Philadelphia is not only the city of brotherly-love but it is also rich in history from early American life. When referencing historical landmarks in Philly, for many, Independence Hall or the Liberty Bell quickly come to mind. However, many people may not know Philadelphia is home to one of America’s oldest residential streets.
Located in the Old City section of the city, the highly-coveted Elfreth’s Alley consists of 32 private residential homes where, yes, families and couples actually live there. In 2019 for the first time in almost four decades, one of the homes were listed on the market for a whopping $1.2 million.
A designated National Historic Landmark, the tiny cobblestone street remains a popular tourist attraction. The quaint city block is picturesque and preserved making it a perfect location to snap a selfie or take a historical stroll.
Elfreth’s Alley was created as a solution to overcrowding in the early 18th century. Located by the Delaware River between 2nd and Front Streets, this street was the ideal place to house the surplus of artisans and merchants in the bustling city. The goods coming into the city through the port increased in volume and tradesmen realized they needed an alternative path.
Arthur Wells and John Gilbert opened a cart path between their properties, which stretched from Front St. to Second St.
In 1703 the path became know as Elfreth’s Alley, named after blacksmith and land developer, Jeremiah Elfreth.
How To Visit
Located in 124–126 of Elfreth’s Alley, stands Elfreth’s Alley Museum. Their mission is to preserve and protect the Elfreth’s Alley historic district, while interpreting the contributions of everyday Philadelphians. Indeed the museum has just done that preserving an old dressmaker’s home from the 18th century. The interior has been reimagined to resemble the time period. For a nominal fee, visitors can tour the halls of the home with guided audio to learn more about Philly in the colonial era.
How’s that for a glimpse into history!