Posted on: June 10, 2013
History: Brewerytown is a neighborhood in North Philadelphia. An unofficial region, Brewerytown got its name because of the numerous breweries that were located along the Schuylkill during the late 19th century and early 20th century. It is now primarily a residential neighborhood, with an active commercial sector along Girard Avenue. Despite struggling with poverty in recent decades, Brewerytown has seen a recent influx of young professionals, and it is considered a neighborhood on the rise.
The earliest indications of this legacy can be seen on maps from the 1860s, which list several minor brewers and distillation facilities in this region. Proximity to the river and nearby farmland allowed these establishments to flourish, and as demands increased, so did development in Brewerytown. Much of the expansion into the early 20th century was handled by architect Otto Wolf, who oversaw the construction of over 60 buildings in the area, bringing a distinct German texture to the houses, saloons, and breweries of the area.
Some of his buildings are still standing, including the Bergdoll Brewing complex, and F.A. Poth Brewing. Columbia Park, former home of the Philadelphia Athletics major league baseball team, was located at 30th and Oxford Streets in the neighborhood.
At its peak, 700 breweries operated across Philadelphia, several in a ten-block area of Brewerytown. Unfortunately, with the collapse of local industry later in the 20th century, originally started by the implementation of Prohibition in the United States, and beer production moving primarily to the Midwest, every single brewer had vanished by 1987. The industry has slowly returned to the city, but at nowhere near the capacity of its heyday. Ironically, there are currently no operating breweries in Brewerytown.
During this late 20th-century slump, the entirety of North Philadelphia, Brewerytown included, was hit hard by economic depression. Much of the area was deemed blighted by the city government. For the last few decades, Brewerytown has been a predominantly poor, African-American neighborhood.
In 1991, the Brewerytown Historic District was certified by the National Register of Historic Places. The district contains 380 buildings and is roughly bounded by 30th St., Girard Ave., 32nd St. and Glenwood Ave. (Wikipedia)
Boundaries: The Schuylkill River’s eastern bank and 25th Street, Cecil B. Moore Avenue to the north and Parrish Street to the south.
Zip Codes: 19121, 19130.
More Information: Brewerytown Living.