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Elfreth's Alley Tips (19)

Elfreth's Alley

This a small section of the original colonial streets and preserved houses and is known as our nation's oldest residential street. The street dates back to 1702 and includes 32 colonial era buildings.

Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
Aug 25, 2016

Bladen's Court

This is a small alley way on the north side of Elfreth's Alley. It is easy to walk past as I did and only noticed it when walking back up Elfreth's toward 2nd Street. There is only three homes down this short quiet alley. At the end the alley turns left into a circular courtyard. I nice quiet surprise.

In 1946, two of the houses were saved from demolition when a resident, Mrs. Nyce, notice two men walking down the alley. She asked what they were doing and was told they've come to tear down the buildings. Mrs. Nyce asked what could be done to save the buildings. One of the men, being the owner, stated that $500 that day and $1500 the next day would purchase the buildings. Mrs. Nyce rallied members of the Elfreth's Alley Association and came up with the money.

blueskyjohn's Profile Photo
Dec 03, 2015

Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth's Alley is the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the United States dating back to 1736. The street is named after Jeremiah Elfreth, who was a blacksmith and property owner. The narrow street is lined with small houses in a Georgian and Federal-style with working shutters and brickwork. The houses date back to the mid 18th century to a time when businesses such as grocers, cabinet makers, shoemakers and tailors ran their business on the first floor and had their residence on the second and third floors.

Today there is 32 homes on the street still in use. Two museum are also located here celebrating the revolution era. The street is also a National Historic Landmark.

blueskyjohn's Profile Photo
Dec 03, 2015

Elfreth's Alley - America's Oldest Inhabited St.

Elfreth's Alley is commonly regarded to be the oldest continuously inhabited street in America. Most of Colonial Philadelphia looked like this: cobblestone lanes between the major thoroughfares, small two-story homes, and pent eaves over doors and windows, a local trademark.

Since 1702, Elfreth's Alley has been home to more than 3,000 people. Today thirty-two houses, built between 1728 and 1836, line the alley. They form one of the last intact early American streetscapes in the nation. Elfreth's Alley is a National Historic Landmark District, one of the first districts to celebrate the lives of everyday Americans.

Today, most of the buildings are private homes, although there is public access to two of them (#s 124 & 126) through the guided tour at the museum (Adults $5; family $12.00; children 6–12 years $2.00; children under 6 FREE). Or you can hear the house-by-house story of the Alley's early residents through a free cellphone tour, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It was interesting to walk down a street with nearly 300 year old buildings - I love this stuff! Even if all you do is walk down the alley and absorb the history, I would recommend making this stop on your trip to Philly.

TravellerMel's Profile Photo
Jun 24, 2011
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Visit Elfreth's Alley circa. 1789

This is the oldest continuously occupied residential street in the nation and a National Historic Landmark. This streetscape of 33 Colonial- and Federal-style homes was once occupied by artisans, including blacksmith Jeremiah Elfreth. There was a Windsor Chair home as well. Two homes are open to the public for guided tours showcasing the allwy's 300-year old history and 18th century life in Colonial America.

ringleader's Profile Photo
Apr 04, 2011

Elfreth’s Alley

Elfreth’s Alley is a national historic landmark because it dates back from 16th century, the oldest residential street in US. It’s a picturesque small alley with 33 private homes, some of them are really old and you can visit only those that are open to the public (on certain occasions like christmass period etc). There are only two houses (at number 124) that housing a small museum and are open all year round with small guided tours and a nice gift shop.

There’s no entrance fee to see/walk the alley but you have to pay $2 for the small museums that are open daily 10.00-16.00

Some people may find funny/interesting the actors with colonial costumes along the alley but the only thing I liked here was the colorful houses, the row of these colonial houses is really charming.

mindcrime's Profile Photo
Oct 18, 2010

Elfreths Alley

The oldest residential street in America; dating back to the 1700's. Charming row houses have a cell phone tour. Museum on row does a :20 walking tour. We saw historic figures walk through in costume. The Elfreth's Alley Association preserves the alley's historic structures while interpreting the street's 300-year history.

apbeaches's Profile Photo
Nov 29, 2008

Don't plan your day around it, but...

Elfreth's Alley, believed to be oldest continuously inhabited street in the United States dating back to the early 18th century, has been classified as a National Historic Landmark.

While coming here should in no way constitute an "outing" (the street is really quite short), the picturesque row of colonial houses is really quite charming, especially if you are around at a time when there are not too many tourists.

Basically, if Elfreth's Alley is on your way, take a few minutes to check it out. There are other similar houses around the city, but not as neatly packed as they are here.

brazwhazz's Profile Photo
Nov 23, 2007

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Elfreth's Alley

Tucked away amid much commerce is the oldest continuously inhabited residential area in America. Note, it is not the earliest Philadelphia settlement, that being Southwark (Front to 4th St. between South and Washington) which has been bulldozed and replaced with low cost residences. Elfreth's Alley is instead an elegant trip through one of the most lovely urban alleys you'll ever see. It is located between Market and Arch on 2nd St. though it is kinda tough to find. They will give people a tour and history of the alley. And yes, people are still living there.

dmarino622's Profile Photo
Jan 29, 2007

Bladen's Court

For those who especially wish to find colonial Philadelphia, just step away from the heavy pedestrian traffic of Elfreth's Alley into Bladen's Court, a tiny offshoot virtually untouched since its construction. As the name implies this is merely another residential section belonging to the same period as the Alley, but without its veneer, and therefore seemingly more genuine. The houses here are encased in brick, the windows are austere if not cheerless, and the railings look like they've weathered the centuries. All in all the place is well kept and easy to visit, requiring but minutes of your time.

mrclay2000's Profile Photo
May 27, 2006

Elfreth's Alley

Described as the "Nation's Oldest Residential Street" this alley contains 33 houses, most of which are still private homes.
Walking the alley gives you a feel of 18th century living. Visit # 124, The Chairmaker's House, for free or take a guided tour for $2 adults, $1 children.
Special Events take place in Summer months where many private homes are open as well, check their website.

TexasDave's Profile Photo
Apr 13, 2006

The Oldest Such in America

Elfreth's Alley is the oldest continuously residential street in the United States. Though a glance seems to indicate a greater number, there are actually only thirty-three Federal or Colonial houses here dating from the first half of the 18th century. Dates all along the alley record 1730s and 1750s era establishments or architecture. Since this is an actual residential area though an important tourist destination, signs warn visitors to keep somewhat quiet. . .otherwise homeowners might get uptight. Even a soft conversation in the midst of this "road" can be heard from four or five living room. More so than the other historical sites in town, a second's immersion here will remind one almost instantly of Washington's time (with good reason, since the two are contemporary).

mrclay2000's Profile Photo
Dec 28, 2005

Things To Do Near Elfreth's Alley

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Christ Church

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Olde City

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Penn's Landing

This is a must for any military history buff. A rare look and navel technology of the time between sail and modern fleets. Well maintained and not altered to suit tourist, as it should be. But no...
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Washington Square

One of the first of Philly's city parks, this park was established in 1682 by William Penn's surveyor. the square was used as an African American cemetery in the 18th century. Today it is home to...
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Benjamin Franklin Grave

Benjamin Franklin is one of the most important figures in American history. He was born in Boston in 1706. During his early years in Boston he as an apprentice to his brother James who started the...
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Getting to Elfreth's Alley


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  • Sunday 12:00 to 17:00
  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Wednesday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Thursday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Friday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Saturday 10:00 to 17:00