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Ridge Ave Roxborough Historic District

Boundary and Description

Boundary 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.

Built Environment

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).

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