The Wooden Homes of Queen Village

a little hump day history

We are surrounded by history here in Philadelphia, especially in the neighborhoods along the Delaware River. One of the most elusive sights to behold is the wooden clapboard house, which were outlawed within the original planned city limits by 1796 due to the risk of fire. Southwark, today known as Queen Village, was not considered part of the city limits at this time. As you can see from the map below, circa 1804, the original city limits of Philadelphia ran from river to river & Vine to Cedar (present day South Street).


Since Southwark was not a part of the city limits they were not outlawed & there are still a few left to be seen. Let’s check them out!

123 Queen Street was built in the early 1800’s & here it is pictured in 1896. The residence was certified historic in 1958 & again in 1966.


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The owner demolished it illegally in 1987 & was ordered to rebuild it to its original plan (info from the Queen Village Neighborhood Association).


Photo Taken Summer of 2014

There are two original wooden clapboard homes at 125 & 125 League Street. Here they are in 1957.


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Here they are in 2014.

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Photo from Google Maps

At 802 S. Hancock stands a half house. These homes were built on half of a lot & were waiting for someone to come build next to them. Often time no one came.


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Here is 802 S. Hancock today.

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Photo from Google Maps


A wooden home still stands at 203 Christian Street – here it is in 1956.

Photo from

Photo from

Here it is today.

Photo from Google Maps

Photo from Google Maps

more reading on the history of southwark – present day queen village:

Queen Village Neighborhood Association

The Queen Village page on Wikipedia

Southwark Historical Society