Your Destination Guide to Philadelphia

Destination Guide Philadelphia - Your Destination Guide to Philadelphia, PA

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Society Hill

Society Hill
Society Hill

© Aaron

Often likened to Boston's Beacon Hill because of its Federal-style rowhouses and historic buildings, Philadelphia's Society Hill possesses an authentic colonial charm. This old-fashioned district is generally defined as the area between Walnut, Lombard, Front, and 8th Streets, and is located near the Delaware River and Philadelphia's civic buildings. Its cobblestone streets are surrounded by the largest assembly of 18th and early 19th-century buildings in the country. Named after the long defunct Free Society of Traders, Society Hill's numerous churches, taverns and market halls co-exist alongside the exquisite Federal and Georgian-style brick rowhouses.

During the 19th century, the neighborhood lost much of its appeal when Philadelphia expanded westward and many people moved away. The area continued to deteriorate until the 1950s, when historic buildings were restored, and parks and walkways were built to replace broken-down structures. Adding replicas of 18th-century brick sidewalks and streetlights intensified the neighborhood's nostalgic spirit and colonial character.

Many intriguing historic churches are also found within Society Hill. Society Hill Synagogue was erected as a Baptist Church in 1829 by Thomas U. Walter, one of the architects of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The notable St. Peter's Church was built by Robert Smith between the years 1758 and 1761 and consists of an unmistakable six-story high tower and a majestic wooden steeple, added in 1759.

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