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|Neighborhood of Philadelphia|
Playground in the neighborhood of Kensington, Philadelphia. Note the factories in the background, one of which has been recently converted into the Coral Street Arts House, low-income housing for artists.
|Area code(s)||Area code 215|
Kensington is a neighborhood in the American city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is between the Lower Northeast section of Philadelphia and North Philadelphia. Not to be confused with the former Kensington District, now commonly referred to as Fishtown, the area modernly referred to incorrectly as "Kensington" is more of a section of smaller sub-neighborhoods than a clearly defined area. As such, there are disputes among locals as to the boundaries of the area.
Traditionally, Kensington is best known for its large working class Irish Catholic community. Kensington was home to the famous Philadelphia Nativist Riots, which were a result of rising anti-Catholic sentiment at the growing population of Philadelphia's Irish Catholic immigrants. Kensington is also the birthplace of the K&A Gang, (currently known as the Northeast Philly Irish Mob), a large Irish American organized crime network.
Generally accepted boundaries are the triangular area bounded by Erie Avenue to the north, Front Street (and sometimes Fifth Street) to the West and Trenton Avenue to the East. While others say it's bounded by Kensington Avenue to north, Aramingo Avenue to the south, Lehigh Avenue to the west, and Castor Avenue to east. Within these boundaries, sub-neighborhoods include East Kensington, Harrowgate, Lower Kensington, West Kensington and Fishtown. Due to colloquial changes in the boundaries of the area since the Act of Consolidation, 1854, no clear definition is possible. The Greater Kensington area of the city roughly coincides with the former Kensington District, Richmond District, Aramingo Borough and Northern Liberties Township. Since incorporation into the City of Philadelphia (see Act of Consolidation, 1854), these areas have evolved over time to include portions of the modern "Kensington". The area is just a couple of miles northeast of Center City and just to the West of the Port Richmond neighborhood.
Kensington was founded by Anthony Palmer around 1732. Palmer purchased what was called the Fairman Estate, located along the Delaware River in the Northern Liberties (area just North of the City of Philadelphia) The entire estate consisted of 191.5 acres of land, much smaller than the Kensington we know of today. Palmer was an English merchant, who came to Philadelphia very early in the 18th century, from Barbadoes. The town of Kensington was named for the area in London known as Kensington Gardens. Palmer laid out his town and sold parcels to the many people who worked along the Delaware River, in the fishing industry and many ship building yards. The original area of Kensington is now more commonly called "Fishtown" mainly because of the Shad Fishing that was the dominant business in Kensington in the 18th and 19th centuries. Anthony Palmer was very active in local government and was part of the Philadelphia council. As head of council, Palmer became the acting Provincial Governor of Pennsylvania in 1747 and 1748. Palmer died in 1749 and is buried in Christ Church Burial Grounds in Old City section of Philadelphia.
In the nineteenth century, Kensington was one of the leading centers of the textile industry, particularly in carpet manufacture. McNeil Laboratories began with the purchase of a pharmacy in the area in 1879 by the company's namesake.
Deindustrialization eventually took its hold on the neighborhood in the 1950s, leading to a significant population loss, high unemployment, economic decline, and the abandoning of homes in the neighborhood. However, some sections of the neighborhood have been revitalized in recent years, especially those near Frankford Avenue, Kensington's neighbor North of Lehigh Avenue, and Fishtown, an area of Kensington where many Shad fisheries were located, another traditionally working-class neighborhood which has seen rents increase. While most of the large manufacturers have left, the area has many small shops and large renovated factories and warehouses for newer artisans to set up shop.
The U.S. Postal Service designates Kensington as ZIP codes 19125 (Kensington Station) The U.S. Postal service considers 19134 (Richmond Station) as the area known as Richmond and Port Richmond. Adjacent neighborhoods are Northern Liberties zip code 19123, Fishtown zip code 19125( a sub neighborhood of Kensington), Port Richmond zipcode 19134, Juniata, and Frankford.
The 26th District Police and Patrol Station, Beatty's Mills Factory Building, H.W. Butterworth and Sons Company Building, Kensington High School for Girls, and Philip H. Sheridan School are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Boundaries and Population Statistics
Kensington is bounded by York Street to the southwest, Kensington Avenue to the northwest, Lehigh Avenue to the northeast, and Aramingo Avenue to the southeast. Bordering neighborhoods include West Kensington to the west, Olde Kensington and Fishtown to the south, Port Richmond to the east, and Harrowgate to the north. As of the 2010 Census, Kensington was 38.9% Hispanic of any race, 37.4% non Hispanic white, 14.8% non Hispanic black, 6.2% Asian, and 2.7% all other.
Government and infrastructure
The intersection of Kensington and Allegheny Avenues (commonly referred to by Philadelphians as "K & A") is a major transportation and retail hub in the Richmond neighborhood, as it is served by the Frankford Elevated portion of the Market-Frankford Line which, running on top of Kensington Avenue, dominates the intersection. SEPTA bus routes 3 (on Kensington Avenue, running underneath the "El") and 60 on Allegheny Avenue, with route 5 nearby on Frankford Avenue, also serve the K & A area.
Primary and secondary schools
The School District of Philadelphia operates public schools. Public schools in Kensington include Kensington High School Complex, Jules E. Mastbaum Vocational Technical High School, Russell Conwell Middle Magnet School and John H. Webster Elementary School. Private schools include Ascension of Our Lord Parish School.
Birthplace of the K&A Gang, an Irish American organized crime association known for their distribution of methamphetamine in the 1980s.
The intersection of Kensington Avenue and Somerset Street was listed number one in a 2007 list of the city's top ten recreational drug corners according to an article by Philadelphia Weekly reporter Steve Volk.
In 2010, three victims were found strangled. The killer is referred to by the media as "The Kensington Strangler." A "person of interest", Antonio Rodriguez, in the case was arrested in January 2011. Antonio Rodriguez confessed to the murders and was sentenced to life in prison in 2012.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Post Office Location - KENSINGTON." United States Post Office. Retrieved on January 16, 2009.
- "McPherson Square Branch." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on November 7, 2008.
- Volk, Steve. "Top 10 Drug Corners." Philadelphia Weekly. May 2, 2007. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
- 6 ABC news, 17 January 2011. "Police arrest 'Kensington Strangler' person of interest". Accessed 17 January 2011.
- Kerry McDermott (August 17, 2013). "Philadelphia man dubbed the 'Kensington strangler' gets three life sentences for killing three women after paying them for sex". Daily Mail. Retrieved 17 March 2014.