Black Doctors Row Becomes First Black Historic District in Philadelphia

On Friday, July 8, the Philadelphia Historical Commission unanimously approved a special designation for Black Doctors Row, a neighborhood in Graduate Hospital. Black Doctors Row is the first historic designation in the city with a focus on Black history.

According to Maggie Mancini with the PhillyVoice, this past January, the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia outlined the criteria by which the neighborhood met the city’s requirements for historic status to the Historical Commission. At its peak from circa 1910 through 1945, Black Doctors Row was home to prominent Black pastors, teachers, architects, politicians, and other business leaders.

Prominent individuals that resided in the neighborhood include William Burton Crawford, a Democratic politician and pharmacist, as well as Lydia White, a dancer and former burlesque performer. The historic district spans from Broad and Christian Streets to 20th Street. Properties included under the first Black historic district are the Christian Street YMCA, the First African Baptist Church, and Edwin M. Stanton Elementary School.

With the new designation comes a demolition moratorium which adds additional construction regulations to the surrounding properties. The moratorium is helpful for residents and preservationists working toward keeping the area free of demolition.

For more information on Black Doctors Row, click here.