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Strawberry Mansion is a neighborhood in the United States city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, located east of Fairmount Park in North Philadelphia. It has a large and predominantly African-American population. The neighborhood is bounded by 33rd Street to the west, 29th Street to the east, Lehigh Avenue to the north, and Oxford Street to the south. As of the 2000 census, the neighborhood had a population of 22,562. It is often associated with the historic house of the same name, Historic Strawberry Mansion, located adjacent to the neighborhood and generally thought to be the source of the community's name.
In 2005, the 19121 zip code, which contains Strawberry Mansion, had a median home sale price of $47,900. This was an 85% increase, the largest of any zip code in Philadelphia, from the 2004 median sale price.
Formerly known as Summerville, the neighborhood takes its name from a house known as Strawberry Mansion, at one time housing a restaurant known for strawberries and cream. Strawberry Mansion was home to a number of Philadelphia's wealthiest families in the 19th Century. It became a mixed-income, predominantly Jewish neighborhood, but since the middle of the 20th century the neighborhood has been struck by economic decline and urban decay. Modern Strawberry Mansion has acquired a reputation as one of the most dangerous areas of Philadelphia. The neighborhood is quite large geographically and in population and has been difficult to police or maintain with historically inadequate city funding. However, as of 2005, the southern and western boundaries of Strawberry Mansion have shown signs of gentrification. Feeding off the mixed successes of its southern neighbor Brewerytown, artist lofts have been planned in derelict factories. Additionally, property values have risen dramatically on properties which abut Fairmount Park on the western boundary of Strawberry Mansion. A number of stately park-side homes in varying states of disrepair can be found in what was once one of the wealthiest areas in all of Philadelphia. Several structures have already been completely restored, in an area that was ignored for decades, but crime and frequent shootings continue to plague the area.
Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane lived at 1511 North 33rd Street in Strawberry Mansion from 1952 to 1958, and later bought it for his mother. The John Coltrane House is currently owned by his cousin, and it is designated a National Historic Landmark.
Strawberry Mansion has also been home to horses and urban cowboys for generations. One local group, the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, provides activities and support to neighborhood kids in the struggling area.
The community is located at the intersection of 33rd Street and Diamond Street, east of Fairmount Park and the Schuylkill River. The Residential Development Authority defines the community as being bounded by the Amtrak train tracks, 29th Street, 33rd Street, Lehigh Avenue, Ridge Avenue, and York Street.
The School District of Philadelphia serves Strawberry Mansion.
Strawberry Mansion High School is in the neighborhood.
The high school and the area middle school shared a building with a third school, Leslie P. Hill Elementary School, which is now a K-8 school. Many children attend elementary, junior, and high school without leaving the building.
Allen Meyers, Strawberry Mansion: the Jewish community of North Philadelphia, Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2000.