Elfreth's Alley, Philadelphia

Elfreth's Alley, Philadelphia (must see)

In the 18th century, Philadelphia became a bustling city, overcrowded with artisans, tradesmen, shipwrights, metalsmiths, glassblowers, and furniture makers. As a result, the landowners Arthur Wells and John Gilbert started a cart path from Front Street to Second Street in 1703. The path became Elfreth's Alley, named after Jeremiah Elfreth, an 18th-century blacksmith and a man of property in young Philadelphia.

By the 1770s Georgian and Federal-style houses lined the cobblestone Alley. Many of the structures were uniquely Philadelphian Trinity houses. These were three-story houses, exceptionally narrow, with one room on each floor. The floors were referred to as "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." And that is how Trinity houses got their name.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the industry started to close in on the Alley. A stove factory took its place in a row of residential houses. Immigrants, hoping for jobs, came in waves. In 1934 the Elfreth's Alley Association (EAA) was founded by Alley resident Dolly Ottey. Ottey fought to combat the deterioration of the Alley by encroaching industry in the early 20th century.

Elfreth's Alley Museum is located in houses 124 and 126. The museum preserves the home of 18th-century dressmakers. Tour guides discuss other homes and inhabitants of the Alley. On "Fete Day" in early June, which celebrates Alley's diverse ethnic heritage, the residents open their homes. There are historical reenactments with drum and fife bands. The Alley also host events for the 4th of July, Oktoberfestivities, and Halloween.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Philadelphia. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Elfreth's Alley on Map

Sight Name: Elfreth's Alley
Sight Location: Philadelphia, USA (See walking tours in Philadelphia)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Create Your Own Walk in Philadelphia

Create Your Own Walk in Philadelphia

Creating your own self-guided walk in Philadelphia is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Rocky Movie Sites Walking Tour

Rocky Movie Sites Walking Tour

There's hardly any other character, fictional or real, as iconically Philadelphian as Rocky. Indeed, this American sports drama franchise, centered on the boxing career of Rocky Balboa, released in 1976, has become synonymous with and arguably done more for the city of Philadelphia than anyone else since Ben Franklin.

The cultural phenomenon was created by Sylvester Stallone, who wrote,...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.3 Km or 3.9 Miles
Benjamin Franklin's Philadelphia

Benjamin Franklin's Philadelphia

Benjamin Franklin was arguably the most fascinating personality in Revolutionary America. He left his Puritan family in Boston as a teenager and came to Philadelphia for a new life. What a fascinating life it turned out to be. He was a writer, printer, philosopher, postmaster, scientist, inventor, statesman, and diplomat. His life was the absolute purist version of the American Dream. He...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Franklin Parkway Walking Tour

Franklin Parkway Walking Tour

Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is a scenic boulevard that runs through the cultural heart of Philadelphia. Named for Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, the mile-long tree-lined Parkway features many beautiful sculptures and fountains, and several world class museums. Follow this self guided walk to appreciate its beauty and explore the fine cultural institutions along the way.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Fairmount Park Historical Houses Walking Tour

Fairmount Park Historical Houses Walking Tour

Fairmount Park, Philadelphia's oldest park, established since 1867, is also the city's largest municipal park, sprawling over 2,000 acres adjacent to the banks of the Schuylkill River. The park grew out of the Lemon Hill estate of Henry Pratt, whose land was originally owned by Robert Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

In 1972, the park was placed on the National...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles
University of Pennsylvania Walking Tour

University of Pennsylvania Walking Tour

As America's first university, The University of Pennsylvania (aka Penn or Upenn, for short) has a history stretching back to 1740, closely bound with the city's colonial past and the birth of the United States. Initially, this Ivy League institution emerged as the College of Philadelphia, being one of the nine colonial colleges chartered prior to the U.S. Declaration of Independence,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Philadelphia Old City Walking Tour

Philadelphia Old City Walking Tour

King Charles II of England owed a lot of money to Admiral Sir William Penn. He paid in 1681 by signing over lands in America to the Admiral's son, William Penn. Young William, a Quaker and a thorn in the side of the King, became landlord of present-day Pennsylvania and Delaware. William sailed up Delaware, laid out a grid, and founded Philadelphia.

The streets of the grid run east and west...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Philadelphia Souvenirs: 13 Unique Gift Ideas from the City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia Souvenirs: 13 Unique Gift Ideas from the City of Brotherly Love

Looking for a great gift while visiting Philadelphia? Famous for its history, arts and culture, championship sports teams, and award-winning food and drink, Philadelphia is a top-rated shopping destination. Here, you'll find an amazing selection of items to choose from - something uniquely...