Posted on: April 22, 2013
History: South Philadelphia began as a satellite town of Philadelphia, with small townships such as Moyamensing and Southwark. During the Industrial Revolution, the area saw rapid growth, in part due to mass immigration from Ireland. Its urbanized border reached that of Philadelphia. Along with all other jurisdictions in the county, South Philadelphia became part of the City of Philadelphia proper with passage by the Pennsylvania legislature of the city/county Act of Consolidation, 1854. The area continued to grow, becoming a vital part of Philadelphia’s large industrial base and attracting immigrants from Italy, Ireland and Poland and many other countries during the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as Black American migrants from the southern United States during the Great Migration of the early 20th century. The immigrants and migrants became the basis of South Philadelphia’s unique and vibrant culture that developed over the next several decades.
Most of South Philadelphia’s communities are largely Italian American. There also continue to be many ethnic Irish Americans and African Americans. An increase in late 20th-century immigration has given South Philadelphia significant populations from Asia: Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand; as well as from Russia and Mexico, and smaller groups from dozens of nations across the world. Today, many vendors at the Italian Market are of Asian descent, and Vietnamese and Thai restaurants are interspersed with historic Italian ones in the Market area. The recent revitalization of Center City Philadelphia and the subsequent gentrification of adjacent neighborhoods has led to dramatic rises in prices of housing in the neighborhoods of historic Queen Village, Bella Vista, and some other parts of South Philadelphia.
Many of the community clubs that create the annual Mummers Parade every New Year’s Day have traditionally been from South Philadelphia, especially those located on the largely Irish American S. 2nd Street (“Two Street”) in the Pennsport neighborhood.
Boundaries: The neighborhood is bordered by South Street to the north, the Delaware River to the east and south, and the Schuylkill River to the west.
Zip Codes: 19145, 19146, 19147, and 19148.
More Information: Not For Tourists
Schools: South Philadelphia High School, Audenried High School, Furness High School, The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), The Mastery Charter School’s Thomas School, Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School, Philadelphia Free School.
Public Transportation: SEPTA’s Broad Street Line subway services South Philadelphia and provides quick access to Center City and North Philadelphia. A number of SEPTA bus routes also serve South Philadelphia, ferrying commuters to and from Center City and its immediate suburbs.