March 17, 2014 – Last week, I displayed photos of the streets in the Rittenhouse and Fairmount neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Today, we will venture southeast, to the old city neighborhood and Elfreth’s Alley, which completes our journey in the center city area.
Old City, a neighborhood where our forefathers walked before us, is home to the historical past of the United States. East from center city towards Front Street are the quaint side streets of the Old City neighborhood where mom and pop shops reign, and residents live in the same colonial houses that once were home to the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
In the early days of the U.S., Bread Street between Second and Third Streets, was the area of the city where the flour was delivered and breads and pastries were baked for the city. Today, it houses two blocks of loft apartments for rent. The sign below shows some of the lofts’ amenities, but there is one that has been removed as you can see in the photo. Wouldn’t it have been better to pay for a new sign? It makes me wonder what they took away.
A view down Bread Street.
On Arch Street, between Second and Third Streets sits the home of Betsy Ross, who is designed the American flag.
You could argue that our forefathers were unimaginative when naming the streets in the city. Or, they were just literal. Like Bread Street above, where the flour was stored, Christ Church, oldest church in the area, sits off Second Street on Church Street.
A view down Church Street.
The City Tavern opened in 1773, and served the likes of John Adams, Paul Revere, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the city’s most famous resident, Benjamin Franklin. It sits on Second Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets.
The small street that runs beside the City Tavern doesn’t officially have a name, but I’ll bet it was once known as Tavern Street.
The Elfreth’s Alley Area
Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest residential street in the U.S. Its name came from Jeremiah Elfreth, an 18th century glass blower and merchant who lived there. The area was diverse; during the American Revolution, both patriots and loyalists lived on the street.
Nearly 3,000 residents have lived on this one block street since its beginning in 1702. Elfreth Alley is located off Second Street, between Race and Arch Streets.
Stepping onto Elfreth Alley takes you back in time, unless there is a large truck in the middle of the road.
The horse posts in front of each colorful home lend to its authenticity.
Next Monday, we’ll continue with part three of the series, and visit University City, home to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, and Powelton Village.