Swampoodle, the neighborhood where Officer Robert Wilson was killed Thursday night, has long been afflicted by crime and urban decay. Exactly where is Swampoodle, how did it get its name and what is being done to improve the neighborhood? Here are five things to know about the area.
- Swampoodle is loosely defined as the area around a junction of three railroad lines that meet around 17th Street west to 22nd Street near Lehigh Avenue. It extends as far as 27th Street to the west and Indiana Avenue to the north. Some consider Swampoodle part of the Allegheny West neighborhood, and it is just north of Strawberry Mansion.
- The origin of the name is also unclear but Swampoodle likely stems from descriptions of a swampy, puddly area that used to be around 22nd and Lehigh. It could also come from a slang word for low-lying land.
- Swampoodle underwent a rapid demographic transformation in the 50s and 60s, with many middle-class, white families moving to the suburbs.
- Connie Mack Stadium used to be at 21st and Lehigh, in Swampoodle. It was home to Philadelphia A’s and then the Phillies from 1909 to 1970. The stadium was demolished in 1976. The GameStop where Wilson was killed is situated in a strip mall adjacent to where the stadium stood.
- Crime has long been a problem for the neighborhood, but groups like PhillyRising have worked to improve Swampoodle in recent years. They’ve attempted to weaken the influence of drugs and beautify the neighborhood with projects like a community garden.