4 Fascinating Fishtown Facts
When you think of up-and-coming neighborhoods in Philly, Fishtown has held a spot at the top of that list for years. An artist's mecca with an incredibly vibrant nightlife, award-winning restaurants and a fun youthful energy, I must state that I'm fairly biased to this specific area of the city. It is, after all, home to The Somers Team. As with all of our beloved neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Fishtown has a wonderfully rich history. Below you will find some fun Fishtown facts to broaden your neighborhood knowledge:
What’s in a Name?
Anybody can probably guess what the main working-class industry was in this part of Philadelphia. I’ll give you a hint; it wasn’t hunting. Early settlers controlled fishing rights on both sides of the Delaware River, from Cape May to the falls at Trenton. There’s a rumor that Charles Dickens nicknamed the area during a visit in 1842, which I would love to be true. The truth is, the first known printed appearance of the “Fishtown” moniker is dated back to an 1808 publication of a hilariously named Philadelphia newspaper, The Tickler.
Prior to Penn’s landing on Philadelphia soil, the Turtle Clan of the Lenni Lenape Native American tribe inhabited what we now call Fishtown. In an effort to create a harmonious cohabitation between the Natives and Europeans, The Shackamaxon Treaty, also known as the Great Treaty, and, of course, Penn’s Treaty, was signed in 1682. In the legendary document, William Penn and Tamanend of the Lenape agreed that their people would live in a state of perpetual peace. The grounds on which this historical moment took place is now aptly named Penn Treaty Park and is a favorite outdoor space in Fishtown.
On the Tube
With a plethora of celebrated movies filmed in Philadelphia (Hello "Rocky", "Philadelphia", "Trading Places" etc.), it seemed that for a while Fishtown never really got much representation in pop culture....until recently. Jason Segal’s cerebrally stunning series, “Dispatches From Elsewhere” utilizes the neighborhood as a backdrop so intently that Fishtown is practically a character on the show. "Queer Eye's" first episode of its Philadelphia season also had a lovely focus on the area. Though only recently featured on the small screen, it’s quite apparent, this ‘hood is ready for its close-up!
Although Rivers Casino is now a neighborhood staple, it certainly did not come to be without its share of complications. When Fishtown was selected to play host to the then-named SugarHouse Casino in 2006, the neighborhood became divided on the prospect. Many residents believed it would lower the quality of life in the area and several organizations were founded to combat the development of it. The solution came in the form of a Community Benefits Agreement between SugarHouse Casino and the New Kensington CDC. This provides money for community projects that would not otherwise be available for the residents of the neighborhood.
Want to learn more about or very own neighborhood of Fishtown? Contact The Somers Team for true neighborhood expertise!
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