The median family income is $94,609.