Neighborhood Profile: EAST FALLS

History: East Falls is a neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia. The neighborhood runs along a stretch of Ridge Avenue that is only a few miles long, along the banks of the Schuylkill River then extends northeast to Wissahickon Avenue. East Falls overlooks the multi-use recreational path of Fairmount Park along Kelly Drive, and is desirable for its central location, an easy commute to Center City.  East Falls continues to develop, with new housing, retail space and recreation centers in production. It features two train stations, a number of bars and restaurants, illustrious mansions and some recently renovated housing.

East Falls is best known as the childhood home of Grace Kelly, actress and Princess of Monaco who grew up in a house at 3901 Henry Avenue. East Falls takes its name from its location on the east side of the Schuylkill River at the original line of waterfalls where the river descends from the elevation of the Pennsylvania piedmont to the coastal plain occupied by the main part of the City of Philadelphia, thus East Falls was in colonial times the highest point on the river navigable by boat and transfer point to the Indian path/colonial roadways which later became Ridge Avenue and Germantown Avenue. The falls disappeared when the river level was raised by the construction of the dam at the Fairmount Water Works, four miles downstream, but rocks still visible above the water show the location of the natural fall-line.

Before the arrival of European settlers, the Lenni Lenape Indians considered the lower Schuylkill River their home. The Wissahickon Creek runs into the Schuylkill here and today is included as a part of Fairmount Park, providing walking and bike paths along its banks. Wissahickon is a merging of two Lenape words: “Wisaucksickan” meaning “yellow-colored creek”, and “Wisamickan” meaning “catfish creek”. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries “catfish and waffles” was a favorite food at the many inns and taverns that ran through the valley, and a catfish still serves as the weathervane atop the Free Library of Philadelphia Falls of Schuylkill Branch. East Falls, so named in the nineteenth century, had earlier been known as Falls of the Schuylkill or Falls Village. In the 19th century, the Dobson Mills textile factory thrived there. (Wikipedia)

Boundaries: East Falls is located adjacent to Roxborough, Manayunk, Germantown and Fairmount Park.

Zip Codes:  19129.

What to See / Do: Laurel Hill Cemetery, East Falls Glassworks, East Falls Historical Society, East Falls Heritage TourSchuylkill River Banks.

More Information: East Falls Development Corp.

Schools: Thomas Mifflin School, William Penn Charter School, Agora Cyber Charter School, Elwyn Seedlings, Philadelphia University, Drexel University College of Medicine.

Public Transportation: SEPTA’s East Falls Station