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NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORY

Penn Knox, a part of Germantown, is a small residential community of tremendous architectural and human diversity. There are significant historic buildings, on both the National Register and on the Philadelphia register, ranging in age from the early 18th century through the 20th. Growth of this community has been organic, with newer Victorian and later residences built between the very oldest homes, giving a visual eclecticism to the streets.

The newest buildings are sixty years old, several still housing their original owners. There are other residents whose families have lived in the neighborhood even longer. The homes represent many architectural styles: two and three stories, single homes, twins and row houses, of stone and brick and stucco, set on lots with gardens or built to the edge of the walk. Original details remain on many of the buildings. Roofing with the original slate, tile and copper materials are common and much of the Victorian iron fencing remains, adding to the graciousness of the area.

Some buildings have been converted to apartment houses and to institutional use, but the majority have remained owner-occupied. The streets are wide and lined with trees as well as gardens. The area benefits from Philadelphia’s transportation system, lying between the two northwest train lines and several bus routes, allowing easy access to all parts of the city.

Wayne Avenue has denser housing, with three multi-unit apartment buildings and a high-rise public housing building. There is a post office, a gas station, a small factory and a variety of small businesses ranging from corner stores and a hair salon to a dentist’s and a veterinarian’s office, and banks that give a small town feel.

It is a family-oriented area, with many residents having raised their families here, and younger residents raising children. Many people are professionals, and range from lawyers and teachers to artists and business people.