The name “Fairmount” itself derives from the prominent hill on which the Philadelphia Museum of Art now sits, and where William Penn originally intended to build his own manor house. Later, the name was applied to the street originally called Hickory Lane that runs from the foot of Fairmount hill through the heart of the neighborhood. The area is sometimes referred to as the “Art Museum Area,” for its proximity to and association with the Art Museum.
The nearby Fairmount Park rivals New York’s Central Park in size and beauty. The neighborhood’s north and east sections are occupied by Spring Gardens, a former drug market converted by neighbors into a community garden, and the historic Eastern State Penitentiary, which holds only tourists these days.
The neighborhood’s Fairmount Avenue contains many diverse restaurants, bars and shops. Fairmount Avenue is the dividing line between Fairmount and the Spring Garden neighborhoods. Spring Garden has many large houses built for the managers of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, other professionals, and brewery owners which date back to the 1840s. Green Street is particularly impressive and recalls the area’s past and proud industrial legacy.
Fairmount’s homes were generally smaller row or town houses and the residents were generally working class. Here row houses were interspersed with lumber yards, coal yards, lime yards, iron foundries, bakeries, dry goods stores, as well as several wagon works and stables. Many of these were built in the second half of the 19th century to support small factories and later the large breweries that located there in the late 19th century and reached their zenith in the early 20th century. One of these breweries with its many ancillary buildings has been painstakingly preserved and turned into fashionable condominiums. Of architectural note is Aspen Street’s “Centennial Block”.
Today Fairmount is one of Philadelphia’s most eclectic neighborhoods, combining tourist attractions, row homes, restaurants and of course, the public art and green spaces of Fairmount Park. (From Wikipedia, About.com, Philadelphia.com)
The neighborhood is bordered by Vine Street to the south, Girard Avenue to the north, the Schuylkill River to the west, and Broad Street to the east.
Zip Code: 19130
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