B. Communities


The most architecturally visible populations in this expanding neighborhood were the mansion-dwelling elite and their more self-effacing contemporaries in the three-bay townhouses on Chestnut, Walnut, Spruce, Pine, and the adjoining numbered streets. A fair number were physicians associated with the hospitals and medical schools located further east, but a good representation of the city's most prominent industrialists, merchants, and entrepreneurs were also to be found here before the mid-19th century. Other populations were less visible in the built streetscape except though their institutions, which reveal a perhaps unexpected diversity. Within this relatively small district there were houses of worship of Quaker, Catholic, Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.), Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Universalist and other congregations. There were three public schools in the area, along with some of the city's most exclusive private ones.

From very early in this neighborhood's history, a community of African Americans -- specifically surveyed in censuses compiled by the Pennsylvania Abolition Society in 1838 and 1847 -- populated many of the block interiors as well as the main streets in its southern third. By the time of W. E. B. DuBois's groundbreaking book, The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study (1899), this area was a center for the city's black elite, although that community had already spread directly westward into other parts of Philadelphia's seventh ward.

Section B: [exhibition]
Last Revision 03/10/00 eb.