Drexel Hill, Philadelphia Information
Drexel Hill is a census-designated place in Pennsylvania and part of the greater Philadelphia region. It is one of the longest continually occupied parts of Pennsylvania, having been originally colonized by Swedish colonists as part of “New Sweden” in 1638. Drexel Hill is home to the Lower Swedish Cabin, which is one of the oldest log cabins in North America. Along with similar log cabins, it is through to demonstrate how the building style, originally developed for harsh Swedish winters, was developed by the Dutch and later English colonists to handle New England winters. Drexel Hill has been continuously occupied by European colonists, settlers, and farmers in turn, and then American citizens from the American Revolution until today.
Drexel Hill, Philadelphia Details
Currently its population consists primarily of middle-class families descended from Irish, Italian and German immigrants. Most families are old, having lived in the region for no less than four generations. Median household income is approximately $65,000 with less than 5% of the population being at or below the poverty line. This places it as being slightly wealthier than the state of Pennsylvania generally. Unemployment is low, with less than the national average of unemployment. There are approximately 30,000 residents within the 3.2 square miles. Half of the population consists of married couples, with a further quarter being families. Most of the neighborhood consists of first-time home buyers, with a few retirees. Most residents commute to work and are employed professionally.
The neighborhood has been home to several notable residents. Most notable is Dick Clark, who lived in the area during the 1950s before his selection to host American Bandstand. James Joseph “Jim” Croce was born in the neighborhood and grew up there as part of its vibrant Italian-American community. The Nobel-prize winning chemist Alan Graham MacDiarmid chose to retire in the neighborhood and is buried at the local Arlington Cemetery. Thomas Garrett, the famous abolitionist, was born on Thornfield estate within the neighborhood, which has now been converted into a national monument and Underground Railroad Museum, as well as a Quaker heritage museum.
Drexel Hill is not a formally incorporated municipality and has no government. All services are obtained by agreements with nearby Philadelphia County municipalities, primarily those from Upper Darby Township. It is home to four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, as well as five parochial schools and one private elementary school. All public schools are within the Upper Darby School District, which is a fully integrated school system with roughly an even mixture of black and white suburban students. There is a 92% graduation rate and offers both special education and gifted student programs. All Upper Darby Township high schools offer dual enrollment programs with Pennsylvania State University system. Athletic programs are offered equally to male and female students, and all major sports are provided.
The neighborhood is served by the SEPTA trolley system into Philadelphia as well as the Upper Darby bus network, which is integrated into the county bus network. The only major road passing through the neighborhood is Township Line Road, which is part of the US 1 highway. As its name implies, it passes along the edge of the township generally and does not enter the township proper. Police protection is provided by the Upper Darby Police Department, with fire services provided by the Upper Darby Township Fire Department. The Fire Department is fully staffed by trained professionals during weekdays and by volunteers during the weekends, with union firefighters on call for emergencies. Trash pickup is subcontracted to various companies operating under license from the Upper Darby Township.
The neighborhood has slightly higher property taxes, as such fees must be sent to the county generally to pay for leased services, with property taxes amounting to approximately $3,459 per $100,000 worth of assessed value. This is comparable to other neighborhoods within the Upper Darby region and the greater Philadelphia region generally and is the result of it being almost exclusively residential with no major commercial or industrial districts. The neighborhood is almost entirely suburban and is served by a few small commercial areas only. Traffic is light, with most roads being exclusively residential in nature. Commute to downtown takes approximately 25 minutes by car or 45 minutes by public transportation.
Most houses were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s in response to increasing demands for suburban housing. Most properties are built using a brick exterior with wooden interior. Apartments are present, but family homes are most common. Housing prices are low, with most houses in the $200,000 range, and many costing as little as $100,000. This places housing prices at the low end of suburban Philadelphia and makes Drexel Hill one of the most affordable suburbs within the county. Most homes are intended for small or young families, with two or three bedrooms being most common.
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