The Story of Nicetown–Tioga, Philadelphia

Nicetown–Tioga is a vibrant neighborhood in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s a unique blend of two smaller, traditional neighborhoods namely, Nicetown and Tioga. The term “Nicetown” is often used to denote any part of the Nicetown–Tioga area.

Neighborhood Boundaries

The geographical limits of Philadelphia neighborhoods are often disputed. Nicetown–Tioga, having no “official” borderlines, is generally perceived to be surrounded by:

  1. Wingohocking Street to the northeast
  2. Clarissa/Windrim to the northwest
  3. Allegheny Avenue and the SEPTA rail tracks to the south
  4. Old York Road to the east

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) recognizes Nicetown as a smaller area enclosed by Wingohocking Street, Broad Street, Hunting Park Avenue, and Clarissa Street. It demarcates Tioga as another smaller area bounded by Broad Street, Hunting Park Avenue, the railroads, and Allegheny Avenue.


A Peek into History and Economy

The Early Days (1700 to 1850)

Nicetown originated centuries ago as a quaint town outside the City of Philadelphia. The neighborhood owes its name to Hans te Neues, a Mennonite immigrant who purchased the land in 1699. Nicetown is replete with stories of its residents, including Captain John Nice of Germantown, who led the charge at the Battle of Germantown during the Revolutionary War.

The term Tioga is a Mohawk and Iroquois word that denotes a place where a stream or river current forks or runs swiftly. This moniker has been associated with North Philadelphia since at least the mid-19th century.

From 1950 to Present

The industrial culture of the area reached its zenith during World War II, but faced decline post-war. With the onset of white flight in the 1950s, the pace of population movement accelerated from the 1960s through the 1980s. Due to these demographic shifts, the neighborhood witnessed an increase in abandoned structures and crime rate.

Educational Infrastructure

Public Libraries

The Free Library of Philadelphia operates the Nicetown–Tioga Branch at 3720 North Broad Street, providing residents with a wealth of knowledge resources. They also run a ‘Hot Spot’ location in Nicetown, focusing on increasing computer accessibility for the residents.

Natural Gas Power Plant (SEPTA)

In November 2016, SEPTA board members sanctioned a $26.8 million Natural Gas Power Plant near Wayne Junction Station. This 8.8 megawatt plant is designed to keep regional rail functioning during blackouts.

Nicetown–Tioga stands as a testament to the rich history and diverse culture of Philadelphia. Despite facing challenges, the neighborhood continues to evolve and adapt, making it an exciting part of the city’s landscape.