9th Street Market

The 9th Street Market is one of the nation’s oldest continuous open-air markets, dating to the turn of the 20th century when Italian immigrants sold fruit, vegetables, and meats from carts and stands. Situated amidst a major manufacturing area, the market maintained late hours to accommodate factory workers. Although it was once the social and commercial heart of the Italian community and is still commonly referred as the “Italian Market,” the 9th Street Market was always an ethnic mix. For much of the 20th century, Jewish vendors sold fabrics and household items, and eggs and poultry from Jewish farm communities in Southern New Jersey. Though a handful of long-time Italian American-owned family businesses still dominate the strip, the market boasts a growing number of Southeast Asian and Mexican shops.

The blocks between Christian Street and Washington Avenue are the historical heart of the market, but the market also encompasses blocks to the north and south of the main strip, and 8th Street to the east. Mexican merchants are extending the vibrancy of the market by transforming the once sleepy blocks south of Washington Avenue with restaurants and groceries. The entire neighborhood, often called Bella Vista, is one of Philadelphia’s most walkable, and is best experienced on foot and at the street level.

Although the market has undergone a facelift in the last 10 years (complete with new awnings), it looks very much the same as it did 100 years ago. It is still a lively and crowded jumble of hawkers loudly advertising their bargains, shoppers negotiating narrow sidewalks packed with overflowing produce stands, flower stalls and live ducks. In the winter, vendors keeping warm by barrel fires. In the summer, locals and tourists settle into the growing number of sidewalk cafes to sip coffee, exchange news, and people-watch.

Even though many Italian Americans have moved to other areas of the city and suburbs, the market’s trade still flourishes. Customers of all backgrounds come from all over the city and the suburbs to purchase ethnic culinary specialties and other wares.

References

  • Juliani, Richard N. Building Little Italy: Philadelphia's Italians Before Mass Migration. University Park, PA: The Penn State University Press, 1998.
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania. "Bella Vista: Philadelphia's Little Italy." Self-guided walking tour printed guide, Philadelphia, PA: Historical Society of Pennsylvania Honors Summer History Institute, 1983.
  • Juliani, Richard N. The Social Organization of Immigration: The Italians in Philadelphia. Ph.D. diss, University of Pennsylvania, 1971.

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Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church Shot Tower Conveyed Hancock Street Houses Site of the Southwark Soup Society Weccacoe Engine Co.'s House, and Reception of United Fire Co. of Baltimore Church of St. Philip Neri Court having nine small houses in rear of a tenement house Mario Lanza Park banner Pelzer Funeral Home Southwark/Queen Village Community Garden Emanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church front entrance Budweiser's Bar Phillips Temple Christian Methodist Church St. Stanislaus Catholic Church James Forten Kesher Israel Synagogue B'nai Abraham synagogue Mt. Tabor African Methodist Church Lombard Street Riot Historical Marker Octavius V. Catto W.E.B. Du Bois portrait Firefighter Stephen Presco, Engine 11 Housefronts on 600 Block of Kater Street Bedford Street Mission The Antiquarian's Delight Retail Depot of the Great Philadelphia Made Clothing N. Snellenburg & Co. Curb Market, 4th Street and South Street Famous 4th Street Delicatessen sign 4th Street, 1940 Marmelstein's front window on Fabric Row Casa Ravello Milk Station House of Industry historical marker Graphic Sketch Club Julia and Aldo Allegrini wedding L'Opinione: Il Departmento Circolazione Vietnamese Hung Vuong Association Curtis Publishing Plant/Lofts at Bella Vista Isgro Pastries storefront St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church Verdi Hall Italian Market, 1947 Lady of Good Council R.C. Church, Christian above 8th Sts. Interior of Luigi Fiorella Meat Market Italian & American Maccaroni Works Dan Khang Nha Trang sign Anthony's Chocolate House exterior D'Angelo's Specialty Meats storefront Playbill for the "The Passion Play of Christ"  presented by the Filodramatic Circle Gasperinese, 1931 The Procession of St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi mural Fante-Leone Public Pool Cannuli Brothers storefront Talluto's Authentic Italian Food storefront Grassia's Italian Market Spice Company Lupita's Grocery Store storefront Paul Giordano Sr. Saigon Maxim restaurant Jefferson Square Mia (left) and Mary (right) Viola St. Maron's Church exterior Bitar's Eastern Mediterranean Grill Southeast Corner - 9th Street and Washington Avenue Washington Avenue Immigration Station
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1930 Banquet Committee. Image provided by Elaine Ellison 3-D computer modeling of 9th Street Market. Image provided by Shimrit Keddem 4th Street market building. Image provided by Temple University Urban Archives 4th Street, 1940. Image provided by Temple University Urban Archives 814 South 8th Street. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania 814 South 8th Street. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania 900 Block of Marshall Street. Image provided by Elaine Ellison 977 N. Marshall Street. Image provided by Elaine Ellison A Glimpse of the Italian District. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Adler's Fabrics storefront on Fabric Row. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania African-American population on 9th Street, 1880-1920. Image provided by Shimrit Keddem Agnes Hatcher: Longtime resident of Northern Liberties. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Anthony's Chocolate House exterior. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Anthony's Italian Coffee. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania April Moore (House of Moore). Image provided by Cross/Walks Average age on 9th Street, 1880-1920. Image provided by Shimrit Keddem B'nai Abraham synagogue. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania B'nai Abraham synagogue. Image provided by Temple University Urban Archives B'nai Abraham synagogue. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania B'nai Abraham synagogue. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania B'nai Abraham synagogue. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania B. Wilk Fabrics on Fabric Row. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Bird cage at North Mascher Street Casita. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Bocce players. Image provided by Maria Petrone Bocce players. Image provided by Maria Petrone Boy eating soup at Soupy Island Sanitarium. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Brown St above 4th St.. Image provided by Library Company of Philadelphia Budweiser's Bar. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Buffalo meat at D'Angelo's. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Cannuli Brothers storefront. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Cannuli Brothers storefront. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Cannuli Brothers storefront. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Cannuli Brothers storefront. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Carniceria Diaz storefront. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Cars parked along Marshall Street. Image provided by Elaine Ellison Casa Ravello Milk Station. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Casa Ravello, Model Italian Tenement. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Cash register at Fiorella Brothers Sausage. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Casita at Las Parcelas. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Casita on North Mascher St. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Centro de Oro. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Chiesa Parrocchiale Italiana di Santa Maria de Pazzi. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Chiesa Parrocchiale Italiana di Santa Maria de Pazzi. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania Children of Marshall Street Store Owners. Image provided by Elaine Ellison Children's group portrait at St. Agnes Church
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