Callowhill is a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. It is roughly located in the vicinity of Callowhill Street, between Vine Street, Spring Garden Street, Broad Street, and 8th Street. It is named for Hannah Callowhill Penn, William Penn’s second wife. Callowhill was formerly home to large-scale manufacturing and other industries, of which an architectural history has been left in the form of grand old abandoned factories. During the 1970s and 80s, the population of Callowhill plummeted, and although numbers are rising, it is a fairly unpopulated section of the city compared to surrounding neighborhoods. Recently developers have started to employ adaptive reuse projects, converting them into loft style housing; so much so that many have termed the neighborhood “The Loft District.”
Callowhill is physically cut off from its neighbor to the south, Chinatown, by the Vine Street Expressway. This has largely prevented Chinese businesses from spreading north, although some industrial and storage uses by the Chinese community have been placed in Callowhill. Vine Street is also blamed for the abrupt drop in pedestrian life above Chinatown, and the struggle faced by efforts to redevelop this section of the city that lies between Center City and North Philadelphia.
The former Reading Railroad train trestle, the Reading Viaduct, is a defining feature of the Callowhill neighborhood. Neighborhood groups have proposed that the abandoned structure be maintained as a public park, the most original and civic-minded of these is VIADUCTgreen. Philadelphia Traffic Court is in Callowhill, at Spring Garden Street and North 8th Street.