Lancaster Avenue
A Historical Route

Lancaster Avenue is known as one of the main shopping streets in West Philadelphia.
The business district bridges communities the length of the Avenue. Residents from communities of Mantua, Powelton, Belmont, Mill Creek, Cathedral, Carroll Park and Overbrook, reflect a page in the history, having experienced the geographic and cultural transition of the community neighborhoods and business corridor throughout the years.

Lancaster Avenue business corridor of West Philadelphia ranges from 34th through 63rd. Lancaster Avenue has been a trade and transportation route moving goods and people between Philadelphia and the outlying rual counties. In the early 1820's it was referred to as Lancaster Turnpike which became a part of the Lincoln Highway and for transportation on Lancaster Avenue long distance tarveling the Conestoga Wagons were used. For short distance commuting, residents and vistors would use the Horse -car lines.

The Conestoga Wagon, hauled freight east and westward in the days when " Lancaster Turnpike ( Lancaster Avenue) was the gateway to new territory. These wagons played a major role importing and exporting wholesale goods from York and Lancaster County to Lancaster Turnpike (Lancaster Avenue) merchants and proceeded on to downtown market place (Market Street) in Philadelphia.

By the 1900's "Electric Cars" replaced the Horse - car lines that the Columbia / PA Railroad operated. Lancaster Turnpike stretched from Lancaster County to Philadelphia County to 32nd & Lancaster Avenue. In later years the City of Philadelphia abolished tolls in Philadelphia County, and Lancaster Turnpile was renamed as Lancaster Avenue in the city and some suburban towns.

The Historical Lancaster Avenue is remembered as a bustling commercial corridor and remains as a major transportation route to and form Center City and Lower Montgomery County. Visiting and resident pioneers also remember Lancaster Avenue as the Rodeo' Drive of West Philly. As shown by the faded signage on the side wall of the now small business that occupies the property. The name LA Rodeo' Drive was selected because of the quality of goods, diverse shops and services that supported the momentum of Lancaster Avenue businesses that met the needs of the bridging communities in the mid 1700 -1900's.

Currently Lancaster Avenue Business District is thriving the cultural and economic transition. The momentum of the business corrdior is re- introduced with community and business collaboration focusing on revitalizing the Historical Lancaster Avenue.

In 1986 / 87 The City of Philadelphia embraced the concept and supported the Lancaster Avenue Business Association in promoting attention to Lancaster Avenue A Historical Route. The late Mr. Abdul Malik Muhammad was instrumental in the design of the ( medallion ) accepted as apart of the corridor improvement and tree planting initiative purposed for the avenue at the time. The medallion adorns the sidewalks of Lancaster Avenue installed along the 4000 block.

The medallion reflects the role of Lancaster Avenue as the Historic Route between
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Lancaster Pennsylvania

The War of the Roses (1455 - 1485)

The House of Lancaster (England), whose symbol as shown (medallion) was the Red Rose; fought the House of York (England) whose symbol was a White Rose; these two rivals fought for the rule of England, the story goes on to the U.S.A. William Penn granted land to the House of Lancaster, which is now Lancaster County for them to cultivate the land, grow their crops, and bring their merchandise to the market place. The route used is now called Lancaster Avenue, and the market place was Market Street...
The House of York had a similitude, York PA, New York...etc.


LABA " Golden Medallion Recognition Project"

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2012 / 2013

* LABA-CDC -Lancaster Avenue "Historicial Route Recogition Project" ( click here )