Girard’s country home was on a plot of land he named Gentilhommiere in what was formerly called Passyunk Township of Philadelphia County. He was likely the richest man in the United States when he died in 1831, and he left most of his $6 million estates to the City of Philadelphia.
Girard’s will stated that the city must establish a school for poor orphaned white boys in his name and that Gentilhommiere must not be sold. To meet the second stipulation, the Board of City Trusts, trustee of the Girard Estate, developed 481 rental homes which became the Girard Estate homes.
Most of the semi-detached homes were designed by architects John and James Windrim and were built from 1906 to 1916. The architectural styles included Bungalow, Prairie, Mission, Jacobean Revival and Colonial Revival. They are a marked difference from the typical South Philly row homes.
In 1950, the city received permission to sell all 481 homes of Girard Estate to private owners. All the homes were sold within two years.
In 1979, Girard Estate became a location for “Rocky II.” The crew filmed scenes on the 2300 block of S. Lambert Street for a week. In the film, the character Rocky Balboa bought 2313 S. Lambert St. with his winnings from the bout in the first film. (He even comments on the address, pointing out that the number “almost add up to nine!”) All exteriors were shot on the street; house interiors were shot on a soundstage.
Today, Girard Estate is a mostly Italian American neighborhood, with a smaller Irish population.
Girard Estate Boundaries
Girard Estate, also known as Girard Estates, is part of South Philadelphia. Its boundaries stretch from Mifflin Street on the north to the south side of Pollock Street on the south, and from the west side of Broad Street on the east to 22nd Street on the west. It is named after Stephen Girard whose South Philadelphia property was developed in the 1920s by the City of Philadelphia.
City Council District: 2nd, Council President Anna Verna (D)
Police District: 1st, Capt. Louis Campione; Community Relations Officer Paul Bryson
Civic Groups: Broad Street West Civic Association; Girard Estate Area Residents; Girard Estate Neighbors’ Association
Libraries: Donatucci, 1935 Shunk St.
Schools: St. Monica Junior School, 17th and Ritner streets, and Senior School, 16th and Porter streets; Girard Academic Music Program (once Edgar Allen Poe School), 22nd and Ritner streets; Philadelphia Job Corps, 2810 S. 20th St., Building 12
Places Of Worship: Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church, 2310 S. 24th St.; St. Monica’s Roman Catholic Church, 1714 W. Ritner St.; St. Edmond’s Church, 2130 S. 21st St.; and Trinity Lutheran Church, 2300 S. 18th St., and
Rec Centers: Guerin Recreation Center, 16th and Jackson streets in Newbold.
Parks: Girard Estate Park, 21st and Shunk streets.