The Neighborhood of Kensington, Pennsylvania
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Located north of Philadelphia, Kensington is known for its large population of working-class Irish Catholic residents as well as a large English American community. Kensington is home to a substantial community of Hispanic Americans (mostly Puerto Ricans and Dominicans), African Americans, Polish, and Irish Americans.
In addition to gentrification, the area has also experienced a considerable influx of young urban professionals, and because there is no formal classification, the area’s borders fluctuate across sources and over time, as they do in all of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.
Anthony Palmer developed Kensington in the early 1730s. Palmer bought the Fairman Estate, which was located along the Delaware River in Northern Liberties Township, using profits from the sale of the Hope Farm estate.
The estate was just 191.5 acres in size, far smaller than the current Kensington neighborhood. Palmer was an English trader from Barbados who arrived in Philadelphia in 1704. The town of Kensington was named after the London neighborhood that had lately been designated as the British crown’s residence.
Kensington has long been considered one of the largest working-class neighborhoods in all of Philadelphia, with the majority of the work coming from fisherman and boat and ship construction. The neighborhood moved from the iron and steel manufacturing business in the late 1800s towards move inland work in factories making pottery and more industrialized machinery.
In the 1950s, deindustrialization took root in the area, resulting in massive population loss, severe unemployment, economic deterioration, and abandoned dwellings. Meanwhile, certain areas of Kensington have been rejuvenated recently, particularly those around Frankford Avenue, Kensington’s southern neighbor Lehigh Avenue, and Fishtown, a predominantly working-class district where the cost of living has risen.
While most of the bigger manufacturers have departed, the region still boasts numerous little stores and big refurbished buildings and warehouses where young artisans have opened their shops and boutiques.
Continue reading similar articles such as: The Small Town of Manayunk, PA.
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