Manayunk’s Revitalization Story: A look at the history and future of Manayunk

The area known as “Flat Rock” was settled in the late 1600’s and became an industrial center due to the abundance of waterpower, and later, its proximity to the Reading Railroad. Manayunk emerged as the country’s center for textile manufacturing during the mid-19th century.

Main Street in the early 1900’s remained a business and commerce center tied to Venice Island industry rather than a commercial retail shopping district. Prior to the completion of the Manayunk Canal, completed in 1818, industries were small scale and typically served a local market. After the turn of the century, and with the increase of suburban residential growth in Roxborough and Wissahickon, the South side of Main Street was fully developed and Main Street shifted to retail shopping and entertainment, plying to local trade. 

Today, while still maintaining its roots as a working-class community, Manayunk has shifted to a younger, upper middle-class population. Restaurants, nightlife, outdoor activities, theaters, and the arts are all factors that draw in professionals and families to settle down in this neighborhood.  Manayunk was named a National Historic District in 1983 and a Classic Town by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in 2007. It is only 16 minutes from the region’s primary destinations, including King of Prussia and Philadelphia International Airport. Easily accessible by car, train, bus, or bike via I-76, SEPTA Regional Rail, bus stops throughout the commercial district, and the Schuylkill River Trail.  

In recent years, the ribbon was cut on the Manayunk Bridge Trail, which connects Manayunk to Lower Marion, and meets The Cynwyd Heritage Trail allowing walkers and bikers to enjoy Historic Manayunk and beyond. In addition to more than a half million visitors each year, Manayunk is seeing an increase in developmental density bringing in new retailers and residents, adding to their reverberant community.

Exciting new restaurants and retailers along Main St Manayunk include Blondie, The Volstead by Unity, The Friendly Dog Bakery, and Kismet Co-Working.  Click here for more information on events in Manayunk.