Spring Garden is a neighborhood in central Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, bordering Center City on the north. Spring Garden is a neighborhood that combines diverse residential neighborhoods and significant cultural attractions. The residential areas on the north side of the neighborhood (North of Spring Garden Street) are composed mostly of brick and brownstone three-story townhouses built during the mid-to-late 19th century. The houses include townhouses in the Italianate style, Second Empire, Queen Anne, and Venetian Gothic. Many streets (including Green Street and Spring Garden Street) include “terraced” set ups, which include a small gardened plot, often raised, in front of the house. The residential areas to the south are dominated by taller, multi-family buildings built during the 20th century. The museum area, also to the south of Spring Garden Street, includes the Rodin Museum, the Central Library of Philadelphia, and the Barnes Museum.
Finkel defines Spring Garden as “North of Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Fairmount Avenue, Broad Street to Schuylkill River.” The Philadelphia Information Locator Service list (augmented from the Finkel 1995 list), repeats Finkel’s definition of the neighborhood’s boundaries. One qualification that should be added is that this definition would have Spring Garden as extending deep into Center City, nearly all the way to City Hall. The other boundary that most would agree Finkel omitted is Vine Street. The Spring Garden Civic Association limits its purview to only the northern half of the above definition, as “between Spring Garden Street and Fairmount Avenue and between Broad Street and Pennsylvania Avenue/Fairmount Park.”
The neighborhood includes the Roberto Clemente Playground, which was renovated in 2011 and includes a “sprayground.” The neighborhood also includes “The Spring Gardens” community garden which covers an entire city block. The block was cleared in 1996 and was turned into a community garden composed of over 180 garden plots that are cared for by neighborhood families.
Spring Garden is located in the Laura Wheeler Waring Elementary School catchment, although a significant portion of the neighborhood’s elementary-school children who attend public schools attend schools outside the catchment such as Alfred Greenfield Elementary School. Spring Garden is the home of the Benjamin Franklin High School; Spring Garden is also home of one of the top-ranked public high schools in the city and state, the Julia R. Masterman School at 1699 Spring Garden Street. Although students are, generally, automatically eligible to attend the neighborhood school, they may also attend other Philadelphia Schools (academic magnet schools, performing arts schools, and other out-of-catchment schools) through the school district’s Voluntary Transfer Program.