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North Philly

North Philly is comprised of three areas and their neighborhoods The boundary of North Philly are Cheltenham Avenue to the north, Market Street to the south, 35th Street to the west, and Adams Avenue to the east. Maps below show Lower North, Upper North and Olney/Oak Lane areas along with helpful descriptions and pictures.

LOWER NORTH PHILLY

Lower North

Is bounded by Center City to the south, upper North Philadelphia to the north, the Schuylkill River to the West and the Frankford Kensington area to the East.

Parkway Museum District

 

The Parkway Museums District, also known as the Art Museum District or simply the The Parkway, is an area of the Center City section of Philadelphia. The boundaries is generally associated with the area along the Ben Franklin Parkway. Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a scenic boulevard that runs through the cultural heart of Philadelphia. Named for favorite son Benjamin Franklin, the mile-long Parkway cuts diagonally across the grid plan pattern of Center City's Northwest quadrant. It starts at Philadelphia City Hall, curves around Logan Circle, and ends before the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


The area sometimes is extended northwest to include sites such as Boathouse Row and Eastern State Penitentiary, and southeast along the Parkway to Love Park and City Hall. The Parkway Museums District includes the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Academy of Natural Sciences, the Rodin Museum, the Franklin Institute, and the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The Barnes Foundation will be relocating to the Parkway in the future.

The Parkway is the spine of Philadelphia's Museum District. Some of the city's most famous sights are here: From its northern end, the Parkway provides access to Fairmount Park through Kelly Drive, Martin Luther King Drive (formerly West River Drive), the Schuylkill River Trail, and the Schuylkill Expressway.

Northern Liberties

Northern Liberties is located north of Center City (specifically, Old City) and is bordered by Girard Avenue to the north; Callowhill Street to the south; North 6th Street to the west; and the Delaware River to the east (from Callowhill Street to Laurel Street; from Laurel Street to Girard Avenue the eastern boundary is North Front Street).

In recent years, Northern Liberties has become a major enclave of young professionals, students, artists, and design professionals. The neighborhood's proximity to Center City has made it one of the city's most desirable development districts, both for commercial and residential real estate. Like most Philadelphia neighborhoods, the housing primarily made up of rowhouses, although new development in recent times has brought apartment and condominium complexes. Northern Liberties contains two privately owned but public parks, both established and owned by non-profits run by the neighbors. Orianna Hill Park is known as an off-leash area for dogs; the other, Liberty Lands, is a 2-acre (8100 m2) park and playground. The area is home to numerous boutique stores and small bars and restaurants.

Callowhill

Callowhill is roughly located in the vicinity of Callowhill Street, between Vine Street, Spring Garden Street, Broad Street, and 8th Street. It is named for Hannah Callowhill Penn, William Penn's second wife. Callowhill was formerly home to large-scale manufacturing and other industries, of which an architectural history has been left in the form of grand old abandoned factories. Recently developers have started converting them into loft style housing; so much so that many have termed the neighborhood "The Loft District."
Callowhill is physically cut-off from its neighbor to the south, Chinatown, by the Vine Street Expressway. The former Reading Railroad train trestle, the Reading Viaduct, is a defining feature of the Callowhill neighborhood. Neighborhood groups have proposed that the abandoned structure be maintained as a public park, much like Manhattan's High Line.

 

 

Fairmount

The boundaries of Fairmount vary. The broadest definition of the boundaries of the

neighborhood place it roughly between Vine Street to the south, Girard Avenue to the north, the Schuylkill River to the west, and Broad Street to the east. This definition places the neighborhood in Lower North Philadelphia,. A more intimate definition of the neighborhood, and the one most commonly used, places the boundaries at Fairmount Avenue to the south, Poplar Street to the north, the Schuylkill River to the west, and Corinthian or 19th Streets to the east.

The name "Fairmount" itself derives from the prominent hill on which the Philadelphia Museum of Art now sits, and where William Penn originally intended to build his own manor house. Later, the name was applied to the street originally called Hickory Lane that runs from the foot of Fairmount hill through the heart of the neighborhood.

