Real Estate in University City : A History Lesson

Did you know the original name of the area was Blockley, named after a parish in Worcestershire England? William Warner (former Worcestershire resident) purchased 1500 acres from the local Native Americans in 1677. About 60 years later, in 1735, the original "Philadelphia lawyer" Andrew Hamilton purchased 300 acres. The attorney, who was known for his cleverness in the courtroom, created Hamilton Village and The Woodlands, both of which are still around today (although they are now incorporated into Philadelphia). In later centuries, the area would become the home to many immigrants from Germany, West Indies and the Caribbean, which created a melting pot of sorts. During the industrial age of the late 1800s and early 1900s, electric streetcars and construction of bridges and tunnels to Center City made commuting easier. That, in turn, led to more rapid development of the area and neighborhoods, like Spruce Hill and Cedar Park.


So how did the name become University City? In the mid-1950s, two realtors (and former Penn graduates) wanted to market to Penn faculty and staff as a way to bring them into the community. It helped create an urban renewal and, in doing so, they created 'unofficial' boundaries that just 'stuck'. While it’s true some residents felt it was just a ploy to secede from West Philadelphia, the area of University City is still West Philly at heart. This urban renewal is why University City is one of the more ‘newer’ and modern areas you’ll find in Philadelphia (when compared to homes that date back to the 1700 and 1800s). It’s also important to note that the area still retains its native roots and many tribes, like Lenni-Lenape (Delaware) and Iroquois Confederacy, stay active in the area. So, if you’re looking for a Philly location that reveres its history, but still has a modern vibe, this is the place.


If you’ve got questions about selling or buying real estate in University City then contact me, Doug Gungor. I’m happy to lend you a hand. As an expert in University City homes, I can help you find the perfect house or list your property.  All it takes is a few moments of your time to call or email me today.