The place where you live: East Passyunk

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Boundaries: Washington Avenue to Tasker Street, Sixth to Broad streets

Population: 13,300

Demographics: White, 68 percent; black, 6 percent; Asian, 19 percent; other, 7 percent. About 33 percent of the population is over 65, 28 percent is 25-44 and 22 percent is 45-64.

Origin of name: Spelled in old deeds and records in a variety of ways: Perslajingh, Passayunk, Passyonck, Passajon, Passajungh, Passaming and Paisajungh.

Passyunk had its roots as an Indian village; Queen Christina later bequeathed the area as a 1,000-acre parcel to Lt. Swen Shute in return for important services rendered to the King of Sweden. The northeastern boundary fell around the parallel of 12th Street. It became a township at a very early period of Western settlement, with Federal Road (later called Federal Street) used as a major thoroughfare.

Brief history: East Passyunk Avenue traces its roots to Colonial times, when Gen. George Washington housed many of his soldiers on the 800 and 900 blocks of Federal.

Passyunk Avenue from Tasker to Broad streets got its start as an upscale shopping mecca. Restaurants, specialty food stores, pharmacies, furniture shops, clothing, shoe and jewelry stores dotted the avenue. The district is in the midst of a revitalization effort to restore the avenue to its glory days.

In December 2002, a city ordinance created the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (EPABID), modeled after merchant-funded initiatives in Center City and Manayunk. The district's board president is attorney Christian DiCicco, son of Councilman Frank DiCicco.

Through EPABID, commercial property owners pay an additional 20 percent in property taxes to fund the district's improvement goals.

Passyunk Avenue also has received a boost from the Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods. The group -- responsible for the fountain at the end of the district -- conducts improvement projects all over the city, and established the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation. The initial goal of this project was to stabilize the avenue and attract new merchants.

Major landmarks: Pat's Steaks and Geno's Steaks, both in the southern part of the Italian Market; fountain at the junction of Passyunk, 11th and Tasker

Architecture: Larger brownstones dating back to the 1870s/'80s dot the main streets like Federal and Wharton, says architect Stephen Freret, who lives on the 1100 block of South Darien Street. Trinities built as early as the 1880s line the smaller streets and alleys. Some of these homes have been combined to form single-family dwellings.

Median home sale price: $150,000

State Senate district: First, Vincent Fumo (D)

State House district: 185th, Bill Keller (D)

City Council district: First, Frank DiCicco (D)

Ward: Second

Police district: Third and Fourth

Civic groups and townwatches: Passyunk Square Civic Association, Passyunk Square Town Watch

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1. LPetrillo said... on Oct 14, 2008 at 01:04PM

“Do any buildings remain, such as the one used for Paul Petrillo's tailoring business?”

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2. Anonymous said... on Feb 23, 2011 at 07:58AM

“I use to work on 1800 block of Passyunk in the 1960's. I lived on that block the year the Record Bar burned down in the middle of the night. Lot's of great memories I have for that area. It was great.”


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