South Philadelphia

South Philadelphia

South Philadelphia, nicknamed "South Philly," is the section of Philadelphia bounded by South Street to the north, the Delaware River to the east and south, and the Schuylkill River to the west. In 2000, the area's population was 162,683. It is home to a diverse population of Italian Americans, Irish Americans, and African Americans, as well as many newer immigrants. Many residents have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Many family-owned businesses are found in South Philadelphia.


South Philadelphia began as a satellite town of Philadelphia, with small townships such as Moyamensing and Southwark. During the Industrial Revolution, the area saw rapid growth, in part due to mass immigration from Ireland, and eventually saw its urbanization border that of Philadelphia. This led to its incorporation into Philadelphia in 1854. The area continued to grow, becoming a vital part of Philadelphia's large industrial base and attracting immigrants from Italy, Ireland, Poland, and many other countries, as well as Black American migrants from the southern United States, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These immigrants became the basis of South Philadelphia's unique and vibrant culture that would develop over the next several decades. Even with this dramatic growth in population, the low funding of education by the city resulted in the first high school not being formed in South Philadelphia until 1934. [ cite book
coauthors= Allen, Davis and Haller, Mark (Eds.)
title= The Peoples of Philadelphia: A History of Ethnic Groups and Lower-Class Life, 1790--1940
date= 1973
publisher= Temple University Press
id=ISBN 0-87722-053-0

An increase in immigration has given South Philadelphia significant populations from Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Russia, and Mexico, as well as smaller populations from dozens of nations across the world. Many of South Philadelphia's communities are largely Italian American, and many neighborhoods in South Philadelphia are known as "Little Italys." The recent revitalization of Center City Philadelphia has led to gentrification in Fitler Square, Graduate Hospital/Southwest Center City, which led to skyrocketing prices of housing in Queen Village, and Bella Vista, and some other parts of South Philadelphia. Also, previously, for various reasons, many second and third generation South Philadelphians began moving en masse to South Jersey when the Walt Whitman Bridge was opened in the mid 20th century. These events have resulted in perhaps the largest change in South Philadelphia's culture in nearly a hundred years. Many of the clubs that make up the annual Mummers Parade every New Year's Day are from South Philadelphia. Many are located on the largely Irish American 2nd street (Two Street).cite video | people = Max L. Raab | title = Strut! The Movie | medium = DVD | publisher = Max L. Raab Productions | location = Philadelphia | URL = | date = 2001] cite journal | last = Welch, Jr.| first = Charles E. | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers": The Philadelphia Mummers Parade| journal = The Journal of American Folklore | volume = 79| issue = 314 | pages = 523–536 | publisher = | location = | date = Oct. - Dec., 1966 | url = | doi =10.2307/538218 | id = | accessdate = ] cite book | last = Dubin | first = Murray | authorlink = | title = South Philadelphia; Mummers, memories, and the Melrose Diner | publisher = Temple University Press | date = June 1996 | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 1-56639-429-5 ]


South Philadelphia is represented in Philadelphia City Council by Council President Anna C. Verna and Councilman Frank DiCicco. At-Large Councilman Jim Kenney is a South Philadelphia resident.

South Philadelphia is traditionally working-class and highly unionized. This has resulted in a heavily Democratic populace.


South Philadelphia is located at coord|39.9231|N|75.1753|W|region:US_type:city.

According to the United States Census Bureau, South Philadelphia has an area of 9.7 sq. miles, of which none is water.


As of the 2000 Census, there are 162,683 people in 78,440 housing units. The population density is 16,771 people per square mile. 46.6% of the population is male, and 53.4% is female.


I-95 runs north and south through South Philadelphia and, in this area, provides commuters with access to Philadelphia International Airport, I-76, the sports complex, and the Walt Whitman Bridge. The Girard Point Bridge section of I-95 crosses over the mouth of the Schuylkill River, where it merges with the Delaware River.

I-76 becomes the Schuylkill Expressway at Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia and allows access between this section of the city and University City, Center City Philadelphia, 30th Street Station, and the western suburbs.

In addition, PA Route 291 serves as a major artery between the area and Delaware County, crossing the Schuylkill River via the Platt Bridge (named for Medal of Honor recipient George C. Platt). Broad Street (Philadelphia's equivalent of 14th St.) is also known as PA Route 611.

A number of SEPTA bus routes serve South Philadelphia, ferrying commuters to and from Center City Philadelphia and its immediate suburbs, mostly those in Delaware County. In addition, the transit system's Broad Street Line gives subway riders quick access to downtown and North Philadelphia destinations.


