Pennsport, Philadelphia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Drawing of the USS Philadelphia, built in Joshua Humphreys' shipyard in Pennsport, 1799.
Drawing of the USS Philadelphia, built in Joshua Humphreys' shipyard in Pennsport, 1799.
Pennsport is located in Philadelphia
Coordinates: Coordinates: 39°55′39″N 75°09′02″W / 39.92750°N 75.15056°W / 39.92750; -75.15056
Country United States
CountyPhiladelphia County
ZIP Code
19147, 19148
Area code(s)Area codes 215, 267, and 445

Pennsport is a neighborhood in the South Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

Pennsport is home to a large working-class Irish American population and is home to many of the organizations ("clubs") which are located on 2nd Street (known locally as "Two Street")[1] that perform in Philadelphia's annual Mummers Parade on New Year's Day. It was also the site of a controversial push for casinos along the Philadelphia waterfront.[2][3] Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia was proposed for the neighborhood, but never materialized.


Pennsport is bounded by Passyunk Square to the west, the Delaware River to the east, the Queen Village neighborhood to the north, and the Whitman neighborhood to the south. The Pennsport Redevelopment Area Plan of 1968 listed the border streets as Washington Avenue on the north, Snyder Avenue on the south, and Fourth Street on the west.[4]


The 2000 census listed Pennsport's population as 26,300, a figure that includes the populations of Southwark, Queen Village, and Whitman.[5]

Pennsport is 70% whites, 17% African Americans, 8% Asian Americans, and 5% Hispanic and Latino Americans. Roughly 40% of the population is under 18.[5]


"The building of the Frigate Philadelphia", Plate 29 of Birch's Views of Philadelphia (1800). The man standing in the foreground may be a portrait of Humphreys.
The Grand Battery Historical Marker S Columbus Blvd at US Coast Guard Station Philadelphia PA
The Grand Battery Historical Marker

According to the Genealogy of Philadelphia County Subdivisions, Pennsport was originally part of Moyamensing Township. Most of the area north of present-day Mifflin Street was included in the Southwark District from 1794 until the consolidation of Philadelphia in 1854. At that point, it was mostly contained in the First Ward. The First and Second Wards ran east of Passyunk Avenue and were divided by Wharton Street (First to the south, Second to the north). The southern boundary of the First Ward initially spanned south to the river, but it was stopped at Mifflin Street in 1898.[6]

The Washington Avenue Immigration Station was an immigrant processing facility located at the end of Washington Avenue at Pier 53 on the Delaware River, from 1873 to 1915.

The first United States naval yard was located in what is now Pennsport at Federal Street on the Delaware River.[7] The naval yard was established 1801 and was active until 1875, when it moved to League Island, where the Philadelphia Navy Yard business campus is currently located. [8][9] Prior to its establishment as the official naval yard of the United States, it was the private shipyard of famous shipbuilder Joshua Humphreys, who designed the original six frigates of the United States Navy. The frigate USS Philadelphia, which was not one of those six original frigates, was built at the site.

It is also the site where Benjamin Franklin erected the "Association Battery" or "Grand Battery", earthwork defenses with artillery, during King George's War in 1748.[10]

Furness High School and the former Abigail Vare School are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[11] Historic rowhouse synagogue Congregation Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel was featured in the Hidden City Philadelphia 2013 Festival.[12]


The Vare-Washington School, in the former Washington School in Dickinson Square West, serves Pennsport.
Whitman Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia

The School District of Philadelphia operates public schools serving Pennsport.

For grades K-8, Vare-Washington School serves area residents.[13] The school was previously named Abigail Vare School and had occupied a building in Pennsport.[14][15] In October 2013 the Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC) voted to close Washington School in Dickinson Square West. Abigail Vare School moved from its previous building to the former Washington building, at 1198 South 5th Street.[16]

Furness High School serves area residents.[17]

Public libraries[edit]

The Free Library of Philadelphia Whitman Branch in Whitman serves Pennsport.[18]

Notable residents[edit]

  • Rob McElhenney – actor, creator of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Edward "Babe" HEFFRON - A paratrooper in Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Heffron took part in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and helped liberate the Kaufering concentration camp in Landsberg, Germany. He received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
  • William "Wild Bill" Guarnere - William J. Guarnere (April 28, 1923 – March 8, 2014) was a United States Army soldier who fought in World War II as a non-commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. Guarnere wrote Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story with long-time friend Edward "Babe" Heffron and journalist Robyn Post in 2007. Guarnere was portrayed in the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Frank John Hughes.

The bronze statues of William “Wild Bill” Guarnere and Edward “Babe” Heffron are located at a park on 2nd and Reed Streets show the pair as they looked before they left their South Philly neighborhood to fight in Europe during World War II.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Max L. Raab (2001). Strut! The Movie (DVD). Philadelphia: Max L. Raab Productions. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  2. ^ article on casino proposals
  3. ^ Philadelphia Weekly article on resident response to the casinos
  4. ^ Pennsport Redevelopment Area Plan (Nov. 1968), Philadelphia Neighborhoods Project, University of Pennsylvania Libraries.
  5. ^ a b South Philly Review, October 7, 2004, "The Place Where You Live: Pennsport".
  6. ^ Weinberg, Allen; John Daly (1966). Genealogy of Philadelphia County Subdivisions. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia Department of Records.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Harbor Defenses of the Delaware
  11. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  12. ^ Myers, Joseph (May 23, 2013). "Hidden City showcases Shivtei Yeshuron: A local synagogue will participate in a celebration of often-overlooked spaces". South Philly Review. Retrieved 2014-01-12.
  13. ^ "School Finder." School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  14. ^ Former Abigail Vare attendance boundary (Archive). School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  15. ^ Jennings, James. "Mt. Sinai Developer Plans Apartments, Townhomes at Shuttered Pennsport School." Philadelphia. June 10, 2015. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  16. ^ Graham, Kristen. "SRC votes to spare four schools." Philadelphia Inquirer. Thursday October 17, 2013. Retrieved on November 30, 2015. "CLOSING:[...]George Washington Elementary School, 1198 S. 5th Street Abigail Vare Elementary School, 1621 E. Moyamensing Avenue (building only, moves into George Washington Elementary)"
  17. ^ "Horace Furness High School Geographic Boundaries" (Archive). School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 4, 2011.
  18. ^ "Whitman Branch." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 19, 2012.