Whitman, Philadelphia

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George Sharswood School
Whitman is located in Philadelphia
Coordinates: Coordinates: 39°55′03″N 75°09′13″W / 39.91757°N 75.15365°W / 39.91757; -75.15365
Country United States
CountyPhiladelphia County
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.[1] 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.[2]


In 2015, Whitman experienced a large surge of young professionals and students who moved into blocks previously occupied by single families.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

According to the 2000 Census, Whitman, combined with Queen Village and Southwark, has 26,300 inhabitants.[citation needed] The racial makeup of the community is White, 60 percent; Black, 27 percent; Asian, 8 percent; Latino, 5 percent.[citation needed] About 40 percent of the population is under 18.[citation needed] Whitman has a very large population of Irish Catholics.. 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.[3]

Major landmarks[edit]

The George Sharswood School and SS United States are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4][5]


Lawrence E Murphy Recreation Center

Lawrence E. Murphy Recreation Center, 300 W. Shunk St. This 4.9-acre park has playground equipment, a pool, a basketball court, and sports fields. The five-room building has a gymnasium and multi-purpose rooms. The site was renamed in honor of Lawrence E. Murphy in 1964. He was an employee of the recreation department for 37 years. He worked at this site when it was known as "Greenwich Recreation Center."[6]

Mifflin Square, 500 Wolf St. This 4.2-acre park in South Philadelphia has large trees, walkways, playground equipment and a basketball court.[7]

Reverend Edward P. Burke Playground, 200 Snyder Ave. A 1.7-acre site with playground equipment, a basketball court and hockey court. Located adjacent to the Whitman branch of the Free Library. The site was named in honor of Reverend Edward P. Burke in 1963. Burke was pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church from 1950 until his death in 1960. He was a vocal opponent of housing and expressway construction projects that threatened to destroy homes in the area. He was ordained in 1922 and served as a U.S. Army chaplain in WWII, retiring with the rank of major.[8]



The School District of Philadelphia operates public schools in the Whitman neighborhood.

Neighborhoods assigned to Sharswood are also assigned to Furness High School.[11][12]

Public libraries[edit]

The Free Library of Philadelphia Whitman Branch serves the community.[13]

Notable residents[edit]

  • 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.

Edward Mooney, labor leader CWA, AFL-CIO Vice President Mark Squilla, city councilman.

Chuck McQuilkin, Union leader, Philadelphia Firefighters Union Local 22, Philadelphia AFL-CIO Vice President. Richard Lazer Deputy Mayor of Labor city of Philadelphia. Henry "Hetsi"Lewandowski Philadelphia Municipal court Judge. Michael Sullivan Former Traffic Court Judge.

District and local organization[edit]

State Senate district[edit]

  • First, Larry Farnese (D)

State House district[edit]

  • 184th, William Keller (D)

City Council district[edit]


  • 39th

Police district[edit]

  • Third

Civic groups and town watches[edit]

  • Whitman Plaza Community[14]
  • Pennsport/Whitman Town Watch
  • Mifflin Square Patrol
  • Whitman Council, which holds monthly meetings and distributes bimonthly newsletters.[15]


  1. ^ "The place where you live: Whitman".
  2. ^ neighborhood/|title=Whitman: Up and Coming South Philly Neighborhood | Philadelight|date=2015-08-09|newspaper=Philadelight|access-date=2017-02-25|language=en-US}}
  3. ^ "The 2010 Census | Philly". www.philly.com. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  5. ^ "Whitman Neighborhood: Up and Coming South Philly". Philadelight Magazine. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  6. ^ Lawrence E. Murphy Recreation Center 300 W. Shunk St.
  7. ^ Mifflin Square 500 Wolf St.
  8. ^ Reverend Edward P. Burke Playground, 200 Snyder Ave.
  9. ^ "George Sharswood Elementary School Geographic Boundaries" (Archive). School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on November 29, 2015.
  10. ^ "John H. Taggart Elementary School Geographic Boundaries" (Archive). School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on November 29, 2015.
  11. ^ "A Directory of High Schools for 2009 Admissions" (Archive). School District of Philadelphia. p. 15 (PDF p/ 17/40). Accessed November 6, 2008.
  12. ^ "Horace Furness High School Geographic Boundaries" (Archive). School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 4, 2011.
  13. ^ "Whitman Branch." Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 19, 2012.
  14. ^ "Whitman Plaza". www.whitmanplaza.com. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  15. ^ "Whitman Council Inc". whitmancouncil.org. Whitman Council. Retrieved 2016-10-05.