Fairmount continues to be one of Philadelphia’s most desirable neighborhoods owing its location near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Fairmount is located at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Behind the Philadelphia Museum and along the Schuylkill River are the historic Fairmount Water Works and picturesque Boat House Row. These 10 boathouses and rowing clubs host several regattas each year. Kelly Drive parallels the river and winds through scenic Fairmount Park. Atop one of the bluffs overlooking the river is the historic Lemon Hill Mansion. Eastern State Penitentiary located on Fairmount Avenue has become another main draw for the neighborhood with daily tours.

Fairmount Park. Is describe it as "a big park in Philadelphia". Fairmount Park is art of the Philadelphia's Park System. With over 9,200 acres, it claims 10% of the land in Philadelphia (City and County). Fairmount Park has been called "one of the largest urban parks in the country" (although other cities are catching on to this great idea and are collecting green space).

Fairmount Park is comprised of 63 regional and neighborhood parks. The larger of these parks are: East and West Parks, Franklin D. Roosevelt Park, Pennypack Park, Poquessing Park, Tacony Creek Park and Wissahickon Valley Park.
Fairmount Park

Fairmount Civic Association


Spring Garden

Spring Garden boundaries include North of Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Fairmount Avenue, Broad Street to Schuylkill River. The neighborhood name is quite old, going back many decades before Philadelphia's Act of Consolidation, when the area was part of the Spring Garden District of Philadelphia County, not yet part of the city. The area was the City’s original Victorian neighborhood, and was first developed for homes for the newly emerging class of well-to-do industrialists in the mid-to-late 19th century. Virtually the entire neighborhood has been designated as both City and national historical districts. The area’s rich Victorian architectural heritage has been preserved through the vigilant efforts of the Philadelphia Historical Commission and the community. The neighborhood is comprised principally of low-rise single-family homes, condos and rental units.

It is bordered by major cultural institutions, including Community College, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There are many fine restaurants, cafes and taverns usually on or near the corners of the intersections. Another little gem is the Spring Gardens Community Garden which was started by community members in 1995, on a former vacant lot and now 180 neighborhood families come together and garden in the space. It operates entirely on volunteer labor and donations.

 

 

Strawberry Mansion

Strawberry Mansion is a neighborhood located east of Fairmount Park. The neighborhood is bounded by 33rd Street in the west, 29th Street in the east, Lehigh Ave to the north, and Oxford Street in the South. Formerly known as Summerville, the neighborhood takes its name from a house known as Strawberry Mansion, the historic house of the same name, Historic Strawberry Mansion, located adjacent to the neighborhood.
Strawberry Mansion was home to a number of Philadelphia's wealthiest families in the 19th Century.. As of 2005, the southern and western boundaries of Strawberry Mansion have shown signs of gentrification. Feeding off the mixed successes of its southern neighbor Brewerytown, artist lofts have been planned in derelict factories. Once one of the wealthiest areas in all of Philadelphia, there are a number of stately park-side homes in varying states of disrepair, several of which have already been completely restored, in an area that was ignored for decades.

Temple (Templetown) Templetown is loosely arranged around the main campus of Temple University, hence the name 'Temple' town. Temple University is a comprehensive public research university.  Originally founded in 1884 by Dr. Russell Conwell, Temple University is among the nation's largest providers of professional education.

 

 

The term Templetown was coined by former Temple president Peter J. Liacouras, but has only recently come into wide use after a real estate development company adopted the name.Due to limited student housing and the low cost of living in North Philadelphia, the area around Temple has become inundated with students. As a result, culture and independent food cafes thrive here.

UPPER NORTH

Upper North

Bounded by North Philadelphia to the South, the Schuylkill river to the West, Oak Lane to the North, and the Frankford/Kensington section to the East. It includes Allegheny, Farihill, Tioga-Nicetown and Hunting Park.

 


Tioga-Nicetown


The area spans from Wingohocking Street to the north, Roberts Avenue to the east, Allegheny Avenue in the south, and Broad Street in the west. Tioga was named after the Native American word for the place where a stream or river forks in two different directions. The town name of Nicetown was named for a family of early settlers with the last name of “Neiss,” which got shortened and Americanized to “Nice." Between the years of 1700 and 1850, the areas of Tioga and Nicetown consisted mostly of rural farmland, which served as a passage between Germantown and Philadelphia. By 1854, Tioga and Nicetown moved within the Philadelphia city limits. During World War II, the area experienced its first economic and industrial boom in conjunction with the rest of Philadelphia. By the 1950s, the area seemed to have peaked economically, falling prey to the infamous “White Flight,” leaving many buildings abandoned and businesses destroyed.

