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What's Happening in:  Bella Vista :  Passyunk Square 

Realtor mumbo jumbo alert: “Southern Bella” neighborhood

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Something in the real-estate listing for last week’s SoPhilly Spotlight, the former Jehovah’s Witness Hall at 1235-37 Federal St., made us do a bit of a double-take that we figured was worth circling back to.

The realtor is trying to call that neighborhood “Southern Bella,” going so far as to describe the boundaries of this mystery designation. Says the listing:

The Southern Bella section of Philadelphia is nestled east of Broad Street and west of 9th street, with Washington Avenue bordering the north side and Dickinson Street serving as the southern boundary. South of Bella Vista, just southwest of the Italian Market, northwest of East Passyunk Square, and southeast of the Avenue of the Arts.

Um, OK.

It’s undoubtedly a reference to Bella Vista, but it just happens to carve out about 80 percent of the area within the boundaries of the existing Passyunk Square Civic Association (Washington to Tasker, 6th to Broad). And many South Philly folk consider it sacrilege to call anywhere south of South Street anything but simply “South Philly.”

We emailed the realtor to see where he came up with that designation, but he hasn’t gotten back to us yet. In the meantime, have any of you actually heard of “Southern Bella” before?


11 Responses to Realtor mumbo jumbo alert: “Southern Bella” neighborhood

  1. Suzanne August 5, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    Actually a more accurate description of our neighborhood is Southwark — the name of the Post Office on Dickenson Street. The area was originally referred to as such after the Southwark section of London. This area was considered the “country” or boundary area of the city during the Revolutionary War hence the English name. However, I understand that the Passyunk Square designation works better because of the retail nature of the street and, of course, the fountain in the Square. JMHO!

  2. AnthonyG August 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Perhaps LoMo could become EPX del Sur?

    • spf5000 August 6, 2014 at 9:01 am #

      I second the motion.

  3. zreese August 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    I normally call that area Southwark, and the area on the other side of 9th Dickinson Narrows. No clue why or where it came, just one of those things.

    • Lee O'Neill August 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

      Before1850 or so, Southwark was a separate town that was everything south of South St until it faded into sparsely populated farmland to the west and south. In other words, Southwark was Queen Village, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, and whatever parts of South Philly were inhabited – not much at the time. In the 1840 census, Philadelphia was the 2nd biggest city in the country but Northern Liberties and Southwark were in the top 10 as separate cities

  4. cg August 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    ignorant realtor. Lost any credibillity when “East Passyunk Square” is used. Clearly doesn’t know what he/she’s talking about. Needs a slap upside the head.

    • Constance August 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

      ROFL! I’ll hold him, you slap him.

  5. Josh August 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    The remains of Passyunk Square are now called Columbus Square. It is not where the Singing Fountain is located. Before it was Passyunk Square, it was a dusty parade ground for the exercises of the local militia, and it abutted Moyamensing Prison where Acme now stands. It was designated a park, planted and named. It is outside the westernmost boundary of Southwark. It would have been in Moyamensing township.

    • Constance August 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

      Columbus Square is what this neighborhood was called when I bought back in 1993. The realtors have tried to make it sexy by calling it Avenue of The Arts district.

  6. j-hi August 6, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    I don’t understand the point of people who use these archaic, pre-consolidation names like Southwark which describe a time and place that don’t exist anymore. If you’re going to go back that far in time you might as well be using Lenape names to describe the place.

  7. Kørgüll the Exterminator August 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    Southern Bella, well, I do declare. I’m getting the vapors!

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