The Floating Bridge across the Schuylkill River at Gray's Ferry was originally built by the British during their 1777-78 occupation of Philadelphia. This was the primary entrance to the city for travelers from the south until it was replaced by a permanent bridge in 1838.
The area developed near an important crossing of the Schuylkill River. In the 18th century, Gray's Ferry was the southernmost of three ferries that crossed the Schuylkill River to Philadelphia. The neighborhood's namesake ferry originally belonged to a Benjamin Chambers in the 17th century. By 1747 George Gray had taken over the ferry, and established the nearby Gray's Inn and Gray's Garden, which were popular in the 1790s. The river is now spanned by the Gray's Ferry Bridge and several rail bridges.
Before the Act of Consolidation, 1854, this neighborhood was part of Moyamensing Township. Moyamensing was chartered by the Dutch governor
Alexander d'Hinoyossa, and in 1684, William Penn confirmed the title.
This neighborhood was once the site of the Schuylkill Arsenal.
The James Alcorn School, Charles Y. Audenried Junior High School, Grays Road Recreation Center, University Avenue Bridge, and Anthony Wayne School are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.