Mini-Mansions of South Philly

 

They’re not robber baron estates, but since the 1980s Italian-American families from South Philly have been proving their place in the community by building mini-mansions (sometimes on little streets). At the very core, these mini-mansions are symbols of a multi-generational commitment to their neighborhood and city.

Most of them occupy multiple parcels. Some feel a little South Jersey, others like they were born from trips to Naples, Palermo, or Rome. Quite a few are proudly contemporary.

The 1000 block of Cross Street, just steps from Passyunk Avenue, boasts not one or two, but three mini-mansions, the eclectic residences owned by the descendents of immigrants who arrived here more than a century ago.

About the author

Rachel Hildebrandt, a recent graduate of PennDesign, is a native Philadelphian who is passionate about the changing city she inhabits. Before beginning her graduate studies in historic preservation with a focus on policy, Rachel obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College and co-authored two books, The Philadelphia Area Architecture of Horace Trumbauer (2009) and Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan (2011). She currently works as a program associate at Partners for Sacred Places.



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