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Fitler Square, located between famed Rittenhouse Square and the Schuylkill River with University City just across the river, is a relative late-comer to the “Squares” of Philadelphia. Historically a neighborhood of shipbuilders, shipping companies and brickmakers, Fitler Square Park was built on the site of a former brickyard and was dedicated in 1896 in honor of Edwin H. Fitler, a former mayor of Philadelphia. With only traces of its 19th-century industrial past still present, it is now a community-oriented neighborhood of well-maintained historical homes with the quaint park at its center. Throughout the year, residents gather in Fitler Square for such annual events as the Easter Egg Hunt, the Spring Fair, a Halloween party, a Christmas tree lighting and, from mid-May to early November, a bustling Saturday-morning farmer’s market that is a necessary stop for seasonal produce and flowers. Year-round, children enjoy the park’s collection of oversized animal sculptures.
Homes immediately around Fitler Square Park are scaled so as not to overshadow this greenspace. The neighborhood has a collection of 19th- and 20th-century homes and some very enchanting narrow side streets lined with historical properties. It’s hard to believe these homes we treasure now were once fairly modest houses for the stevedores, textile workers and tradespeople working in the neighborhood.
There are some large condominium buildings in the neighborhood, most notably the new, luxuriously appointed One Riverside being developed by Carl Dranoff and Locust Point, both overlooking the Schuylkill River.
On the banks of the Schuylkill River at the very edge of the Fitler Square neighborhood is Schuylkill River Park, an exceptional recreation area with a playground, tennis and basketball courts, a baseball diamond and access to the bicycle and running trail that runs along the river. For dog owners, this park also has an enclosed dog run with amenities just for canines, including a dog-level water fountain and separate areas for large and small dogs.
Some famous past residents of the Fitler Square neighborhood include war journalist and novelist Richard Harding Davis; Joseph H. Horn, one of the founders of the Horn and Hardart automat chain; and the home and then library/museum of the Rosenbach Brothers.
For sedate city living that is convenient to major Center City employment areas and the University City neighborhood across the river, Fitler Square is an excellent choice.