NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORY

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Strawberry Mansion's rich culture and history can be attributed to its diverse heritage and the talented and dedicated residents who have called the neighborhood home. The name of the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood comes from the large Georgian mansion in nearby East Fairmount Park. The area is home to other prominent historic landmarks including the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, John Coltrane House, and the Henry O. Tanner House, among many others.

In the late 1880's, the Strawberry Mansion area developed as a working-class, residential neighborhood. It became well known for its proximity to Fairmount Park as well as the Woodside Amusement Park, the Philadelphia Zoo, Smith Playground, and Shibe Park. Philadelphia residents accessed these nearby attractions on the trolley, which connected Strawberry Mansion with West Fairmount Park via the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, built in 1879. Before 1950, Strawberry Mansion was predominantly Jewish.

Within a generation, discriminatory government policies and housing practices transformed Strawberry Mansion into a predominantly African-American community. Wealthier Jewish residents left the neighborhood for the suburbs in the wave of white flight during the 1950's and 1960's.  Their vacated rowhomes were sold to working-class African Americans who had migrated in large numbers from the rural South to seek refuge from racial violence and to find work in the city’s factories.


In the early-to-mid 20th century, several notable figures lived and worked in Strawberry Mansion, including Larry Fine of the Three Stooges, painter and artist Henry O. Tanner, saxophonist John Coltrane, and educator and diplomat Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett.


Strawberry Mansion’s diverse and storied history has led it to become the community it is today and will continue contributing to its unique identity and culture well into the future. 

 

215-235-7505

2829 West Diamond Street
Philadelphia, PA 19121

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