Gay Philadelphia: Elfreth’s Alley

Published Date Author: , May 2nd, 2016

Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth's AlleyLate last year, we visited gay Philadelphia. It was our first time in this amazing, diverse city, and we’re just finally getting around to sharing it with y’all.

One of our favorite things in the city was Elfreth’s Alley. It’s a tiny, one-block section of the city, tucked away om the east side close to the Delaware River. The whole city sits between the Delaware and the Schuylkill Rivers, one to the East and the other to the West.

Elfreth’s Alley is fascinating. It’s called the “nation’s oldest residential street.” The street was created in 1702, and the houses there date from 1728 to 1806. The houses on the south side of the street were built under British occupation, and are shorter than the others and fly British flags. The ones on the north side were built after the Revolution, and are taller, with American flags.

Elfreth's Alley panorama

If you look closely, you can see little metal emblems on many of the houses. At the time, you had to pay for fire protection, and the company you chose would put their emblem on your house. Just so they didn’t accidentally save a house that hadn’t been paid for.

Elfreth's Alley panorama

We took our tour of historic Philadelphia with an outfit called Urban Tours. The guide there was friendly and very knowledgeable, and actually lived in the neighborhood.

Elfreth’s Alley is a really cool place to see and take pictures the next time you’re in Philly.

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