Primary and secondary schools

South Philly being a hugely Catholic, there are many parish schools and churches, living in a specific area deemed you to attend that specific Catholic school, now children are able to attend any Catholic school of the family's choosing. Most families that have been here for generations are proud to have children, grandchildren attend there "alma mater". Saint Maria Goretti and Saint John Neuman High Schools were the two Catholic girls and boys schools, merging in 2004 on St Maria Goretti's campus on 10th & Moore Street, due to low census of enrollment. Saint John Neuman was renovated into senior citizens living quarters/apartments.

Public schools

Residents are zoned to the School District of Philadelphia. South Philadelphia High School serves the area.

Public libraries

Free Library of Philadelphia operates six branches in South Philadelphia: Charles Santore, Fumo Family, Queen Memorial, South Philadelphia, Thomas F. Donatucci, Sr. and Whitman. []

Places of Note

Perhaps the most famous landmark in South Philadelphia is the sports complex at the corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue. Here, the Philadelphia Eagles (professional football), Philadelphia Phillies (professional baseball), Philadelphia 76ers (professional basketball), Philadelphia Flyers (professional hockey), Philadelphia Phantoms (minor league hockey), Philadelphia Kixx (indoor soccer), Philadelphia Wings (lacrosse), and Philadelphia Soul (arena football), and the annual Wing Bowl (an event sponsored by the sports talk radio station, 610-WIP) make their home in the massive state-of-the-art sports arenas surrounding the well-known intersection: Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, the Wachovia Spectrum, and the Wachovia Center.

The sports complex was once home to Veterans Stadium (The Vet) which stood from 1971 to 2004, and JFK Stadium which stood from 1925 to 1992. The NovaCare Complex, located on Pattison Avenue just west of the stadium area, serves as the practice facility of the Philadelphia Eagles. They now play at Lincoln Financial Field.

The intersection of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue is home to the regionally famous Geno's Steaks and Pat's King of Steaks cheesesteak shops, fierce competitors in the local delicacy market for decades. Also, nearby is the city's open-air Italian Market, specializing in fresh produce, meats, and other foods, which is known from several famous scenes from the film Rocky and its sequels.

South Street, serving as a border between South Philadelphia proper and Center City Philadelphia, runs east and west (although traffic is forced to travel east one-way). Many bars, nightspots, shops, tattoo parlors, and restaurants are located along this neon-lit hotspot, with occasional live music venues (including the the TLA) hidden along the way.

The American Swedish Historical Museum is located in Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park.

The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, location of the alleged Philadelphia Experiment, is located in this section of town along the Delaware River.

The Sunoco oil corporation bases its headquarters along South Philadelphia's Passyunk Avenue, located a short drive from the wide collection of car dealerships known as the "Philadelphia Auto Mall".

A refurbished area of South Philadelphia alongside Columbus Boulevard/Delaware Avenue (near the Walt Whitman Bridge) provides shopping at brand new Best Buy, and Ikea stores for thousands of shoppers. There are also many new chain restaurants and fast food establishments along this stretch including Longhorn Steakhouse, Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que Pit, and Chick-Fil-A just to name a few. This new shopping area goes by the name Columbus Commons.

Washington Avenue, between 16th St. on the West and Front St. on the east, is home to many Asian businesses, including Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean. Among these are restaurants of all types, two large Asian supermarkets, jewelers and a wide variety of specialty shops. Shoppers of all ethnic backgrounds can be seen patronizing these stores.

Passyunk Avenue, running on a diagonal from Broad Street to South Street, is a formerly thriving consumer district currently undergoing revitalization efforts. Within the past few years, several coffeeshops, restaurants and bars have opened appealing to the young population begin in inhabit the area around 11th and Passyunk.

New Alhambra Arena at the corner of Swanson Street and Ritner Street is a venue known for hosting boxing and professional wrestling events.

Famous residents

* Al Alberts, singer and composer
* Marian Anderson, singer
* Frankie Avalon, actor, singer
* Joey Bishop, entertainer, member of the "Rat Pack"
* Chubby Checker, singer
* Fred Diodati, singer and composer
* Fabian, singer
* Larry Fine, actor (of Three Stooges fame)
* Isadore Granoff, founder of the Granoff School of Music
* Sherman Hemsley, actor
* Jack Klugman, actor
* Mario Lanza, singer, actor
* Al Martino, singer, actor
* Pat Martino, jazz guitarist, composer
* Harry Olivieri, co-inventor of the cheesesteak
* Pat Olivieri, co-inventor of the cheesesteak
* Frank Palumbo, restaurateur, humanitarian and power broker; owner of Palumbo's
* Man Ray artist
* Frank Rizzo, mayor of Philadelphia (1972-1980)
* Bobby Rydell, singer
* Beanie Siegel, singer
* Ed Wynn, actor

See also

* South Philadelphia Sports Complex



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