Hunting Park

Like many North Philadelphia neighborhoods, it grew mainly in the 1920s and 1940s. The neighborhood's namesake is large park that is a regular location for recreation for many in the area. The neighborhood began to lose population in the 1950s. Today many feel that Hunting Park is becoming slowly gentrified as real estate values increase and community members become more organized. Today the Neighborhood is mostly Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and African Americans.

 

Allegheny

Spans from Ridge Avenue to 17th Street and from Lehigh Avenue to Westmoreland Street. The neighborhood's name, "Swampoodle," means a junction of three railroads, however historians have been unable to locate where these three railroads might be. The area was largely associated with shopping and retail opportunities throughout the 19th to mid 20th centuries. Many shops and businesses were forced to close their doors due to strip malls and other cheaper shopping centers opening up all over the city. Today the area is rebounding slowly but surely, thanks to their central location and close-knit community. The area also has a vibrant and prosperous shopping "corridor” located along 22nd street.

Fairhill

iFairhill is located in an area between Kensington Avenue and 6th Street ranging from York Street to Gurney Street/Clearfield Street. The neighborhood serves as the center of the Hispanic community of Philadelphia known as "El Centro de Oro."The area that is now the Fairhill neighborhood was at one time home to the Isaac Norris family’s Fair Hill estate. Norris was an early merchant and later mayor of Philadelphia. It is also home to the Fair Hill Burial Ground, a cemetery that Quakers established in 1703. The cemetery is on the National Register for Historic Places.

Fairhill began to develop its urban character in the 1880s. Many of the new residents at this time were German immigrants, particularly German Catholics.

In the 1950s, the demographics of the Fairhill area began to change.The German-American families began leaving the neighborhood with African-Americans and Latinos – mainly Puerto Ricans – taking their place.

Olney/Oak Lane

Bounded by North Philadelphia to the South, the Northwest area of the city to the West, the Lower Northeast to the East and Montgomery County to the North.  It includes Oak Lane (East and West Oak Lane, Fern Rock, Feltonville, Olney and Cedarbrook.

Olney

It is roughly bounded by the Roosevelt Boulevard to the south, Tacony Creek to the east, Godfrey Avenue to the north, and the railroad right-of-way west of Sixth Street to the west. Although Olney is primarily a quiet residential neighborhood, there are several commercial centers for many surrounding groups. 5th Street has a Korean-American business district near Olney Avenue, and Hispanic businesses flourish in the southern reaches of the neighborhood. Fisher Park is located in Olney. It is a public park that was originally laid out and owned by Joseph Wharton, founder of Swarthmore College and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Fisher Park has a football field, basketball and tennis courts, and a wooded hiking area.

Until the late nineteenth century Olney was vast, hilly farmland in the hinterland of Philadelphia County. The population until then was mainly farmers and wealthy Philadelphians who could afford to live away from the city.

As the city of Philadelphia grew northwards, the area became more urbanized. People seeking to escape the growing population density towards the center moved to Olney. Soon after, businesses began appearing, centered at 5th Street and Olney Avenue. Industry was also attracted and companies such as Heintz Manufacturing Company,

The population grew even more after the construction of the Broad Street Subway which had its original terminal at Olney Avenue (Olney Transportation Center). In addition to trolley lines that traveled east and west, this made Olney Philadelphia's northern transportation hub and gave Olneyites easy access to the entire city and beyond.

Between the 1960s and 1980s, Olney began experiencing demographic change, as European-American residents moved out of the neighborhood. As part of the deindustrialization of Philadelphia, industry closed factories and moved from the area.

The receding population was quickly supplemented by a new wave of residents, including African Americans from elsewhere in the city, and immigrants from Asia (Korea, mainly, as well as Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Laos) and Latin America (Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico). This new population quickly filled the vacancies left behind in the commercial district and, today, 5th and Olney is still a vital economic center. These groups also maintained Olney's historic civic pride through the creation of organizations such as the Korean Community Development Services Center.

