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Philadelphia neighborhoods appear to be stable, yet they are continually changing.This is evident in Society Hill, the lauded upscale community of colonial-era homes adjacent to Independence National Historical Park.Germantown, eight miles outside the original boundaries of Philadelphia, retains evidence of its past in its many historic buildings, including a house George Washington used during his presidency.Spring Garden, now a middle-class neighborhood, in the twentieth century gained an additional designation as the “Art Museum Area” for its location near the famed Philadelphia Museum of Art.But it expanded residentially in the late 1800s, spurred partly by the extension of trolley and commuter train lines from the city core.

Each of those centuries-old European cities contained a rich fabric of fabled neighborhoods.Currently Powelton Village, with streets lined with Victorian-era homes and a listing on the National Register of Historic Places, enjoys a quiet residential character. The rugged wilderness-like Wissahickon Valley in Fairmount Park, listed as a National Natural Landmark, once contained residential clusters of housing for workers in the scores of water-powered mills along the Wissahickon Creek.During the late nineteenth century, the housing and mills were razed as the Fairmount Park Commission bought land to preserve the purity of the creek for Philadelphia’s water supply.Urban renewal transformed Society Hill from a hardscrabble residential area filled with commercial buildings into an elite enclave. Powelton Village, a West Philadelphia neighborhood north of Drexel University and adjacent to Thirtieth Street Station, began its residential life in the late 1800s as a location desired by some of the city’s industrial tycoons.However, that renewal also triggered removal of Philadelphia’s oldest African American community dating from colonial times – the area examined in Dr. After some descent on the economic ladder, Powelton Village again gained distinction as the locus for Philadelphia’s counter-culture and anti-Vietnam War scenes in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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