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Elfreth’s Alley: America’s Oldest Residential Street

Elfreth’s Alley is an historic street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania dating back to the year 1702.

Elfreth's Alley Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

It is purported to be the longest surviving residential street in America.

Today there are 32 original houses on the Alley that were built between the years 1703 and 1836.

Elfreth's Alley Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Alley is now a National Historic Landmark with the street’s official Museum located at #124 and #126 Elfreth’s Alley.

The Alley is rather narrow, due to the fact that it is not even technically a street. It is an alleyway located between North 2nd Street and North Front Street, in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia.

The story behind Elfreth’s Alley is an interesting one. From the official webpage:

Elfreth’s Alley was not actually included in original plans for Philadelphia. As Philadelphia became a bustling city, artisans and merchants purchased or rented property close to the ports where goods and materials arrived. This led to overcrowding, and landowners recognized that tradesmen needed alternate routes to the river. Landowners Arthur Wells and John Gilbert combined their properties between Front and Second Streets to open Elfreth’s Alley, named after silversmith Jeremiah Elfreth, as a cart path in 1706.

Elfreth's Alley Philadelphia, PA

Elfreth’s Alley is said to be an exceptional example of early American structures, namely row houses. The Alley celebrates the historic working class of America and is still a thriving residential community today. Wouldn’t it be cool to live in such an old & famous neighborhood?

House Crazy Sarah wondered what the inside of some of these beauties looked like so she found a couple of for sale listings on Elfreth’s Alley.

House #1

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

Although this grand Alley house has already sold, the listing photos are still available online, lucky for us.

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

This one is a stunner!

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

These are lovely spaces but it troubles House Crazy Sarah that all the book shelves bare naked. They should be filled with early American literature!

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

Love the huge window – especially in these narrow bricked town houses which can be quite dark.

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

The home has a beautiful attic bedroom but the best part of this house is the basement:

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

It’s like a Moroccan-themed grotto/wine cellar…

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

With a hot tub!

At least we think it’s a hot tub. It may be an ancient well, or a portal to hell or something of that nature.

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

In any case, it’s a cool old basement.

Here’s the listing link:

www.redfin.com/PA/Philadelphia/124-126-Elfreth-s-Aly-19106

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House #2

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

This little gem on Elfreth’s Alley is currently for sale and it may be a bit rough around the edges but it is also full of sweet history. (It’s the red-shuttered row house on the left.)

The inside of this one feels like the 1700’s…

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

Plenty of early Americana references in the decor…

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

We get a peek into the kitchen which is really dated – but not in a good way (c. 1980 brown – yuck).

However, feast your history-loving eyes on the tread-worn staircase:

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

This place is oozing with history!

And then there’s this:

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

Yes my friends, that is where they went potty before there was indoor plumbing. Or maybe it’s another portal to hell!   🙂

In any case, how amazing is it that the original outdoor loo has been preserved?

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

House Crazy Sarah is guessing a bachelor lives here (by the way the bed is made).

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

This house also has a cellar basement but it’s not nearly as impressive as the larger house’s basement.

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

This 1703 row house is only 2 bedrooms and 1 bath but is listing for a whopping $1,950,000.

Elfreth's Alley house for sale

Hey, you can’t put a price on history!

Here’s the listing link:

www.prevu.com/listings/139-elfreths-alley-philadelphia-pa

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For more details on historic Elfreth’s Alley, please visit the follow source links:

www.elfrethsalley.org

www.atlasobscura.com/places/elfreths-alley

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elfreth’s_Alley

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