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Whitman, Philadelphia facts for kids

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George Sharswood School
George Sharswood School
Country  United States
State Pennsylvania
County Philadelphia County
City Philadelphia
Zip code
Area code(s) Area code 215

Whitman is a neighborhood in the South Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. It is bounded on the west by Sixth Street, on the east by Front Street, on the south by Bigler Street, and on the north by Snyder Avenue. The name "Whitman" was adopted when the nearby Walt Whitman Bridge was being constructed in the 1950s. Coordinates: 39°55′03″N 75°09′13″W / 39.91757°N 75.15365°W / 39.91757; -75.15365 In 2015, Whitman and nearby South Philadelphia neighborhoods were named by Philadelphia Magazine as one of the safest and most family-friendly neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Whitman is also home to the first vegan-certified farm in the nation.


In 2015, Whitman experienced a large surge of young professionals and students who moved into blocks previously occupied by single families. Single family homes still make up the majority of neighborhood occupants, as the Whitman Council fights to preserve the single-family nature of its housing. The Navy Yard reports Whitman to be one of the most desirable neighborhood for Navy Yard young professionals due to its proximity to the Navy Yard and nearby amenities.

According to the 2000 Census, Whitman has 26,300 inhabitants (combined with Queen Village and Southwark). The racial makeup of the community is White, 60 percent; Black, 27 percent; Asian, 8 percent; Latino, 5 percent. About 40 percent of the population is under 18. It has a large Catholic Italian American population and very large Irish American population as well. The 2010 Census showed progressive changes in demographics, including an increase in total inhabitants, with a marked increase in Asian American and young professional population.


Mostly two-bedroom row homes that later were expanded to include extra rooms; most are constructed from brick. Many homes have front lawns. Some special areas in Whitman were built in an urban-meet-suburban style to have front lawns, driveways, and garages. Some of these exclusive neighborhoods include the notoriously sought after Saint Michael Dr and Saint Christopher Dr, named after their respective saints.

Major landmarks

  • Baby Saigon, 320 Oregon Ave.
  • Burke Playground, 2nd and Jackson.
  • Mifflin Square, Fifth and Wolf Streets.
  • Murphy Recreation Center, 300 W Shunk St.
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 2319 S. Third St., which is more than 100 years old.
  • South Bowl, 19 E Oregon Ave.
  • Whitman Library, 200 Snyder Ave.
  • Whitman Plaza shopping center, Fourth Street and Oregon Avenue.
  • YPC Shari-Eli synagogue, 728 W Moyamensing Avenue

The George Sharswood School and SS United States are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Origin of the name

When the neighborhood was declared an urban-renewal area in the mid-1950s, the nearby Walt Whitman Bridge also was being constructed. It was only logical, then, to lend the poet's name to the neighborhood as well.

Famous residents

  • Joey Coyle, who stole $1.2 million that fell from an armored truck. His story was developed into a 1993 movie, Money for Nothing, starring John Cusack.
  • Jim Kenney, the 99th mayor of Philadelphia, grew up in the Whitman neighborhood and once served as a board member of Whitman Council Civic Association.

District and local organization

State Senate district

  • First, Larry Farnese (D)

State House district

  • 184th, William Keller (D)

City Council district

  • First, Mark Squilla (D)


  • 39th

Police district

  • Third

Civic groups and town watches

  • Whitman Plaza Community
  • Pennsport/Whitman Town Watch
  • Whitman Council, which holds monthly meetings and distributes bimonthly newsletters.
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