Society Hill is a neighborhood in the Center City section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The neighborhood, loosely defined as bounded by Walnut, Lombard, Front and 8th Streets, contains the largest concentration of original 18th- and early 19th-century residential architecture of any place in the United States. Society Hill is noted as a charming district with cobblestone streets bordered by brick rowhouses in Federal and Georgian style.
In the 19th century, the city expanded westward and the area lost its appeal. Houses deteriorated, and by the 1940s, Society Hill had become a slum neighborhood, one of the worst in the city. In the 1950s, the city, state and federal governments began one of the first urban renewal programs aimed at the preservation of historic buildings. While most commercial 19th-century buildings were demolished, historically-significant houses were restored by occupants or taken over by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and sold to individuals who agreed to restore the exteriors.
In 1807 Dr. Philip Syng Physick, "Father of American Surgery," introduced artificial carbonated water for the relief of gastric disorders to America. Following Dr. Physick's instructions, pharmacist Townsend Speakman supplied his patients with a glass of soda each day at a cost of $1.50 per month. Following the doctor's instructions, fruit syrup was added to improve taste and thus the American soda was born in Philadelphia.
Virginia Congressman James Madison. Dolley and James remained in Philadelphia at his house at 429 Spruce Street until he retired from Congress in 1797.