‘Nation’s Oldest Continuously Inhabited Residential Street’
Elfreth’s Alley is known as our nation’s oldest continuously inhabited residential street. The alley is located off Second and Front Streets, between Arch and Race Streets in the Old City Neighborhood of Philadelphia.
The Elfreth’s Alley Museum officially opens April 1 for the 2017 season! The Alley will be offering tours from 12-5 pm on the half hour. When the museum is closed for the season, they do offer private tours as well.
History of Elfreth’s Alley
Elfreth’s Alley was built in 1702 and was named for Jeremiah Elfreth, an 18th-century blacksmith and property owner. Many of the owners living on this alley were those who were tradesmen, in which they used their first floor homes for their business, while their families lived on the second floor.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Philadelphia industry began to change to where more people began working in factories. The city’s waterfront was around the corner to where shipping jobs also became popular. Thus changing the work place more than how the architecture of the residences changed.
Elfreth’s Alley Experience & Atmosphere
Elfreth’s Alley, having 32 houses that are now part of Historic Philadelphia, was home to more than 3,000 people. All of this making the alley very quaint and charming.
The natural beauty of this alley is the tiny cobblestone street with houses made of brick while showing off their 18th century architectural details such as perfectly fitted shutters, flower boxes, and other details.
Two homes that are adjacent to each other (124 & 126), make up what is now Elfreth’s Alley Museum and the only building opened to the public. The other houses remain private homes making this one of the oldest continuously inhabited residential streets in America.
Wikipedia states this;
“In 1934, the Elfreth’s Alley Association (EAA) was founded to preserve the alley’s historic structures. The EAA helped save the street from demolition, and also lobbied the city to restore the alley’s name to “Elfreth’s Alley”.”
Elfreth’s Alley was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966 and is a National Historic Landmark in Pennsylvania. If ever visiting Philadelphia, Elfreth’s Alley is a great example of the 18th-century working-class families and their residential neighborhoods.
Elfreth’s Alley Extras
- Residents open their homes to the public only twice a year, during December’s “Deck the Alley”, and June’s Fete Day.
- Events are held during Fourth of July, Oktoberfest, and Halloween.
126 Elfreth’s Alley
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone for Museum
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- The Independence Visitor’s Center – For Philadelphia History & Philadelphia Attractions
- Betsy Ross House
- Carpenters’ Hall
- Elfreth’s Alley
- Independence Hall – A part of Philadelphia History
- Independence National Historical Park
- The Liberty Bell – The Symbol of American Independence – Philadelphia, PA
- The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia
- Philadelphia City Hall
main picture courtesy of Cheri Sundra
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