Grays Ferry, Philadelphia

Grays Ferry
Neighborhood of Philadelphia
Grays Road Recreation Center
Grays Ferry is located in Philadelphia
Grays Ferry
Grays Ferry
Country United States
CountyPhiladelphia County
Area code(s)Area code 215

Grays Ferry, also known as Gray's Ferry, is a neighborhood in South Philadelphia bounded (roughly) by 25th Street on the east, the Schuylkill River on the west, Vare Avenue on the south, and Grays Ferry Avenue on the north.[1] The section of this neighborhood west of 34th Street is also known as Forgotten Bottom.[2] Grays Ferry shares borders with Southwest Center City to the North, Point Breeze to the East, and Girard Estate to the South. Gray’s Ferry is across from where Mill Creek debouches at about 43rd street. Historically, Grays Ferry was one of the largest enclaves of Irish Americans in the city,[3] and while there are still many Irish left, it is now home to a significant African American population.


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.[4][5] The river is now spanned by the Gray's Ferry Bridge and several rail bridges.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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