West Philadelphia  

West Philadelphia, nicknamed West Philly, is a section of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although there is no official definition of its boundaries, it is generally considered to reach from the western shore of the Schuylkill River to City Avenue to the northwest, Cobbs Creek to the southwest, and the SEPTA Media/Wawa Line to the south. An alternate definition includes all city land west of the Schuylkill, including Southwest Philadelphia and its neighborhoods. The eastern side of West Philadelphia is also known as University City.

History

The Woodlands Cemetery, located near the west bank of the Schuylkill River, was originally the estate of Andrew Hamilton, who bought the property in 1735 from the descendants of Blockley Township’s founder, William Warner, who hailed from Brockley, England. Warner was the first known European west of the Schuylkill. In 1840, the property was transformed into a cemetery with an arboretum of over 1,000 trees. It holds the graves of many famous Philadelphians.

Satterlee Hospital, one of the largest Union Army hospitals of the Civil War, operated from 1862 to 1865; part of its grounds is now the northern section of Clark Park.

West Philadelphia’s population expanded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thanks mainly to horsecars, then streetcars, and Schuylkill River bridges that allowed middle-class breadwinners to commute into the Central Business District a few miles to the east. West Philadelphia was among the early streetcar suburbs, and a portion of it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the West Philadelphia Streetcar Suburb Historic District.

The western portion of this Philadelphia, PA neighborhood was once home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country (and much striking Victorian-era architecture remains). The area has declined in prominence over the last 50 years, thanks partly to increasing crime and the migration of many middle and upper-class residents to suburbs and other city sections.

Housing

Most of the houses in West Philadelphia are row houses, although there are areas of semi-detached and detached houses. The earliest developments began in 1850, and the final period of mass construction ended in 1930. Development was enabled by the creation of the horsecar, which pushed development to about 43rd Street, and, after the arrival of the electrified streetcar in 1892, accelerated to the west and southwest. Junk Removal Philadelphia Kings

Commissioned mainly by speculative developers and designed by some of the city’s most prolific architects, they were purchased by industrial managers and other professionals who led the first movement of the upper and middle class from the more crowded city center. Developers found they could increase profits by catering to this emerging group, shrinking lot sizes, and building more compact, less ornate houses.

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