Roxborough in Philadelphia

Roxborough, a quaint neighborhood in Northwest of Philadelphia, presents a blend of rich history, picturesque landscapes, and a vibrant community spirit.


Roxborough is a flourishing neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its strategic location, bordered by the Schuylkill River and the Wissahickon Creek, lends it an idyllic charm. Beyond Roxborough to the northwest lies Montgomery County. The neighborhood is well recognized by its ZIP Code 19128.

A Glimpse into the Past

The area now known as Roxborough was once part of the Roxborough Township, which was later incorporated into the City of Philadelphia after the Act of Consolidation, 1854. The neighborhood’s history is deeply intertwined with the development of Philadelphia itself.


The Origin

The Native American trail, the Manatawny, which is now Ridge Avenue, played a pivotal role in the organized development of farms and plantations in the area. The road, originally maintained by local Swedish settler Peter Rambo, was renamed Ridge Road in 1690. The area was subsequently renamed Roxborough, likely named for Roxburghshire, Scotland, the ancestral home of Andrew Robeson, an early settler of the area.

The Industrial Revolution

The advent of the industrial revolution brought prosperity to the area. Local waterways powered various mills, transforming farmland into elegant Victorian streets. The community thrived with the establishment of numerous religious and recreational organizations, and the construction of a local hospital.

Modern-day Roxborough

Since the 1950s, Roxborough has housed most of Philadelphia’s major television and FM radio stations’ transmission towers due to its hilly terrain and high elevation. The tallest of these towers, the American Tower, stands approximately 1,250 feet tall. Today, Ridge Avenue, once a throughway, is a bustling destination lined with eateries, shops, and local businesses.



Roxborough’s geographical charm lies in its connection to Center City Philadelphia, with multiple bus routes and bike lanes reaching the river and downtown area of Philadelphia. The neighborhood is well-served by SEPTA’s Manayunk/Norristown Regional Rail line and is conveniently located near Philadelphia University and St. Joseph’s University.


The area of Roxborough was likely named for Roxburghshire, Scotland, the original home of Andrew Robeson, one of the first settlers of the area. In 1706, a German philosopher named Johannes Kelpius wrote about “foxes burrowing in rocks” in the area, leading to the phonetic spelling “Rocksburrow” that was popularized by the local residents.


Education has always been a priority in the neighborhood, with the School District of Philadelphia operating public schools like Shawmont Elementary, Cook Wissahickon, and Roxborough High School. The neighborhood also houses the Walter Biddle Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences and Lankenau Environmental Magnet High School.

Public Libraries

The Free Library of Philadelphia operates the Roxborough Branch at 6245 Ridge Avenue at Hermitage Street^9^. The Roxborough – Manayunk – Wissahickon – East Falls – Andorra Historical Society also maintains an archive room in the Branch.


Parks and Recreation

The area abuts the Wissahickon Valley Park portion of the Fairmount Park system, offering numerous trails for cyclists, runners, walkers, dog owners, and mountain bikers. The area also houses several recreational centers like Kendrick Recreation Center, Roxborough Pocket Park, Upper Roxborough Reservoir Preserve, and the Roxborough YMCA.


Ridge Avenue and Henry Avenue serve as the main thoroughfares through the neighborhood. SEPTA’s Manayunk/Norristown Line connects the neighborhood to Center City, and the area is also served by several SEPTA bus routes^10^.

Points of Interest

Roxborough houses several points of interest like Dalessandro’s Steaks, a popular cheesesteak eatery, the Church of St. Alban, Leverington Cemetery, and the Valley Green Inn, the last remaining roadhouse in Philadelphia.

Roxborough, with its rich history, scenic landscapes, and thriving community, offers a unique blend of the old and the new. The neighborhood continues to reinvent itself while preserving its historic charm, making it an ideal place to live, work, and play.