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Fete Day Celebration at Elfreth’s Alley

Residents on America’s oldest street open their doors for one day only

Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth's Alley, the nation's oldest residental street. Credit: E. Savaria for GPTMC

Description

Dates:
June 6, 2015

Fete Day

Get a rare glimpse into a dozen 18th-century private homes of residents on the nation’s oldest residential street during the annual Fete Day celebration at Elfreth’s Alley.

Dating back to the 1930s, the traditional celebration is the only opportunity this season for visitors to actually step into the private homes of Elfreth’s Alley and discover how generations after have continued to preserve, alter and add to the historic structures.

Throughout the day, enjoy storytelling, refreshments and live music from the acoustic band Rabbit Stampede.

In addition to an afternoon of entertainment, free guided tours are available for Fete Day visitors. Learn the Alley’s back stories, like the tale of a resident who was hung for joining the British side during the Revolution or how the neighborhood once earned its reputation as “helltown.”

Tickets

Adults: $25
Children (16 and under): $10
Families (Two adults and one or more children under 18): $60
Group rate (10 or more guests): $20 per person

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Elfreth’s Alley Museum

Located in the only homes open to the public year-round, the Elfreth’s Alley Museum offers visitors guided tours and gifts.

History

Running east from Second Street between Arch and Race Streets, Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest residential street in the country with more than 300 years of history.

In the 18th century, the alley was home to cabinetmakers, pewterers, merchants and sea captains. Famous past residents include Moses Mordecai, a founding member of Mikveh Israel (Philadelphia’s first synagogue); Stephen Girard, eventually the richest man in America; and Cophy Douglass, a free African tailor.

During Philadelphia’s rise as the industrial powerhouse of the nation in the 19th century, these same homes were crowded with Italian, Irish and Jewish immigrants in search of the American dream.

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