overbrook park philadelphia

Overbrook Park in Philadelphia

Overbrook Park is a vibrant neighborhood located West Philadelphia. This community, which sprung up in the 1940s, has a rich history and a unique cultural blend. It sits on the site of what was once Supio’s farm and offered fresh housing opportunities for World War II veterans and their families.

Geographical Boundaries

Overbrook Park is bordered by Overbrook to the east, Penn Wynne to the north, and Upper Darby to the south and west, with Havertown also lying to the west. The principal thoroughfare of this neighborhood is Haverford Avenue, which extends into Penn Wynne across City Avenue, where it transitions into Haverford Road.

The neighborhood spreads approximately four city blocks from west to east along City Avenue, and around ten smaller blocks from north to south on either side of 76th Street. Overbrook Park is home to Lamberton School, named after Robert Eneas Lamberton, a former Republican mayor of Philadelphia. Lamberton School, which used to be a K-12 school and the only one of its kind in Philadelphia, is now a K-8 school. The school is located at 75th Street and Woodbine Avenue.

overbrook park philadelphia

Cultural Heritage and Demographics

Overbrook Park was once a hub for a large Jewish population, with both an Orthodox and a Conservative synagogue. Most of the Jewish residents have since relocated across City Avenue (U.S. 1) into neighboring Penn Wynne in Lower Merion Township. However, the Jewish communities on both sides of the border are considered a single unit, connected by an eruv, a wire affixed to telephone and electric poles, which allows religious Jews to carry items on Shabbat.

In 1990, Overbrook Park housed some 7,200 residents, predominantly of Jewish, Italian, and Irish origins. During the mid-1990s, the neighborhood began to transform into a majority African American community. By 2000, nearly 60% of the neighborhood’s population was African American, which has now increased to approximately 81%.

Traces of Jewish Culture

Despite significant demographic changes, the neighborhood continues to host several kosher establishments, including a kosher bagel store, a kosher pizzeria, and a kosher bakery. There was also a kosher sushi restaurant that opened in late 2015 on Haverford Ave, but it has since closed. R&R Produce and Fish, which was in the same shopping center as New York Bagels, also recently closed when the owners retired after decades of operation.

In 2017, Chabad of Penn Wynne and Congregation Beth Hamedrosh, both formerly of Overbrook Park, were awarded a grant by The Kohelet Foundation to assist with promoting Overbrook Park as an affordable neighborhood for young Jewish families. Starting with Rosh Hashana in September 2020, Chabad of Penn Wynne is now located in Overbrook Park in the same shopping center that is home to New York Bagels. This marked the return of a synagogue to Overbrook Park after 13 years.

Famous Personalities

Overbrook Park is the birthplace of actor Seth Green, known for his roles in numerous films and television series. His birth in this neighborhood adds a touch of Hollywood glamour to its vibrant history.