Complete 19th & 20th Century
Philadelphia Neighborhoods

These so-called "ward atlases" or "real estate atlases," published from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, provide a wealth of information about specific neighborhoods, blocks, and even individual lots. Many list property owners for larger parcels, and details about industrial buildings can include the size in stories as well as the materials of construction. These atlases have been a primary source for my research into the underground streams of the city, those that were incorporated into the sewer system and piped beneath the city's streets.

I have photographed many atlas pages for my research at the Free Library of Philadelphia Map Collection, and still use these images in my research and presentaions. However, the two atlases included here are property of myself and the Philadelphia Water Department, and were scanned using a roll-through scanner similar to the type many repro shops use to make blueprints. This method is far superior, as it captures the map images flat and in one piece. We hope to scan more atlases in the future, which I will add to this page as they are completed.

The History of Philadelphia's Watersheds and Sewers

Compiled by Adam Levine
Historical Consultant
Philadelphia Water Department
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These atlases are incorporated into PDF (Portable Document Format) files, which can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader. These files
are large and may not be accessible to users with slow internet connections. I apologize for this, but using the PDF format (instead of posting the plates as individual images, each with its own larboriously-created link on this page) was the most efficient way to get the atlases online.

1887 Bromley Atlas of the 18, 19th, and 31st Wards
(including Kensington and other neighborhoods)
Source: PWD
Mode of reproduction: Roll-through scanner
Index Map (1 mb)
PDF of entire atlas (36 mb)

1927 Bromley Atlas of West Philadelphia
(including all neighborhoods west of the Schuylkill River)
Source: Adam Levine
Mode of reproduction: Roll-through scanner
Index Map (2 mb)
PDF of entire atlas (61 mb)


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Page last modified November 15, 2010