Get to know the many neighborhoods of Philadelphia in Agent Lady’s blog series “Philly Neighborhood Spotlight.” Whether you are looking to buy a home in this wonderful City of Brotherly Love or just want to get to know the lay of the land, read about the history, location, and highlights of Philly neighborhoods.
Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood sits in the northwest, just above Center City and Rittenhouse Square. Currently, there are many names for different parts of Fairmount such as Francisville and Brewerytown.
However, the official boundaries are from Broad Street to the Schuylkill River and from Spring Garden Street to Girard Avenue.
The name “Fairmount” comes from the hill where the Art Museum now sits. Originally, William Penn planned to build his manor upon this hill, but it was never followed through.
It’s hard to believe that Fairmount wasn’t originally in the city of Philadelphia. During the 17th and 18th centuries it was located in Penn Township, a suburb of Philadelphia. It wasn’t until 1854 that it officially became part of Philadelphia, along with other neighborhoods such as Northern Liberties.
The prominent hill of Fairmount also played a role in the American Revolution. Sadly it wasn’t helpful to our independence, though. The British army built a defense wall along the hill to keep Washington’s troops away.
During the 19th century, the area witnessed some urbanization. Three prominent institutions helped make Fairmount what it is today. The Fairmount Dam and Water Works were created, which provided water to homes and businesses in the city with an innovative water pump. Eastern State Penitentiary, a large prison that closely resembles a fortress was built along Fairmount Avenue and housed criminals such as Al Capone. It was later abandoned in 1971. The third institution was Girard College, which was created by Stephen Girard, who was the wealthiest man in the country when he died.
During the 1830’s, there was a mixture of homes and factories in Fairmount. The famous Art Museum was completed in 1927 and is a staple in the Fairmount neighborhood. The neighborhood developed over the years adding restaurants and attracting European families in the 1960’s. Today, there are mostly young middle and upper class families that reside in Fairmount.
Fairmount is known for its greenery. Not only is there the expansive Fairmount Park, which is perfect for a run or bike ride on a nice day, but it’s also filled with beautiful tree-lined streets. Behind these trees you’ll find historic row homes as well as newly constructed homes. There are a handful of condo and apartment buildings toward the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Fairmount Avenue is home to numerous restaurants and coffee shops. If you’re looking for a place for Sunday brunch, Fairmount is the neighborhood to go. There are a few bars, but nightlife isn’t prominent in the neighborhood.
It’s also home to many pieces of fine art. Not only is there the Art Museum, but the Barnes Foundation and Rodin Museum sits along the Parkway.
Highlights and Events
The neighborhood hosts a number of events throughout the year. Eastern State Penitentiary is open for tours daily and transforms into a terrifying haunted house during Halloween time. It also hosts a festival on Bastille Day. The Parkway hosts an Independence Day celebration every year. Thanks to Wawa Welcome America, Philadelphia residents can attend a free concert, eat from local food trucks, and watch incredible fireworks over the Art Museum.
Smaller neighborhood festivals also occur such as flea markets and food festivals along the avenue. It’s never a boring time in Fairmount.
Looking to Move?
Does the Fairmount neighborhood sound like a place you could see yourself living in? Does being surrounded by history, great food, young families, and tree-lined streets appeal to you? Then contact the Agent Lady, Philadelphia’s leading real estate agent. Schedule your FREE consultation today to learn more about the neighborhood.
About Brittany: Brittany is the super organized (and awesome) marketing assistant that helps home buying and selling clients have the best experience possible. She also shares her creative side by writing compelling short stories about the home buying process that are loosely based on actual client situations and captures the authentic feel of Philadelphia neighborhoods.