Society Hill is a neighborhood in the Center City section of Philadelphia, loosely defined as bounded by Walnut, Lombard, Front and 7th Streets.
Society Hill contains the largest concentration of original 18th- and early 19th-century architecture of any place in the United States. Society Hill is noted as a charming district with cobblestone streets bordered by brick rowhouses in Federal and Georgian style.
The district is named after the 18th century Free Society of Traders, which had its offices at Front Street on the hill above Dock Creek. Located close to both the Delaware River and Philadelphia’s civic buildings, including the Independence Hall, the neighborhood soon became one of the city’s most populous areas.
Several market halls, taverns and churches were built alongside brick houses of Philadelphia’s affluent citizens.
In 1957, Edmund Bacon, the executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, awarded developer-architect firm Webb and Knapp the competition for the redevelopment of Society Hill. Architect I. M. Pei and his team designed a plan for three 31-story Society Hill Towers and low-rise buildings.
The towers and townhouses project was completed in 1964, while the entire plan was completed in 1977. Architect Louis Sauer designed dozens of rowhouse projects for the area around Society Hill, including Waverly Court and Penn’s Landing Square.