Etymology part II: How 20 more Philly neighborhoods got their names

Turns out Strawberry Mansion is named after ice cream.

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Jayna Wallace / Billy Penn
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Updated July 24

Once upon a time, there was a big house in Fairmount Park. Back in the 19th century, developers of yesteryear decided to convert the mansion into a restaurant. The dining room apparently became pretty popular — especially the chef’s mean plate of strawberries and ice cream.

The dish was so good, in fact, that an entire area of Philadelphia was named after it:

Welcome to Strawberry Mansion.

Yup, the neighborhood that hugs Ridge Avenue north of Brewerytown was named after a dessert. How’d we find that out? Glad you asked.

Earlier this month, we stumbled on a cool social media post — a visualization featuring 43 of the city’s neighborhoods, with info about how each one got its name. Turns out the graphic was created by Adam Aleksic, a high school senior from Albany who does this sort of thing in his free time. He calls himself the “Etymology Nerd.”

The etymology of Philly neighborhoods

The etymology of Philly neighborhoods

Courtesy Adam Aleksic

We wrote about the map, mostly because it seemed important to tell y’all that Manayunk is the Lenape word for “place where we go to drink.” (Also, Moyamensing is named after pigeon droppings.)

Several readers pointed out that the graphic, albeit fascinating, omitted quite a few prominent Philly neighborhoods.

So we called up the Etymology Nerd himself, and asked him to help us remedy the lack. This time, we did the research and provided the descriptions for 20 more Philly neighborhoods, and Aleksic put them together on a map.

Hunting Park? A former mayor used to hunt deer there. Brewerytown? Well duh, the neighborhood used to boast a lot of breweries.

And Fishtown? An urban legend suggests it was Charles Dickens who named this neighborhood in 1842 — but it’s more likely this Philly neighborhood got its name due to the popularity of shad fisheries in the 1700s.

Now we present the sequel: Philadelphia Hidden Etymologies II.

Even more Philly neighborhood etymologies

Even more Philly neighborhood etymologies

Courtesy Adam Aleksic

Philly neighborhood etymologies II

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