Old City, Philadelphia

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Old City Historic District
Elfreth's Alley.JPG
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; -75.142694Coordinates: 39°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 historic neighborhood in Center City, Philadelphia, in the area near the Delaware River where William Penn and the Quakers first settled. To tourists, it is best known as the site of Independence Hall and its encompassing Independence National Historical Park, Elfreth's Alley, Carpenters' Hall, the Betsy Ross House, and many of Philadelphia's other historic sites.

The Old City District occupies several blocks between Front and Sixth Streets, bounded by Vine Street to the north and Walnut Street to the south.[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]

The Old City Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. In 2003, it was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.[2]

Old City is home to the oldest continually inhabited street in America, Elfreth's Alley.[5] Home to more than 3,000 people since 1702, the street today holds 32 houses built between 1728 and 1836.[6]

Places of note[edit]

Business and commerce[edit]

Old City is one of Philadelphia's popular nightlife destinations, with 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. Landmark Theatres operates three Ritz movie theaters in the area that specialize in art films. During the popular monthly First Friday event, shops hold evening-hours open houses featuring art, design, and fashion. 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.[7]


Many foreign governments have consulates 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 2008-04-16.
  4. ^ "Philadelphia Neighborhoods and Place Names, L-P." City of Philadelphia. Accessed November 9, 2008.
  5. ^ "Elfreth's Alley". Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  6. ^ "History of Elfreth's Alley". Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  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. 1997-03-27. Archived from the original on 1997-03-27. Retrieved 2020-04-22. 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. ^ http://oldfirstucc.org/our-community/history/

External links[edit]