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Old City, Philadelphia

Coordinates: 39°57′9.2″N 75°8′33.7″W / 39.952556°N 75.142694°W / 39.952556; -75.142694
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Old City Historic District
Old City, Philadelphia is located in Philadelphia
Old City, Philadelphia
Old City, Philadelphia is located in Pennsylvania
Old City, Philadelphia
Old City, Philadelphia is located in the United States
Old City, Philadelphia
LocationOld city area including parts of Washington Square East Development Area and Franklin Square East Development Area, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°57′9.2″N 75°8′33.7″W / 39.952556°N 75.142694°W / 39.952556; -75.142694
Area75 acres (30 ha)
Architectural styleGreek Revival, Italianate
NRHP reference No.72000093[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 5, 1972
Designated PRHPDecember 12, 2003[2]
A luncheon in Girard Fountain Park after the Oct. 5, 2007, dedication of Keys To Community, a nine-foot bronze bust of Benjamin Franklin by sculptor James Peniston.

Old City is a neighborhood in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, near the Delaware River waterfront. It is home to Independence National Historical Park, a dense section of historic landmarks including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the First Bank of the United States, the Second Bank of the United States, and Carpenters' Hall. It also includes historic streets such as Elfreth's Alley, dating back to 1703.

Old City is also home to several hotels, with the Independence Park Hotel on Chestnut Street the only hotel listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Old City borders Northern Liberties to the north, Penn's Landing to the east, Society Hill to the south, and Chinatown and Market East to the west.


The Old City special services district stretches from Front to Sixth Streets between Walnut and Vine.[3] The Philadelphia Almanac and Citizens' Manual gives a larger set of boundaries to the Old City area, defined as the area within Spring Garden Street, 4th Street, the Delaware River, and Walnut Street. The Old City Redevelopment Area is bounded by Vine Street, the Delaware River, Lombard Street and 7th Street.[4]


Along with the northern part of Society Hill, Old City is one of Philadelphia's oldest neighborhoods and part of the area where William Penn and the Quakers first settled. It hosted the governments of Pennsylvania and the United States of America for most of the period from 1776–1800, and was North America's most important financial center through the 1830s.[5] As Philadelphia's central business district gradually moved west, it became a warehouse and light industrial district. Many historical sites were restored or reconstructed in the twentieth century, especially during the development of Independence National Historical Park after 1943 and culminating with the United States Bicentennial in 1976. In the 1980s, the warehouse area north of Chestnut and especially Market Streets became popular for art galleries and artist's studios (the latter mostly displaced by gentrification in the 1990s) as well as bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.


In addition to Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old City includes hundreds of important examples of Georgian and Federal public buildings, churches, a historic boutique hotel ( Independence Park Hotel ) and houses; Greek Revival and Italianate banks and exchanges; and cast iron warehouses and was as the Old City Historic District added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. In 2003, the district was also added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.[2]

Places of note[edit]

Business and commerce[edit]

Old City is one of Philadelphia's popular nightlife destinations, with the historic Independence Park Hotel, a 41 room European style boutique hotel at 235 Chestnut Street. Old City is also home to many lounges, dive bars, and quality restaurants, mostly along the three blocks from 3rd and Market streets to Front and Chestnut streets. The 3rd Street Corridor, between Market Street and Vine Street, is home to galleries, boutiques, and other locally owned businesses. There are three independent movie theaters in the neighborhood, two operated by the Philadelphia Film Society and one by Landmark Theatres. During the popular monthly First Friday event, art galleries, studios and shops hold evening-hours open houses featuring art, design, and fashion.[6] Since 2010, tech firms have moved to the area as well.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Federal Bureau of Prisons Northeast Region Office is in the U.S. Custom House, a part of the Independence National Historical Park, in Old City, directly across the street from the historic Independence Park Hotel, a favorite hotel for Government travelers.[7]


Many foreign governments have consulates that use the Independence Park Hotel located in Old City, including Panama (124 Chestnut Street),[8] Italy (1026 Public Ledger Building at 150 South Independence Mall West),[9] and Mexico (111 South Independence Mall East).[10] The Dominican Republic closed its consulate in the Lafayette Building at 437 Chestnut Street[11] on November 7, 2005.[12]


Old City children are assigned to schools in the School District of Philadelphia.

Residents are zoned to the General George A. McCall School for grades Kindergarten through 8.[13] All persons assigned to McCall are assigned to Benjamin Franklin High School in North Philadelphia.[14] Previously Old City was assigned to Furness High School.[15][16]

The Mastery Charter Schools system operates the Mastery Charter Lenfest Campus (7-12) in Old City. It moved from North Philadelphia to Old City in 2002.[17]

St. Mary Interparochial Grade School is the designated grade school of St. Augustine Church, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.[18]

Public libraries[edit]

The Free Library of Philadelphia operates its Independence Branch at 18 South 7th Street.[19]

Historic congregations in Old City[edit]

In film[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "PRHP: List of historic districts". Philadelphia Historical Commission. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  3. ^ Old City District (PDF) (Map). Old City District. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  4. ^ "Philadelphia Neighborhoods and Place Names, L-P." City of Philadelphia. Accessed November 9, 2008.
  5. ^ Wright, Robert E (2005). The First Wall Street: Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, and the Birth of American Finance. University of Chicago press.
  6. ^ "Old City District". www.oldcitydistrict.org. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
  7. ^ "Northeast Regional Office." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on June 9, 2015. "U.S. CUSTOM HOUSE, 7TH FLOOR PHILADELPHIA, PA 19106"
  8. ^ "Panamanian Consulates in the U.S. Archived 2009-01-22 at the Wayback Machine" Embassy of Panama in Washington D.C. Retrieved on February 2, 2009.
  9. ^ "Welcome to the web site of the Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia." Consulate-General of Italy in Philadelphia. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  10. ^ "Contactenos Archived 2009-03-02 at the Wayback Machine." Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  11. ^ "Consulate Offices in the U.S." Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Washington, DC. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  12. ^ "DR to close four consulates in the USA Archived 2009-06-20 at the Wayback Machine." Dominican Today. November 8, 2005. Retrieved on February 1, 2009.
  13. ^ McCall map Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, Center City Schools, More info
  14. ^ "High School Directory Fall 2017 Admissions" (Archive). School District of Philadelphia. p. 30/70. Retrieved on November 16, 2016.
  15. ^ Where the Graduates Go." McCall School. Retrieved on November 9, 2008.
  16. ^ "Horace Furness High School Geographic Boundaries" (Archive). School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 4, 2011.
  17. ^ "Lenfest Campus." Mastery Charter Schools. Retrieved on September 10, 2012. "35 South 4th Street Philadelphia, PA 19106"
  18. ^ "St. AUGUSTINE". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. March 27, 1997. Archived from the original on March 27, 1997. Retrieved April 22, 2020. Students attend St. Mary's Interparochial Grade School, 5th and Locust - Also in the page current as of 2020/04/22 the address "5th and Locust Sts. 19106" is given for the school, which matches the address on the official website
  19. ^ "Independence Branch." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
  20. ^ "History of Old First (Historical tours offered Wed., Thurs., Fri., 10 am to 1 pm) | Old First United Church of Christ". January 13, 2017.

External links[edit]