Finding a Home in Historic Philadelphia


Those who love the unique architecture and historical significance of older American homes will find some of the best examples in historic Philadelphia neighborhoods. Each area of the city offers beautiful homes in a range of styles.


Those who love the unique architecture and historical significance of older American homes will find some of the best examples in historic Philadelphia neighborhoods. No matter if you’re looking for a rowhome, a brownstone, or a single family residence, if you like homes with a story behind them, you’ll find some of the most interesting historic homes in the city.

Historical Homes Are Everywhere

Approximately 90 percent of Philadelphia’s identified nationally registered historic districts are located in four areas: Center City, Lower North Philadelphia (encompassing Strawberry Mansion, Brewerytown, East Falls, and nearby areas), West Philadelphia, and Germantown/Chestnut Hill. However, each section of the city boasts at least one registered historic district and beautiful, well-maintained homes of architectural significance.

Center City: From Old City to Midcentury Modern

The Center City district of Philadelphia encompasses many different architectural styles. Beginning with Elfreth’s Alley, the first residential neighborhood in America, the neighborhoods in downtown Philadelphia take great pride in their contribution to American history. Old City and Society Hill are two neighborhoods where you’ll find some of the most meticulously preserved historic homes in the city, dating back to the earliest colonial developments. And for those who love more recent but still historic Philadelphia homes, the midcentury modern period is also well represented in Center City, including many apartment and condo buildings constructed during the time period.

West Philadelphia’s Spruce Hill

The Spruce Hill neighborhood is historically significant due to its architectural variety and its designation as a “streetcar suburb.” Beginning in the early 19th century, Spruce Hill became a residential neighborhood geared toward middle-class workers commuting into Center City. Older homes here are generally larger than in more traditional rowhome neighborhoods and built in a range of architectural styles, including Gothic, Colonial, and Tudor Revival homes. Today, the neighborhood still maintains a residential feel, with walkable neighborhoods and a variety of small shops and restaurants on Baltimore Avenue, the main thoroughfare.

Mt. Airy

Between the historic Chestnut Hill and Germantown neighborhoods lies Mt. Airy, with its own unique place in Philadelphia history. The Awbury District is listed as a National Historic district and has also been recognized by the city of Philadelphia for its historical significance. Named after Philadelphian William Allen’s summer estate, built in 1750, Mount Airy has evolved into one of the most integrated neighborhoods in the city. Today’s residents frequent restaurants, bars, and shops on Germantown Avenue.

Those looking for a Philadelphia home with historic significance may be surprised at the hidden gems found within individual neighborhoods. With almost 300 years’ worth of architectural styles, you’re guaranteed to find a home to suit your taste in the city.

Image Source: Flickr


Jennifer DiGiovanni is a freelance writer and a partner in a real estate investment firm focusing on residential properties. She previously worked in the financial services industry and has earned an MBA from Villanova University. Jennifer enjoys writing about real estate, home improvement and small business.

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