Society Hill, a beautiful cobblestone and tree-lined neighborhood, includes the country’s largest collection of 18th and early 19th century historic row houses in the Colonial, Federal and Georgian styles, in addition to, modern townhomes and high-rise condominiums. The area was named after the 18th century Free Society of Traders, which had its offices at Front Street above Dock Creek. Located just off the Delaware River, this charming neighborhood is home to Headhouse Square, Independence Hall & National Historic Park, the Liberty Bell, the Society Hill Synagogue, built in 1829 as a Baptist church by Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter, one of the architects of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, the Merchants’ Exchange Building, National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH), Mother Bethel AME, and the Presbyterian Historical Museum… just to name a few!

During the 19th century, the city experienced growth throughout its districts. As pioneers moved westward and developed other nearby areas, Society Hill became neglected and many of the homes began to deteriorate. In the 1950’s, a collaborative effort by the city, state and federal government created its first urban renewal program. In 1957, Edmund Bacon, the executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, awarded the developer-architect firm of Webb and Knapp the redevelopment opportunity of Society Hill. Architect I. M. Pei and his team designed three 31-story apartment tower development (now condominiums) known as the Society Hill Towers as well as low-rise buildings. The Towers and townhouses project was completed in 1964, while the entire plan was completed in 1977. Architect Louis Sauer designed dozens of row house projects for the area around Society Hill, including Waverly Court and Penn's Landing Square.

Residents and visitors alike enjoy Society Hill’s parks, including Three Bears Park where children enjoy its playful space year round, historic churches and synagogues as well as a wonderful array of restaurants, historic sites, movie theaters, supermarkets, health & fitness clubs, dry cleaners, salons, farmer’s market, specialty shops and the Penn’s Landing waterfront. The Ritz Movie Theater group specializes in international films and offers three locations for your viewing pleasure. Experience the city in a relaxed and enchanting horse drawn carriage through National Historical Park, Society Hill, Old City and Washington Square.

Society Hill’s children are zoned in the public school catchment area of General George A. McCall School (grades K through 8) that includes Chinese in its foreign language curriculum and Furness High School. Also located in Society Hill is Saint Peter's School, considered to be the most exclusive private co-ed elementary school in Philadelphia. It was formed in 1834 and was originally part of St. Peter's Church, erected in 1761. Saint Peter's offers classes from Pre-School through 8th grade.

The Society Hill District listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971, offers historic charm and social diversity creating an extraordinary place to live, work, and visit.

Neighborhood Resources