Ridge Ave Roxborough Historic District
Boundary and Description
The Ridge Avenue Roxborough Thematic Historic District is comprised of 188 tax parcels, each of which is defined by metes and bounds description in its deed. A list of the 188 tax parcels comprising the district can be found in the district inventory.
The northwestern section of Philadelphia including Roxborough is located in a geological region known as the Piedmont Upland Section of the Piedmont Province. The bedrock in Roxborough is primarily mica schist but becomes trap rock with veins of serpentine stone at the northwest along the Montgomery County line (Figure 1). 1 Roxborough is located on a steep ridge formed by the Wissahickon Creek to the east and the Schuylkill River to the west. The ridge runs from the confluence of the Schuylkill and Wissahickon at East Falls or the Falls of the Schuylkill northwest for approximately five miles, where it crosses into Montgomery County. Historically, streams drained the land on the ridge, running east to the Wissahickon and west to the Schuylkill. Most of the streams have been culverted. Ridge Avenue, the primary thoroughfare in Roxborough, leaves East Falls at the confluence of the Schuylkill River and the Wissahickon Creek, runs up a steep slope more than 200 vertical feet to the top of the ridge, and then along the ridge to the northwest into Montgomery County. The section of Ridge Avenue between the Wissahickon Creek and the Montgomery County line is approximately five miles in length. The highest point along Ridge Avenue is approximately 420 feet above sea level, in the stretch between Cathedral Road and Manatawna Avenue.
The area along and around Ridge Avenue in Roxborough between the Wissahickon Creek and the Montgomery County line is primarily a residential corridor with a commercial core from Martin Street to Hermitage Street and several traditional, shopping center, and strip mall commercial developments scattered throughout (Figure 2). Most buildings are detached and semi-detached, but some are row buildings. With the exception of a few institutional buildings, nearly all structures along the corridor are three stories or shorter. The residential buildings are both single and multi-family. Most, but not all, properties include some green space. Ridge Avenue is a major, two-lane thoroughfare for most of its length in Roxborough, but expands to six lanes west of the intersection with Henry Avenue.
Most of the buildings included in the Ridge Avenue Roxborough Thematic Historic District were historically and are currently used for residential purposes. Many of the others are commercial or mixed-use commercial and residential. The district includes five churches, some with cemeteries, one stand-alone cemetery, one public park, one school building and one former school building, and several institutional buildings (Figure 3).
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This information has been posted by RMWHS with the permission of the Philadelphia Historical Commission.
1 Charles Edward Hall, The Geology of Philadelphia County and of the Southern Parts of Montgomery and Bucks (Harrisburg: The Board of Commissioners for the Second Geological Survey, 1881).