One of my favorite things about Philadelphia is the small, hidden rows inside of blocks. Most of the time, these aren’t visible from the streets and require navigating through passageways between other houses. Every now and then, I get invited to someone’s house or interlope during an open house and get the opportunity to view one of these little secret little rows.
The row houses below are situated in the middle of a block in the Queen Village neighborhood. To access the pair of rows, four homes on each side, you pass through a gate from the street and walk through the street-facing row houses. Often, there is a little courtyard between the houses and gardens. This particular pair has a mural and a bench.
Below, we’ve turned around and you can see the back of the street-facing row house. Technically, these homes are built within the original property lines of the street-facing house. During the 19th Century, Philadelphia had such a population boom that they were building these little rows wherever they would fit. If you needed extra income? Pop in a few extra row houses in your backyard.
These are small row homes and the house I got a chance to view the inside, revealed a living room and kitchen on the first floor, and likely two small bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor; I didn’t want to impose. It wasn’t uncommon for these homes to have the kitchen in the basement, which would have made the main room larger. I also don’t know if there is a third floor loft space but it is possible to add a small space.
The last home has a lovely bay window and in general these homes are small enough to be very well lit, despite the close quarters with the neighbors.
These are rather small homes but they’re also very private, aside from your immediate neighbors. The outer, street-facing row homes buffer out most of the street noise and keep any creepy-types from lurking about.
Whenever I discover one of these blocks, and even after nine years in the city I’m still finding hidden blocks, it’s like finding buried treasure.