Posted on: June 3, 2013
History: Fitler Square is named after Edwin H. Fitler, a well-regarded 19th century mayor of Philadelphia. The Square was dedicated to his memory shortly after his death in 1896.
From the city’s earliest history, the Fitler Square neighborhood was a shipping, shipbuilding and brick-making center that became home to some of the city’s most prominent citizens. While the majority of the buildings in the neighborhood date from the mid-19th to the early 20th century, the history of the neighborhood’s development can be traced through the changing styles of its remarkably varied architecture.
Before the 1950s the neighborhood was a prime example of the urban blight that had overcome much of the city. The park itself was described as a “mudhole inhabited by drunks and empty bottles”. In the mid-1950s, The Center City Residents’ Association successfully petitioned Mayor Clark to do something about the decline of the neighborhood. Working together, they freed up mortgage money for the construction of new homes and rehabilitation of the neighborhood.
Also threatening the neighborhood was the proposed Crosstown Expressway. The threat of its construction, which would demolish much of the neighborhood, was enough to reduce property values and add to the neighborhoods blight. The Residents’ Association was successful in changing the plans and following years saw drastic neighborhood improvements.
Today the neighborhood is mostly residential and composed of single-family homes, and it is within a short walk of the commercial areas of Center City. On the television show Philly, Kim Delaney’s character “Kathleen” was portrayed as living in a small apartment building overlooking the park. Hojun Li, co-editor of the film The Sixth Sense, claims to have been inspired by children in Fitler Square.
(Wikipedia / Fitler Square.org)
Boundaries: 21st Street on the east, the Schuylkill River on the west, Locust Street on the north, and South Street on the south.
Zip Codes: 19146.
More Information: Fitler Square.
Schools: The Philadelphia School.