America’s Oldest Residential Street

elfreth's alley

While thinking about our visit to one of the narrowest streets in Europe recently, it made me think of another interesting street we visited in the past.

During one of our many trips to Philadelphia, we took a stroll down another interesting street. I couldn’t remember what distinction it had, whether it was one of the narrowest in the US or oldest. I decided to pull up a few photos from the visit and then do a quick read into it.

The street I’m referring to is called Elfreth’s Alley and it’s considered “The nation’s oldest continuously inhabited street” according to

elfreth's alley

Elfreth’s Alley is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The plaque above says that the alley has been around since 1703. While visiting I learned that “the thirty-two buildings along Elfreth’s Alley were built from 1720s–1830s”. That’s some pretty old homes!

While the 1720’s might not seem so old when you think about sites we can visit around the world, for the United States this is pretty impressive.

elfreth's alley

The alley is just one short street with amazing brick homes. I wish my photos were better but you can still make out the beautiful brick homes, many with shutters on them.

elfreth's alley also mentioned how “in the 18th and early 19th centuries, numerous artisans and craftsmen” lived in the homes along the alley. Many of them actually lived and worked in their homes.

I’d like to head back to Elfreth’s Alley on a future trip to Philadelphia. I’m definitely curious to find out more about the area by visiting the museum, located in two homes.

If you’re interested, you can find out more about Elfreth’s Alley here.

2 thoughts on “America’s Oldest Residential Street

  1. Philadelphia actually has many other historical, residential alleys like the Elfreths Alley which may not be as old but may be prettier and interesting.

    A block worth exploring close to the center city tourist attractions would be the collection of alleys sandwiched between Locust & Spruce (North & South), and between 11th & 12th (East & West). S. Jessup St. & S. Sartain St. in particular are very cute.

    A landmark for getting to the block would be the “Cake and the Beanstalk” bakery.

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