Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Consolidation Act of 1854


A map of the city of Philadelphia, with colored sections separating sections of the city.

Map of the City of Philadelphia as consolidated in 1854. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Until 1854, Philadelphia’s population concentrated within William Penn’s original city boundaries, between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers and from what is now South Street to Vine. By 1820, however, inhabitants in the independent boroughs, districts, and townships that made up the rest of the county already outnumbered those in the city proper. Some of these suburbs were places of significance in their own right, with Spring Garden, the Northern Liberties, and Kensington, all north of the city center, ranking as the ninth, eleventh, and twelfth biggest urban settlements in the nation in the 1850 census.

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