Our History

Midtown Village knows its place in history. Since the early 19th Century, the area was considered a vital area of Philadelphia. It was the most frequented and the most animated part of the city’s business district, the haunt of leading politicians, actors and other notables of the era.

In the heart of the district, Ben Franklin conducted his innovative experiment, flying his kite at 12th & Chestnut and changing the course of American History. The very first free Public Library was here, and at one time the US Mint sat center stage in Midtown Village.

John Wanamaker, the pioneering “King of Merchants”, revolutionized retailing when he built his massive department store at the corner of 13th & Chestnut. It was the very first store to use electric lights allowing locals to shop after nightfall.

On the North side of Sansom between 12th & 13th Streets, John B. Stetson established the Headquarters for America’s most famous hat company. Stetson hats brought together function and fashion and were sold the world over.

Today, the Midtown Village Merchants Association is an active and engaged group of businesses. The group was formed in 2006 when the area first began to come alive with renewed vitality after many years of decline. Developer Tony Goldman was the catalyst behind the change to this 13th Street corridor, when he purchased many of its buildings and began the lengthy process of recreating a neighborhood, a merchants corridor and a vibe!

Midtown Village prides itself on being a unique enclave of open minded, independently owned and operated restaurants, hotels, retail boutiques and more. View the Philly businesses making history today.