Ridge Avenue begins (or ends) around the intersection of 9th and Vine Sts., in the Loft District and a stone’s throw away from the Reading Viaduct. Our favorite route to Roxborough, it meanders in a northwestern direction, through Francisville, North Central, Strawberry Mansion, and East Falls, before continuing on for miles and miles outside of the city limits.

Once a vibrant commercial corridor, Ridge Avenue has come to resemble the deteriorated neighborhoods that surround it (we’re not talking about you, East Falls and Roxborough, so please relax). Even in Francisville, an area that’s certainly on the rise, vacant land and blighted buildings still rule the day on this stretch. In this area, change should come in the years to come. Further north and west, revitalization could be decades away, if it ever arrives at all.

While many of the remaining buildings are extremely blighted, business signs that remain from years past give us a window into what Ridge Ave. once was. Check it out.

Still in Francisville. Vacant land on one side, blight on the other

Also Francisville. This building looks terrible.

Now we're past Girard Ave. This place is still in business.

Not so much here. At least we don't think so.

Unlikely that this was always a church

Home of the giant... plank of plywood.

Old donuts sign

An operating market utilizing a very old sign

Ditto here.

Think they still serve Richman's?

Another active business

Also active, we believe

They are what they say they are

Somehow, only our second favorite sign

Yes, this exists.

As you can see, there’s plenty of history on Ridge Avenue. What will the future bring?