History of Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia, PA
Historic Philadelphia: Elfreth’s Alley
Many people know about Philadelphia’s historic landmarks like the Betsy Ross House, the Liberty Bell and Independence Mall, but many visitors do not know about a small street that is one of the city’s oldest historic sites: Elfreth’s Alley. The street was named for blacksmith and property owner Jeremiah Elfreth. The alley was home to eighteenth-century artisans and tradespeople who were the backbone of Colonial Philadelphia. More than 300 years later, there are still 32 homes that line the street, occupied by residents of the city of Philadelphia. The small cobblestone alley is a designated National Historic Landmark. Learn more about one of Philadelphia’s oldest historic landmarks.
10 Interesting Facts about Elfreth’s Alley & Mantua Maker’s Museum House
- Two adjacent houses, built in 1755, function as a museum and gift shop.
- Visitors can freely explore the alleyway on their own (please be mindful of the residents) or join a 45-minute guided tour.
- Elfreth’s Alley was built in 1702 and is thought to be the oldest residential street in the country.
- The street has continued residency for over 300 years.
- It was not part of Philadelphia’s original city plan.
- Dolley Ottey led the charge to preserve the alley and combat deterioration.
- The Elfreth’s Alley Association was formed in 1934, which officially changed the name and saved it from demolition or development.
- Bladen’s Court, a part of the alley, features an authentic water pump that once served the entire neighborhood!
- Every summer, the alley hosts Fete Day, which celebrates the history of the alley by opening every home to visitors, dressing in colonial attire.
- Today, Elfreth’s’ Alley is an “exceptional example of early American structures built between 1720 and 1830”
The alley is located between Arch and Race Streets in South Philadelphia. Visit the official website to learn more information about tours, dates, times and admission fee.
November 17, 2022
October 20, 2022
July 21, 2022