1800 – 1900
In 1854 the entire West Philadelphia area was a cluster of settlements which included Monroe Village and Haddington. Textile and masonry mills made their appearance as early as 1816 and the farms and homes of a handful of gentry also dotted the region. Mansions dating to the early 1800s were scattered in the portion west of today’s 63rd Street. By the 1890s the first row houses were introduced to the neighborhood. Residential housing proliferated around the mills to accommodate workers. This section of the city was eventually divided into approximately six wards.
During this time the population primarily consisted of Italians, Jews, Irish and eventually Armenians and some Ukrainians.
1900 – 1950
In 1903 the elevated trains and trolleys were established in West Philadelphia allowing most the residents to work downtown. By 1911, the African American population in this section of West Philadelphia was established enough to build St. Mathews African Methodist Episcopal Church. By the 1920s Haddington had the second highest concentration of African Americans in West Philadelphia. The population was mostly working class.
From 1920 -1950 the population grew exponentially in tandem with the expansion of El stops from 52nd to 63rd street, resulting in an increase in housing stock. Also, during this period, industry began to settle along Lancaster Avenue near 52nd Street. Business centers grew along the Market Street corridor with 52nd Street as an active hub.
1950 – 2000
From the 1940s onward there was a great influx of African Americans into the area. They moved into the existing housing stock that ranged from Victorian structures to worker row houses. The rise corresponded with a wave of “white flight” and by the 1960s the neighborhood was 80% African American.
The commercial districts continued to thrive from 52nd Street to 60th Street, but African Americans struggled to establish ownership given the oppressive practices of redlining and housing discrimination. Social unrest manifested itself in the community, as did a rise in gang activity and substance abuse.
2000 – Present
An aging population has resulted in the reuse of properties to accommodate this constituency. An excellent example of this is the Haddington Multi-Service Center for Older Adults, which used to be a fire station. The commercial corridors in the neighborhood seem to have stabilized after several decades of decline.
Interactive Map and Boundaries of Haddington
The Haddington neighborhood, is bounded by 52nd on the east, 67th Street to the west and Chestnut Street and Girard to the south and north, respectively.