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A History of Mantua, Philadelphia

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The personal injury lawyers of Mantua is sponsoring this lcoal article about the history and population of the Philadelphia area. We hope that both residents and visitors can learn more about the community they are in.

Overview of the Mantua Neighborhood

Mantua is a West Philadelphia neighborhood north of Spring Garden street and between 31st and 40th streets. While the area mainly houses working-class and African American residents, over the years Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania student renters have started to gentrify the area more.

Mantua has an early history dating back to the 1600s when William Powel opened a ferry over the Schuylkill River where the modern Spring Garden Brige extends from the neighborhood. The neighborhood didn't get its name until 1809 when Judge Richard Peters named the area for an Italian city. Peters designed a grid of lots centering 36th and Haverford. Powelton Village was a fashionable area after it became consolidated into the city of Philadelphia.


Before 1940, Mantua was inhabited primarily by white Lutherans, black families began moving into the surrounding area in the mid-40s an 50s. Many of the residents left the area because of suburbanization and de-industrialization. Gangs began fighting in the area in the 1960s, and the neighborhood saw an uptick of crime and violence on the streets. The Young Great Society and the Mantua Community Planners were born during this time and held community functions and work with police to deter children from joining gangs. From 1960-1969, Mantua had 6 major gangs and recorded 10% of Philadelphia gang killings.


Over the years, gang violence delayed efforts to build a recreation center and other urban renewal programs. In 1979, the Mantua Library branch opened. Drugs ruled the 1980s, and Mantua was also victim to the violence brought about by the use of cocaine and heroin. Many residents would end up leaving the neighborhood during this time.


While drug crime did begin to see a decline in the early 1990s, the neighborhood which used to boast around 19,000 residents dropped sharply to around 6,000 residents. Houses became abandoned, the shopping district that thrived in the 1950s ended up being replaced by beer distributors and delis.

The late 1990s saw the beginning of an influx of college students. Drexel University boarders the neighborhood and students were moving into the area for more affordable rental housing. University of Pennsylvania students also began moving into the area and a renewed interest in the community blossomed. In 2005, Mantua Cares was launched to bring back youth programs, encourage entrepreneurship and to help provide jobs.

Modern Demographics

Today, the population of Mantua has grown, surpassing the old counts.

  • Approximately 53,560 residents
  • 47.75% male and 51.25% female
  • Median age is 22.9
  • 5.25% of residents born outside of the USA
  • 89.78% of residents report a white collar job
  • 64.66% non-family households
  • and 20% of households have children

Today, the average household income in Mantua is $45,012 and 78% of housing is renter occupied. This high rental rate and low median age of the area can be attributed to the influx of college students living in the area.

Things to Do In Mantua

Mantua sits just below the Philadelphia Zoo, following 34th street north over the train tracks. There are many parks in the neighborhood, including the Miles Mack Playground, named for the community volunteer who was killed at the park in 2008. The city renamed the park from McAlpin to Miles Mack in 2009, and in 2020 the park underwent a $2.2 million-dollar building project to renovate the building and park. The neighborhood also has the Mantua Urban Peace Garden, 33rd and Wallace Playground, the 37th and Mt Vernon Park and the 39th and Olive Playground. Learn more about the local neighborhood of Forgotten Bottom.

Our Local Office

Our Mantua personal injury lawyers are available 24/7 if you have suffered a personal injury leaving you struggling to work or participate in daily activities. Call today for a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights after being in an accident. Our local attorneys offer free consultations.

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5327 Walnut St #201
Philadelphia, PA 19139
(267) 313-5200

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This website is sponsored by Justice Guardians, LLC. We have offices in Pennsylvania with attorneys licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel for prosecuting cases and while this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases are referred to other attorneys for principal responsibility.
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