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A History and Guide of Fairmount, PA

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The personal injury lawyers in Fairmount, PA, present this article to offer a detailed excerpt about the area.

Fairmount is a neighborhood in Lower North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The neighborhood is found within ZIP code 19130 and area codes 215, 267, and 445.


Fairmount was discovered by William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. Penn named the area after the large hills that occupied the land at the time.

Fairmount was visited and settled by many European farmers throughout the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. A few established country seats in Fairmount, including Bush Hill, White Hall, and Lemon Hill.

Until 1854, when Fairmount was incorporated into the City of Philadelphia, the land belonged to the Penn Township.

Throughout the 1800s, Fairmount consisted of large hills that were utilized by the Fairmount Dam and Water Works Organization to provide water to the homes and businesses within nearby cities. For many years, the land was considered farmers' land and soon became industrialized until Philadelphians saw the area as an opportunity to establish estates.

Through industrialization, Fairmount became home to many breweries, which became attractive to those looking for work. Soon enough, Fairmount faced residential development, and the once farmland became an architectural and scenic attraction.

The neighborhood was composed of buildings that resembled the Greek Revival architectural style.

In the early 19th century, The Eastern State Penitentiary, a former American prison in Philadelphia, became a prominent landmark. A few notorious criminals were held in the prison, including Al Capone, an American gangster and co-founder of the Chicago Outfit, and Willie Sutton, a bank robber who stole an estimated $2million.

By 1831, Fairmount became home to Girard College, an independent college preparatory five-day boarding school. The school has grown to become one of the most notable schools in the area and is known for its scholarship awards that amount to $63,o00 to every child admitted.

Today, Fairmount is well known for its proximity to the Philadelphia Art Museum that began construction in 1919. The grand building was constructed in the Greek Revival style, and its commonly known for its "Rocky Steps."

Throughout the 1960s, Fairmount was home to a large percentage of working-class white Europeans. The area remained working class for many years and today is known to host younger, middle, and upper-class residents.

Since the 1960s, Fairmount has been gentrified, and following the abandonment of the well-known Eastern State Penitentiary, it has become a popular destination for tourists.


Being gentrified has significantly changed the demographics of Fairmount. What was once a majorly working-class white population now has a racial demographic of:

  • 62% White
  • 23% African American
  • 6% Asian
  • 5% Two or More Races
  • 4% Hispanic

The median household income in Fairmount is beyond the national average ($62,843) at $77,885, and the median home value is well above the national average ($217,500) at $326,258.

Today, Fairmount is considered a favorable place to live in Pennsylvania and has ranked #6 in Best Neighborhoods to Raise a Family in Pennsylvania, #8 in Best Neighborhoods to Live in Pennsylvania, and #20 in Best Neighborhoods for Young Professionals in Pennsylvania.

Want to learn more? See the related: Learn All About Poplar, PA

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David Petrone
Date Published: June 14, 2021
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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