Blocks We Love: 1400 Block of East Montgomery Avenue

Living across a historic cemetery can be an asset year-round, not just around Halloween! Though the 1400 Block of East Montgomery Avenue is nestled in the heart of Fishtown, it is not your quintessential Fishtown block.

 

Typically, a Fishtown block consists of neatly packed two-story brick townhomes, a decent showing of small trees and (hopefully) a parking spot or two amidst the car-lined street.

 

Instead, on the 1400 Block of East Montgomery Avenue, stately three-story brick-and-brownstone townhomes comprise one side of the street, opposite the lush and deeply historic Palmer Cemetery, which supplies some extra parking to boot.

 

Studded with brownstone lintels and a colorful array of cornices, the classically detailed townhomes are highlighted by the abundant natural light that facing the cemetery affords.

 

The colorful cornices (left) of 1400 East Montgomery Avenue, and its shaded yet sunny stoops (right)

 

To state that Palmer Cemetery is a piece of living history is not an oxymoron, but an understatement. The cemetery is as old as Fishtown itself, and much older than the Fishtown neighborhood name.

 

Anthony Palmer founded the neighborhood in 1729 when he purchased 191.5 acres to create the town of Kensington. Within Kensington, Palmer envisioned a burial ground with free plots for all its residents, a vision that was carried out by his daughter in 1749.

 

Several centuries later, Fishtown residents can still be buried there upon meeting the same condition that Palmer prescribed: residing or owning property in the neighborhood.

 

Palmer Cemetery provides much more than a place for eternal Fishtown residency; it is a beloved destination for a weekend stroll or for shade provided by the biggest trees you’ll find in Fishtown.

 

Cared for by a dedicated group of volunteers, the well-tended cemetery is surely appreciated by the residents of 1400 Block of East Montgomery Street, who can soak up its greenery and history from their front steps.

 

For more information about Palmer Cemetery, including information on volunteering, click here.