Today, Olney is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Philadelphia. The Olney station of the Broad Street Subway, while no longer the terminal, is the second most. There are thriving business districts at 5th and Olney, Broad and Olney, and Front and Olney.

Fern Rock

Bounded by Olney to the east, Ogontz to the west, Logan to south, and East Oak Lane to the north, between Broad Street, Tabor Road, 7th Street, Godfrey Avenue and Fisher Park. The northern terminus of the Broad Street Line subway is located in Fern Rock at the Fern Rock Transportation Center. Four SEPTA Regional Rail lines also run through this station. The Pennsylvania College of Optometry is located in the 1200 block of West Godfrey Avenue. The area is a mix of 1920's style row homes, a few high rise apartment buildings near York and Chelten along with various commercial strips along Broad Street, Olney Avenue in and around Broad Street.

The neighborhood is named after the ancestral estate of Elisaha Kent Kane, a renowned arctic explorer and naval surgeon from Philadelphia.

Oak Lane

Includes East and West Oak Lane. East Oak Lane is defined by the borders of Cheltenham Avenue at the north (the border between Philadelphia and Cheltenham Township), Broad Street on the west, Godfrey Avenue at the south, and the Tacony Creek to the east.

This area of Philadelphia was first settled in 1683 as William Penn's first neighborhood. In the late 19th century, this area was considered a resort. A walk through the section between 65th Ave. and 69th Ave. East of Broad Street will reveal a multitude of architectural styles, especially along Oak Lane itself. Artist Chuck Connelly has painted portraits of some of Oak Lane's admirable houses and posted pictures of his paintings on his web site. Farther east, the almost fantastic diversity of the homes is what makes this area so unique. Across the railroad, a row of shops, most built later, gives the impression of a small town "Main Street".

Today, East Oak Lane is known for being racially and ethnically diverse. Linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky grew up in East Oak Lane in the 1930s and 40s at the time "the only Jewish family in a mostly Irish and German Catholic neighborhood."

West Oak Lane is a neighborhood was developed primarily between the early 1920s and late 1930s, with the areas near to Cedarbrook constructed after World War II. At the northeast corner of Limekiln Pike and Washington Lane was the site of the Cedar Park Inn, a historic tavern built in the early 19th century, which was torn down sometime after 1931 as the neighborhood was being fully developed. Although it was predominately caucasian from its inception until the mid-1960s, West Oak Lane is now one of Philadelphia's middle class African American communities. The neighborhood is known throughout the city for its Jazz Festival called "The West Oak Lane Jazz Festival" occurring since 2003 in mid-June.

The neighborhood has distinct architecture that separates it from surrounding neighborhoods. Along with larger and sometimes detached houses, West Oak Lane also has many tree-lined streets and small yards.

Feltonville

It is located east of Logan, Philadelphia, south of Olney, northeast of Hunting Park, west of Frankford, and northwest of Juniata. Although a large portion of Feltonville's population is made up of middle class African Americanss and Puerto Ricans, Feltonville is an extremely diverse middle class neighborhood, with large populations of Korean Americans, Cambodian Americans, Haitian Americans, Jamaican Americans, Colombian Americans, Dominican Americans, Mexican Americans and other immigrants.

Feltonville was known around 1890 as "Wyoming Villa" or "Wyoming Valley." Early residents noted Feltonville for its high ground, beautiful rolling farms, and many gracious homes. Before 1900, as a suburb of Philadelphia, public transportation was limited to the Reading Railroad's train. Across from the station, on Wyoming Avenue, stood the Rau mansion built in 1888. Mr. David Titlow, the undertaker, lived in a stately home with a lake in front of it. Across Wyoming Avenue on the north side stood the large residences of Mr. Edwin P. Frick and Mr. Thomas Harvey, side by side.

Cedarbrook

Cedarbrook has four precise boundaries that make it almost precisely rectangular. These are: Cheltenham Avenue to the northeast, Ivy Hill Road to the northwest,Stenton Avenue to the southwest and Vernon Road to the southeast.

The Ivy Hill neighborhood is roughly the northwestern half of Cedarbrook. Ivy Hill Cemetery (established 1867) forms the geographic heart of the neighborhood. The neighborhood most likely takes its name from the cemetery [rather than vice-versa], as the area was woods and farmland when the cemetery was established.

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