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Mike Volpe

FISHTOWN

Where It All Began:

On the banks of the Delaware River, directly northeast of center city Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you will find a small and vibrant community known as FISHTOWN.  This unique and energetic neighborhood is full of history, arts and culture. It is also home to the monumental place where William Penn and the Lenni Lenape Indians made the Treaty of Amity and Friendship in 1682.

Fishtown was originally known as Shackamaxon settlement.  The first inhabitants of the area were Native Americans – Lenni Lenape,  who farmed and fished on the agriculturally prosperous land.

 

In the early 19th century, Fishtown not only became the leader in the shad fishing industry of the Delaware Valley but also earned its name. German fisherman and their families inhabited the riverfront neighborhood and dominated the fishing industry.  These German fisherman and families are credited with beginning the community legacy of Fishtown.

In the mid to late 19th century, Fishtown became less of an agricultural homeland and more of an industrial hub for the textile industry. Philadelphia became one of the leading giants in industrialization. Then in 1923, life changed dramatically.  The Great Depression swept the nation off their feet. The manufacturing industry began its steady decline and Philadelphia as a whole experienced significant deterioration. The majestic factories became abandoned structures serving as physical reminders of Philadelphia’s prosperous heyday.

Like many close knit neighborhoods, Fishtown strived to improve its character and maintain its charm. Today many abandon factories have been converted into apartments and artist lofts. Abundant cafes, bistros, dive bars, and boutiques can be found along Girard Avenue. The community gathers often for parades, festivals and concerts. Today Fishtown is made up of Polish, German, Italian, Irish immigrants and a large population of students, young musicians and artists.