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New Market and Head House

Coordinates: 39°56′35″N 75°8′43″W / 39.94306°N 75.14528°W / 39.94306; -75.14528
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New Market
Head House (left) and market sheds (right) (2024)
New Market and Head House is located in Philadelphia
New Market and Head House
New Market and Head House is located in Pennsylvania
New Market and Head House
New Market and Head House is located in the United States
New Market and Head House
LocationS. 2nd Street between Pine and Lombard Streets.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°56′35″N 75°8′43″W / 39.94306°N 75.14528°W / 39.94306; -75.14528
Area2 acres (0.81 ha)
BuiltMarket: 1745
Head House: 1804
Architectural styleGeorgian
Part ofHead House Square (ID72001158)
NRHP reference No.66000686[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 13, 1966
Designated CPJune 19, 1972

New Market, as it was originally known, and later also known as Head House (or Headhouse) Market and Second Street Market, is an historic street market which is located on South 2nd Street between Pine and Lombard Streets in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With a history dating to 1745, it is one of the oldest surviving market buildings of its type in the nation.

This portion, which survives from a longer structure originally extending all the way to South Street, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966, and is the centerpiece of the Head House Square historic district.


Established on Lombard Street in 1745 by mayor Edward Shippen and Joseph Wharton, a wealthy merchant,[2] and named "New Market" to distinguish it from the established market on High (now Market) Street, the market was used well into the 19th century.

It originally consisted of sixteen stalls[2] created by two rows of brick pillars supporting a gable roof and arched ceiling over an open market area, known as the Shambles.

By 1797, it had extended to South Street, where it ended in a firehouse, which was later demolished, and eventually extended north to Pine Street as well.[2]

In 1804, Joseph Wetherill, a wealthy merchant and master builder, encouraged the City of Philadelphia to erect the Head House at the north end of New Market (Second Street), for which he loaned the city $1,000.[3]

The Head House, a Georgian-style brick firehouse with Federal-style ornamentation, was built at the north end of the market; the building's cupola once housed a firebell.[2]

The firehouse is the oldest extant in the United States, and is now used as a community center.

The market reached its greatest extent, all the way to South Street, by 1811. The market section between Pine and Lombard underwent a major restoration in 1923, which replaced the roof and a number of brick piers.[4] The Head House has also undergone restoration.

The site was declared a National Historic Landmark on November 13, 1966.[5] It is a contributing property of the Head House Square National Historic District. It was restored in 1994 by the Head House Conservancy, a non-profit organization.

In 1975, a modern steel-and-glass retail and restaurant complex called NewMarket opened east of the historic market between Pine and Lombard Streets. The center struggled to attract customers and was essentially vacant by 1988. An early 1990s revival as a cabaret entertainment district was short-lived. The complex was demolished in 2002 and its site was subsequently redeveloped.

Head House Square[edit]

Head House Square
LocationBoth sides of the 400 block of S. 2nd St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Area9.9 acres (4.0 ha)
ArchitectJohn Haviland; Van Arkel & Moss
NRHP reference No.72001158[1]
Added to NRHPJune 19, 1972
Buildings on the square

The area around the building, known as Head House Square (or Headhouse Square), features cobblestone streets and a park, as well as one of the oldest continuously run farmer's markets in the nation.[6]

The farmer's market is open on Sundays from the first week in May through the week before Christmas, from 10 am to 2 pm, selling locally grown produce and other farm products.

The area, which comprises twenty-two contributing properties over 9.9 acres (40,000 m2), was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district in 1972.

The houses surrounding the square are from the late 18th to early 19th centuries, and the area was extensively restored in the 1950s and 1960s.

The houses have always been used both as residences and as commercial buildings. Most are typical middle class examples of their time, though the John Ross House at 401 S. 2nd was one of the largest townhouses of its day. It was visited by George Washington.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System – (#66000686)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d Gallery, John Andrew, ed. (2004), Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City (2nd ed.), Philadelphia: Foundation for Architecture, ISBN 0962290815, p. 25
  3. ^ Wetherill, Joseph (1740-1820) data from the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings (PAB) project of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia
  4. ^ "NHL nomination for New Market". National Park Service. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  5. ^ Listing at National Park Service
  6. ^ a b "Head House Square" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places Nomination Forms. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. 1970. Retrieved January 8, 2014.

External links[edit]