An Unusual Row House Row

Continuing our recent exploration of the Northern Liberties neighborhood in Philadelphia, we discovered a very unusual row.

Row houses in Northern Liberties.

Typically, row houses face the sidewalk at the same depth and present a uniform facade, more or less. This row, however, is staggered and slanted. It’s an interesting arrangement that most likely reflects angled plots, otherwise it doesn’t make sense to arrange the homes in a rather inefficient way, leaving random space at either end. Straighten them out, and you could fit another house in there.

These homes are likely from the first half of the 19th Century, when Philadelphia enjoyed a huge real estate boom and developers built houses where they could. Sometimes land was divided in odd ways to accommodate the growth.

In any case, for the dwellers, it’s nice to have a little front area that would otherwise be lost if the homes were straight. And, with this arrangement, it’s like the houses are turning to greet whomever travels down the street. Very unique and very welcoming!

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