Fairhill, Philadelphia

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Fairhill
Neighborhood of Philadelphia
Country  United States
State Pennsylvania
County Philadelphia County
City Philadelphia
Area code(s) Area code 215

Fairhill is a neighborhood on the east side of the North Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Fairhill is bordered by Front Street to the east, Germantown Avenue to the west, York Street to the south, and Glenwood Avenue to the north and northwest.[1] The neighborhood serves as the center of the Hispanic community of Philadelphia, and is locally known as "El Centro de Oro." Fairhill is adjacent to Harrowgate and West Kensington to the east, Hartranft to the south, Glenwood to the west, and Hunting Park to the north.[2]

History[edit]

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.[3] George Fox obtained the land for the cemetery from William Penn. 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.[4] With the approval of the Archdiocese and the help of Fr. Henry Stommel of Doylestown, the German Catholic families in the area established Saint Bonaventure Parish (also known as Saint Bonaventura) in 1890. The original parish building was at Ninth and Auburn Streets. After establishing the parish, Fr. Stommel turned over its leadership to Fr. Hubert Hammeke, a German immigrant priest. In 1894, the parish began building a Gothic style church. Fr. Hammeke served as the project manager for the church’s construction and construction on the new church finished in 1906. The finished church at Ninth and Cambria Streets included an impressive clock tower and spire that still remain intact. Fr. Hammeke would lead the parish until his death in 1937.

In the 1950s, the demographics of the Fairhill area began to change.[4] The German-American families began leaving the neighborhood with African-Americans and Latinos – mainly Puerto Ricans – taking their place. By 1975, the parish had initiated a Spanish mass and a Carino Center for Spanish-speaking children. The parish, including the school, closed in 1993. The church building was demolished in 2013.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2010, the racial makeup of Fairhill is 80.2% Hispanic of any race, 15.1% non Hispanic Black, 2.3% non Hispanic White, 1.4% Asian, and 1% all other.[5][6] It has the highest concentration of Hispanics of any neighborhood in Philadelphia, which is over 10 times larger than the overall percentage of Hispanics living in Philadelphia. The neighborhood is mainly made up of Puerto Ricans, But also has significant populations of Dominicans, Cubans, Colombians, and Brazilians, as well as other Hispanics. Its poverty rate is 61%, which is about five times the national average, as of Census 2010.[7] The neighborhood is sometimes nicknamed "El Centro de Oro" (Spanish for "the center of gold"), and is considered to be the center of the city's Hispanic community.

In 2002 23.5% of the houses in Fairhill were occupied by the owners. 85% of the housing in Fairhill consists of row houses. 2.6% of the buildings in the area are zoned for commercial use; Steve Volk of Philadelphia Weekly stated that efforts to replace drug dealing with legitimate commercial activity have been stymied in recent years.[8]

Crime[edit]

Steve Lopez's novel Third and Indiana made the intersection well known.[9][10] The intersection of 3rd Street and Indiana Avenue was listed number two in a 2007 list of the city's top ten recreational drug corners according to an article by Philadelphia Weekly reporter Steve Volk. Other intersections in Fairhill included in the list of the top drug corners included Fifth Street and Westmoreland Street in third place, and A Street and Westmoreland Street in seventh place.[10]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The United States Post Office operates the Fairhill Post Office in Suite 2 at 217 West Lehigh Avenue.[11]

Education[edit]

Lillian Marrero Branch

School District of Philadelphia operates public schools. Fairhill School, a K-8 school, serves Fairhill.[12] Residents zoned to Fairhill School are also zoned to Thomas Alva Edison High School / John C. Fareira Skills Center.[13] Fairhill Community High School (FCHS), an alternative charter high school for dropouts and students at risk for dropping out, is located in Fairhill.[14]

The Free Library of Philadelphia Lillian Marrero Branch serves Fairhill.[15] It was previously the Lehigh Avenue Branch, and Lillian E. Marrero had served as the library's supervisor.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Philadelphia Neighborhoods and Place Names, A-K." City of Philadelphia. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  2. ^ "Fairhill." Plan PhillyUniversity of Pennsylvania. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  3. ^ [1].” “Fair Hill Burial Ground.” Retrieved on February 23, 2011.
  4. ^ a b [2].” “History of a Fairhill Block.” Retrieved on February 23, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Logan Redevelopment Area Plan." Philadelphia City Planning Commissiom. May 2002. 1 (document page 3). Retrieved on August 2, 2011. "The neighborhood is generally defined as including the area from Wingohocking Street north to Olney Avenue and from Broad Street east to the railroad right-of-way east of Marshall Street. Logan extends west to 16th Street north of Lindley Avenue, where Wakefield Park forms the boundary."
  7. ^ "2010 Census". Medgar Evers College. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  8. ^ Volk, Steve. "Neighborhoods." Philadelphia Weekly. August 14, 2002. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  9. ^ Volk, Steve. "Trouble Spots: Third and Indiana." Philadelphia Weekly. May 24, 2006. Retrieved on January 19, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Volk, Steve. "Top 10 Drug Corners." Philadelphia Weekly. May 2, 2007. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  11. ^ "Post Office Location – FAIRHILL." United States Post Office. Retrieved on January 16, 2009.
  12. ^ "Fairhill School." School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  13. ^ "A Directory of High Schools for 2009 Admissions." School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  14. ^ "Bienvenidos and Welcome." Fairhill Community High School. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  15. ^ "Lillian Marrero Branch." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 19, 2012.
  16. ^ Woodall, Martha. "Librarians Clicking On A Future In Cyberspace." Philadelphia Inquirer. January 29, 1999. Retrieved on January 16, 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°59′53″N 75°08′03″W / 39.998087°N 75.134106°W / 39.998087; -75.134106