One could argue that Fishtown has been a neighborhood balancing the old with the new since William Penn and the Lenni Lenapes met under the great elm for a treaty of peace in 1682. The city of Philadelphia—and the state of Pennsylvania—trace their very origins to what is now Penn Treaty Park in the suddenly bustling neighborhood.
With development reaching a saturation point, large older buildings often stand in the way of lucrative new development, and in spite of the neighborhood's long history, little is actually protected by historic designation. This walking tour highlights Fishtown's links to its industrial and working class past, both on the Historic Register and not, with observations of the new construction that's filling in the neighborhood's gaps.
We'll meet at Penn Treaty Park (Beach and Columbia Streets) in front of the obelisk. From there, we'll head out on an itinerary that includes stops at Frank Furness' Kensington National Bank, the 18th Century Palmer Cemetery, the new flagship La Colombe and more. The tour comes from Hidden City and features local historian Ken Milano and architectural conservator Andrew Fearon, who collectively started the grassroots preservation organization Kensington/Old Richmond Heritage (KORH) along with Oscar Beisert.
And perhaps in the best show of the old and new, we'll conclude the tour of historic Fishtown at the 10th annual Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Trenton Avenue Arts Festival, where KORH will have a stand.