Spring Garden is an economically and ethnically diverse neighborhood located between Spring Garden St. and Fairmount Avenue. and between Broad St. and Pennsylvania Ave./Fairmount Park.
The area was the City’s original Victorian neighborhood, and was first developed for homes for the newly emerging class of well-to-do industrialists in the mid-to-late 19th century. Virtually the entire neighborhood has been designated as both City and national historical districts. The area’s rich Victorian architectural heritage has been preserved through the vigilant efforts of the Philadelphia Historical Commission and the community.
The neighborhood is comprised principally of low-rise single-family homes, condos and rental units. It is bordered by major cultural institutions, including Community College, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The non-profit Spring Garden Civic Association is one of the oldest civic associations in the City. It has been planting trees throughout the community since the 1960s; has sponsored cleanups, neighborhood tours, and community meetings/events/festivals; has worked for over 40 years with governmental representatives for the improvement of community facilities and services; and has fought to preserve the architectural and zoning integrity of the neighborhood, inter alia. It successfully led the battle against the late 1990's takeover of the community by two large, well-organized drug rings; the attempt 10 years after that to establish a Phillies baseball stadium at Broad and Spring Garden Streets; and the recent effort to develop 40 and 50 story high rises on and near Spring Garden Street, which resulted in the elimination of one high rise, and the substantial lowering of the other. (The community opposition also caused the City to enact tighter controls over the areas abutting, and adjacent to, the Parkway.)
The Spring Garden CDC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity, established in the 1990s in the wake of the drug takeover to complement the activities of the Civic Association. Its mission is to revitalize the Spring Garden neighborhood by eliminating crime, blight, poverty, and the effects of poverty; redeveloping areas of the community that have become run down and seedy; stimulating investment in the area; providing housing opportunities for individuals of all income levels; enhancing educational, employment, health care and recreational opportunities for area youths, adults and seniors; providing a storefront office for community outreach and services; neighborhood beautification and cleanliness projects ; cultural events and opportunities; and many other programs Among its activities are the provision of a team of sweepers to keep the neighborhood neat and tidy, a free summer day camp for area youths (and sponsorship of young people for overnight camps throughout the region and the U.S.), and an art teacher for the local grade school.
The community has seen major changes in the last 10 years, including the rehab of all of the blighted western end PHA buildings into handsome, affordable rental housing units, with beautifully restored Victorian facades and all amenities; the redevelopment of much of the formerly blighted eastern end of the community into new single family housing, condominiums, and rental units, including the 2009 rehab of 58 eastern-end PHA units as affordable housing, once again with beautifully restored Victorian facades and all amenities.