South Philadelphia is proudly called South Philly by its residents. South Philly is a true melting pot, as diverse in culture from street to street as it is in the food you can find in the local restaurants. It had a rough start, and wasn’t always the pleasant fun place it is today.
The Lenni Lenape used this land for hunting, and the Swedish explorers first settled here. The Old Swedes church still stands along the Delaware as it was when it was built in 1677. It is a treasured landmark and the second oldest in the U.S.
The river banks quickly brought a shipping industry and William Penn’s land grants took over the area. Penn’s Port never had a dull moment. The need for dock workers combined with a famine in Ireland filled the land with Irish immigrants. The Irish quickly built a tight-knit community, complete with many Irish Catholic churches. The churches were also private schools, and the only schooling available because the first public school here wasn’t opened here until 1934.
Soon more immigrants came, the Polish, German, Russian, Italian, Jewish, Greek and African Americans joined the workforce here. They each took a piece of the South Philadelphia area as their own. They instilled their culture, opened their own churches when possible, and started taverns and “Members only” clubhouses.
Many of the European influx was Catholic so the churches were sacred to all. That kept the community together as a whole, but fighting did occur when one group was in need of resources, especially when the economy wasn’t good. Many freed African Americans flocked to the area after the Civil War, but Philadelphia Proper (Center City) was not as hospitable as South Philadelphia for them, and the jobs were here. The infamous, large influx of Italians didn’t happen until the 1880’s when employment brokers were hired to fill specialty craftsman jobs needed in the subway system. The Italians quickly took over the Irish marketplace we now call 9th Street, “The Italian Market”.
Competition for the neighborhoods increased fighting, to the point of riots. Eventually, the lines of the neighborhoods were settled, and the clubhouses found other ways to compete. They played sports, played musical instruments and held competitive events. One of them is still celebrated today as the Mummers Parade.
The Philadelphia Mummers clubs originated as a healthy way for the sections to battle things out, in song, dance, and in merriment. Every year they would parade in a costume of their homelands and tell beloved stories. The tradition grew and the parade is as elaborate as a three minute Broadway show. It is still taken very seriously. Some people pay thousands to be members and compete today. Two street, below Queens Village in Penn’s Port, is the home base of the tradition. A few original clubs still attend.
You can stop by South Philly any time of the year and hear Frank Sinatra crooning, and depending on which corner you are on, enjoy an Italian meal, an Irish beer, or a polish sandwich. It’s here where you find the specialty meats and cooking supplies of almost every nationality. While you walk around, you may pass a golden Buddha or a Catholic church that is hundreds of years old.
South Philly is also known worldwide for being home to Rocky, and all the places in the movie are real. The Philadelphia accent is practiced around the globe. Packer Park and Passyunk Ave have a reputation for being the most fun for sports fans. South Philly is also home to world-class stadiums that held famous events like Live Aid and Amnesty International, as well as the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies and 76er’s.
South Philadelphia has everything you are looking for, except parking. Everyone knows your name if you live here, and all are welcome. Hutchinson’s HVAC takes care of the neighborhoods heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services.
Hutchinson’s friendly HVAC services are often called for, along Passyunk Ave, near Packer Park and in Queens Village. When your plumbing goes, call us any time, day or night and our local contractors will be right there to help. We will repair the plumbing and get your heating and air conditioning running efficiently again. Your comfort is essential, and our expert contractors will make sure you stay comfortable.