West Philadelphia's Parkside neighborhood is blessed with some of the most beautiful architecture in the entire city, an unbeatable location adjacent to Fairmount Park, and easy transit access to the Center City and University City job markets. Most of the beautiful old buildings along Parkside Ave. date back to the 1876 Centennial Exposition that was held in Fairmount Park and reflect the grandeur and promise of Philadelphia at that time.
In more recent times Parkside has had a rough time, with much of the neighborhood succumbing to abandonment, deferred maintenance, and crime. However a bit of information from this article about the Please Touch Museum, which recently moved to Memorial Hall just off Parkside Ave., gives some reason for hope that the neighborhood may be able to stage a comeback. The article states that in less than a year of operation, 660,000 people have visited the Please Touch Museum. This is great for the museum itself - more than triple the number of visitors it had during its last year at its old location - but may be even better for the Parkside neighborhood as a whole. With this many people coming through the area, investment dollars can't be far behind. The city's attempt to brand the area as the Centennial District and the arrival of the new Lowe's and Shoprite-anchored shopping center at 52nd & Lancaster should also help to create a true sense of place in a neighborhood that's just waiting for a catalyst to kick-start its revival towards its former glory.