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NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORY

1960 – Present
The neighborhood was constructed in 1960 by the Denny Development Corporation, a private entity, which acquired 153 acres of blighted blocks and abandoned buildings assembled by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia.

The Denny Development Corporation produced homes that were marketed and eventually sold to middle income blue collar and professional African American homebuyers. The blueprints for the creation of a totally new community featured multiple clusters of homes with garages on small blocks, off-street and visitor parking, lush lawns and back yards, tree-lined streets, neighborhood-oriented parks and public spaces.

The original plan called for modern and attractive 3- and 4-bedroom homes purchased by African-American home buyers. Some were young first-time homebuyers, and others were previous home owners with school aged children. These urban pioneers moved in with a spirit of neighborliness and many became investors in the development of the Progress Plaza Shopping Center. Through these early visionaries Yorktown became a community.

Yorktown served as a model in urban redevelopment and set a precedent for home ownership by African American families in Philadelphia. It was the only community where the first owners were African American, helping to demonstrate the economic power and home-buying potential of African Americans and other minorities in other areas of the city.

Yorktown has approximately 635 private homes and an “age in place” apartment with 93 units. The Yorktown development features four distinct housing types. The smaller types are two stories with three or four bedrooms, car pads and private porches. The three-story types have three and four bedrooms, ground level garages and the inclusion of common stairs and front porches leading to the entry doors. Each row of housing features a mix of two-story types or a mix of three-story types.

Yorktown has a distinct land use characteristic of shared spaces and streetscape features including cul-de-sacs, courtyards, and “green” strips within the neighborhood.

The community is in its 50th year and has maintained its character and viability through the pride and vigilance of its residents. Many are second or third generation Yorktown homeowners.

Resources

Yorktown CDC
Yorktown Community Organization

Yorktown is a neighborhood in North Philadelphia that is bounded roughly by Cecil B. Moore Avenue and Girard Avenue between 10th and 13th Streets.