Living in the Industrial Neighborhood: Philadelphia’s Harrowgate Section (Walking Encyclopedia Tour)

Visit Philadelphia’s industrial past and explore the changing landscape and communities of an industrial neighborhood on this walking tour presented by The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Meet at the Philadelphia History Museum to join the Encyclopedia’s tour project manager, Jacob Downs (M.A., Rutgers-Camden), for a short trip on the Market-Frankford El to the Tioga Street Station and the Harrowgate neighborhood, once a center for dye works, carpet mills, and other textile mills, and one of the most densely populated working-class areas of Philadelphia.

Drawing upon the work of The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia’s authors and editors, the tour offers an opportunity to engage with important questions about the dramatic changes that Harrowgate and similar neighborhoods have experienced in the past two centuries. Why did the characteristics of the neighborhood’s population shift so dramatically in the twentieth century? What defines community, and what happens when community institutions are lost? Does a neighborhood need churches, banks, schools, and playgrounds to develop community? Why are some sections of the city experiencing problems with crime, poverty, and poor education, while others are being revitalized?

On a walk of about one mile, the tour will highlight the neighborhood’s industrial past with visits to the former Richardson’s Mints factory and Luithlien Dye House. Along the way, we also will explore the meaning of community by examining the two major parishes in the area, St. Joan of Arc and Ascension of our Lord, and the ways they were affected by the neighborhood’s changing changing demographics in the mid-twentieth century. The tour will move north toward the Sheridan Middle School and end with a walk through the Kensington and Allegheny (K & A) section, where signs of community from the past mingle with the present.

There is no charge for this tour, but space is limited. Please register in advance at

This Walking Encyclopedia Tour is presented by the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, a civic project to increase understanding of the city and region, and administered by the Philadelphia History Museum. This project is made possible by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

Connecting the Past with the Present, Building Community, Creating a Legacy