The short answer is:
Philadelphia never really had a street labeled: “14th Street”, although Broad Street serves as 14th Street since it sits wonderfully between our 13th and 15th Streets.
Owning a property management company that specializes in Center City Philadelphia, I encounter the city’s best-known arterial multiple times daily. And I’m also the property manager for several properties on Broad Street. I have also sold a few properties on Broad Street.
And like most Philadelphians, and even more so the confused tourist visitors to our city, with map in hand, I’ve wondered many times: “Why no 14th Street?
The answer goes way back in Philadelphia’s history – back when our city was first being laid out, to the eventual become the perfection we call Philly.
So here we go. Hold on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride (Philadelphia has a pothole tradition):
Just one of the many things that makes Philadelphia so great is the incredibly easy-to-navigate grid system to our city’s design. Tell a Philadelphian a street number or what hundred block an address is and we not only can travel it quickly, but we also have a good idea of right where that property is.
But one of our most important streets breaks, and even defies that very system. Pretty cheeky considering Broad Street runs right smack through the middle of Center City Philadelphia.
Broad Street is Philadelphia City Hall, it’s where we have our parades, where our theaters are – it’s our Avenue of the Arts! Broad Street is 13 miles from Philadelphia property landmarks! Broad Street is where we celebrated the Eagles, Phillies, and the Flyer championships! Broad Street in Philadelphia!
And it always was our favorite street: Broad Street was developed as a Philadelphia street going as far back as 1691!
Broad Street even has a place in landlord and property management history with incredible rental properties like the Divine Lorraine.
And that’s why there is no 14th Street – Broad Street came and was named, before the other streets in our grid system!