NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORY

1800 – 1900
The Logan Square neighborhood has its roots in William Penn’s original vision for the city of Philadelphia to be a “Greene Country Towne.” Penn’s plan called for wide streets and five major squares in Philadelphia, including Logan Square. Logan Square was named in 1825 by the City Council after James Logan who was Mayor of Philadelphia from 1722-1723.

Industry helped Philadelphia and Logan Square boom in the 19th century. Industry brought jobs and as immigrants settled, churches and homes were built. By the 1870s and 80s the Iron Age had transformed Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Railroad and Broad Street Station both shaped the layout and influenced the architecture and development of the area. The construction of the railroad viaduct commonly called the “Chinese Wall” created a physical and social barrier between Logan Square and other parts of the city. This wall ran to the south of what is now Arch Street and went from City Hall to the Delaware River. Gradually the wall and the disjuncture the structure created caused the neighborhood to deteriorate. In the 1890s, city leaders envisioned a Parisian style Parkway that could extend the green of Fairmount Park into Center City.

1900 – 1950
In 1907 demolition began for a route between the Museum of Art and City Hall. This created a diagonal line of what is now the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and also established a second man-made barrier that shaped the settling of the neighborhood. Commercial, educational and cultural institutions were planned to line this green boulevard. The Swann Memorial Foundation, designed by Wilson Eyre and Alexander Sterling Calder, was dedicated in 1924 and placed in the middle of a traffic circle on the Parkway known as Logan Circle.

In the 1940s and 1950s, there was a dramatic postwar shift of residents from the city to the suburbs nationwide. To combat this trend, housing complexes were built along the parkway to draw residents to the neighborhood. More professionals desired to live in Logan Square as the neighborhood gained amenities. Around this time the Chinese Wall was torn down and the neighborhood began to renew.

1950 – 2000
In the 1960s and 1970s, the neighborhood continued to become more residential. With the founding of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) in the 1960s, residents began to effectively advocate for protection. In 1973, Coxe Park was built on four parcels of land on the 2100 blocks of Cherry and Appletree Streets. The immediate neighborhood surrounding the park and playground flourished and families began to settle more into the 1980s and 1990s.

Resources

Logan Square Neighborhood Association

Interactive Map and Boundaries of Logan Square