Fabric Row (Philadelphia)

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Fabric Row
Fabric Row on South 4th Street
Fabric Row on South 4th Street
Fabric Row is located in Philadelphia
Fabric Row
Fabric Row
Coordinates: Coordinates: 39°56′26″N 75°08′59″W / 39.9405°N 75.1496°W / 39.9405; -75.1496
Country United States
CountyPhiladelphia County
 • Total0.01 km2 (0.004 sq mi)
 • Total175
 • Density17,000/km2 (44,000/sq mi)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)Area code 215

Fabric Row ("Der Ferder" in Yiddish)[2] is a historic Jewish[3] textile and garment district located on South 4th Street in the Queen Village neighborhood of Philadelphia between Bainbridge Street and Catherine Street.[4]


Fabric Row Street scene in 2018

In 2016, Fabric Row, a neighborhood statistic which also includes 3rd and 4th Streets, had a population of 175 in an area of 0.004 square miles, giving a population density of 40,972 per square mile. The median household income is $93,750. The area consists of 96 males and 79 females. The median age is 31.6 for males and 34.8 for females.[1]. Since the year 2000, the area has experienced a growth of 7%.[5]


Fabric Row had its beginnings when the area was still part of the District of Southwark.[6] Starting in the late 19th century when peddlers were able to purchase licenses for $25. Those who could not afford the $25 fee would rent a cart for $0.25 per day. This business practice allowed some to profit until the 1950s when pushcarts were banned. The area later became a known fabric market where there existed up to 30 fabric retailers between the 1930s until the 1950s at its peak.

Preservation efforts[edit]

In 2015, the area went through major renovations with many services offered by the organization that manages the South Street Headhouse District.[7] As generations get older and with the lack of succession, many businesses in Fabric Row ceased operations. For example, Marmelstein's had been in business for 96 years before its closure.[8]

There are preservation efforts[9] to retain the "fabric industry" culture on Fabric Row even though the textile market in Fabric Row still remains strong to this day. However, many businesses face uncertainty when the older generations pass and the younger generations leave.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "3rd St Fabric Row neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PA), 19147 detailed profile".
  2. ^ "Fabric Row".
  3. ^ "The Fabric of Our Lives: A History of Philadelphia's South Fourth Street".
  4. ^ "Fabric Row: The place for fabric in Philly".
  5. ^ "3rd St Fabric Row Philadelphia, PA".
  7. ^ "The Generations Collide On Fabric Row".
  8. ^ "After three generations, Marmelstein's closing on Fabric Row".
  9. ^ "Fabric Row".
  10. ^ "South Philadelphia: A History in Fabric".
  11. ^ "sew and tell: fabric row is philly's next hot street".