Originally a group of villages surrounding the falls of the Schuylkill River, East Falls flourished as a neighborhood when Philadelphia began to industrialize in the early nineteenth century. The river was an important resource, and mills along the Wissahickon and Falls creeks turned into small communities.
Scott’s Lane was the heart of industrial activity in East Falls.
“It’s really very, very old,” said Ellen Sheehan, founder and co-president of the East Falls Historical Society. “There used to be quarries all along there and those quarries were used to help build that original screw bridge that you see across the Schuylkill river. The stones from there were used to build different things in the community.”
As businesses closed and left the neighborhood throughout the twentieth century, Scott’s Lane remained a hub of commercial activity.
“There were a lot of stores, businesses, and there were bars and whatever along Ridge Avenue,” Sheehan said. “They have pretty much disappeared except for this commercial business that still exists on Scott’s Lane.”
With the recent wave of development moving into East Falls, the former warehouses and mills along Scott’s Lane are now home to luxury loft apartments and a wide variety of businesses, including glass blowing classes, drone development, and recreational sword fighting.
Traveling up and down the street offers a real glimpse into East Falls’ history and future.