Philadelphia, PA

On This Charming Pennsylvania Street, You'll Find Centuries of History

Melissa Frost

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At first glance, it may look like any other charming, quaint Pennsylvania street, but on this particular one, there's an abundance of local history to be found.

The street, known as Elfreth's Alley, was not included in the original plans for Philadelphia.

The beginning

As the city and its businesses started to thrive in the 18th century, properties nearby the ports where goods and materials arrived were highly desired. This, however, led to overcrowding, and the need for alternate routes to the river became apparent.

Two local men, Arthur Wells and John Gilbert, opened a cart path between their properties, which stretched from Front St. to Second St., in 1703. This path eventually became known as Elfreth’s Alley, named after blacksmith and land developer Jeremiah Elfreth.

Landmark status

In the 1960s, the Elfreth’s Alley Association, formed about three decades earlier, secured National Historic Landmark status to ensure that Interstate 95 construction did not eliminate Elfreth’s Alley from the landscape of Old City, Philadelphia.

Today

Today, Elfreth’s Alley is a residential community housing people of many trades.

The alley, which also has its own museum, is an authentic example of early American structures built between 1720 and 1830. The Elfreth’s Alley Museum is all about celebrating the working class of America who helped build the country, and they host various events and markets throughout the year.

The museum opens for the season in mid-April and runs through October 31st. Hours are noon to 4 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

For additional details, check their website.

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Melissa is a journalist and content writer. She covers food, travel and local news, mostly from PA.

Lititz, PA
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