Archives: fairmount park

Neighborhood Profile: FAIRMOUNT

Posted on: April 15, 2013

History:   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,,

Boundaries: 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

What To See / Do: Fairmount Water Works, Boat House Row, The Philadelphia Museum of ArtEastern State Penitentiary, Fairmount Park, Fairmount Art Center.

More Information: NFT: Fairmount

Schools: Bache-Martin School, Laura Wheeler Waring SchoolBenjamin Franklin High School, Philadelphia Mennonite High School, Girard College.

Public Transportation:  SEPTA Bus Routes 7, 32, 43 and 48, SEPTA Route 15 trolley.


All welcome on Forbidden Drive

Posted on: February 13, 2009

One of the great things about living and working in the Northwest Section of Philadelphia is the escape that Valley Green and Fairmount park provide. I keep myself somewhat sane and somewhat fit by going for a run through the park a few days a week. Forbidden Drive, as it winds through Fairmount Park, has to be one of the most picturesque spots in the city of Philadelphia to get exercise. Three or four days a week I’m down in the park getting my workout in and enjoying all the nature the park has to offer. Often on my runs, I meet past and present clients taking advantage of this great park.

This past week I had clients who were transferring in from out of state, after I showed them a number of houses throughout the Northwest (Chestnut Hill, Mt Airy. East Falls), I decided to take them to lunch at The Valley Green Inn which is located on Forbidden Drive in the Wissahickon. My clients were so impressed with the scenery and also the fact that all the surrounding neighborhoods had easy access into the park. They haven’t settled on a house yet but they surely know they want to be walking distance to the park and all its hidden treasures. They said regarding the park, “what a beautiful backyard it makes!”

Whether you are new to the area or have lived in the Northwest all your life, do yourself a favor,take advantage of this wonderful escape located right here in your own backyard…

Posted by Paul Walsh