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A Brief History of North Philadelphia, PA

north philadelphia car accident attorney near village of arts

The car accident attorneys in North Philadelphia, PA, present this article to offer a detailed excerpt about the area.

North Philadelphia, commonly known as North Philly, is a section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The area spans 46.7 square miles and hosts an approximate population of 240,781 with a population density of 5,155 per square mile.


North Philadelphia was originally an agricultural township above the original city of Philadelphia. Throughout the 18th century, Philadelphia became an attractive area to live as an alternative to the booming city. North Philadelphia became the ideal destination for wealthy Philadelphians who built up their estates and mansions on the land.

By the 18th and early 19th centuries, North Philadelphia developed multiple smaller-scaled town centers as the population great. While many Philadelphians flew to North Philadelphia for a suburban lifestyle, by the mid-19th century, North Philadelphia saw rapid urban expansion, which eventually led to The Consolidation Act of 1854, legislation of the Pennsylvania Great Assembly that expanded the city's territory to the entirety of Philadelphia County and dissolving the other municipal authorities in the county.

Suddenly, due to the territory belonging to Philadelphia's city planners, North Philadelphia saw an influx of European immigrants. Soon enough, what was once a decentralized suburban area for the wealthy turned into a network of omnipresent Philadelphia rowhomes.

Between the mid-19th century and mid-20th century, Philadelphia became an important industrial manufacturing center, and North Philadelphia became a town of the working class. Thousands of rowhomes were built to accommodate the worker population, and the Broad Street Line subway was constructed. The North Philadelphia station soon became the second most heavily trafficked station in the city.

In the Great Depression era, outsourcing and white flight heavily impacted North Philadelphia. Many African Americans moved into the neighborhood with great housing vacancies, and lower North Philadelphia became a great center of black culture and music, most notably jazz.

Today, despite there being great racial diversity - 40.8% Non-Hispanic Black, 30.5% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 10.1% Non-Hispanic White, 5.0% Asian & Pacific Islander, 4.3% Mixed or Other, 0.3% Native American - North Philadelphia is highly segregated by block by block.

The area between Broad Street and 5th Avenue has become known as the "transition zone" with nearly equal populations of Hispanic and Black before the predominately Black population on the west of Broad Street and the predominately Hispanic population east of 5th Avenue.

Cultural Sites

If you're looking to learn more about the history and culture of North Philadelphia, make sure not to miss out on all the fantastic attractions the area has to offer. If you ever find yourself in North Philadelphia, be sure to check out:

  • The Village of Arts and Humanities, founded by Lily Yeh, an artist, Chinese immigrant, and tenured professor at the Philadelphia School of Fine Arts. The arts organization offers dozens of urban lots and empty buildings with murals, mosaics, and gardens.
  • The Philadelphia Doll Museum, founded by Barbara Whiteman in 1988, is the only known museum in the United States that emphasizes the collection and preservation of black dolls as artifacts of history and culture.
  • The Wagner Free Institute of Science, founded in 1855 this natural history museum is a surviving example of a Victorian-era scientific society.

Want to learn more? See the related: Discover North Philadelphia East, PA

Our Local Office

Have you or a loved one sustained personal injuries from an accident? You may be entitled to financial compensation. Allow the North Philadelphia, PA, car accident attorneys to fight for the justice you deserve. Contact our legal team today.

Justice Guardians
3400 Aramingo Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19134
(267) 277-2890

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David Petrone
Date Published: June 21, 2021
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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