This small alley near the edge of the city is the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited street dating back to 1702. Named after Jeremiah Elfreth, an 18th-century blacksmith and property owner, this colonial Philadelphia street was home to eighteenth-century artisans and tradespeople, including shipwrights, silversmiths, glassblowers, and furniture builders. Lined with old-fashioned flower boxes and shutters, the houses have been meticulously preserved to reflect the early days of Philadelphia.
Although the street is short, there is a museum open Friday through Sunday where you can learn more about the history of the street. The museum is housed at #124 and 126. It also offers tours that tell the story of a pair of dressmakers who ran a sewing business in this home in Elfreth's Alley.
Philadelphia locals are extremely dedicated to this incredible part of the city, consistently contributing to efforts for urban renewal and preservation. During Christmas, the city’s dedicated history buffs flock to the street to help “Deck the Alley.” All of the proceeds go towards supporting the upkeep and restoration of older homes on the street.
Be sure to pick up ice cream at the nearby Franklin Fountain, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, before strolling down the city’s historic street. The restored soda counter offers 25 different flavors of soda, ice cream sodas, and milkshakes.
Cover image credit: Elfreth's Alley