Fairhill Elementary, RIP 2013

Fairhill was the first school I visited that was not in a majority African American community, but in a Latino community.


Painted over simple locks on the front doors.  As with many schools, you have to be buzzed in through a security system.  Schools are not open, inviting, neighborhood institutions like they were when I was a kid just 20 years ago.


Leif cavorts with the kids at recess under a blooming tree.


A vibrant mural wraps around the school, which has a fence on the first floor roof with an overhang to prevent breaking and entering.


Kids at play on the large lot- no gardens or play structures here.


Caddy corner to Fairhill lay the remnants of Northeast High School one of the oldest schools in Philadelphia, opened in 1903.  The High School was moved, and a new High School, the Edison High School was opened in its place in 1957.  The school was relocated in 2002, leaving the building abandoned until a fire destroyed it in 2011- making for some weird pictures of smoke pouring out through solid stone masonry.


Signs for the ‘no drug zone’ in front of the Northeast High School… did the signs work?


The comcast building peeps out from being the old Edison/Northeast High building.Image

Is Edison High  a harbinger of things to come for Fairhill?


Ancillary education programs in ornate and abandoned buildings line the streets near Fairhill- like this ‘Asocicion de Musicos Latino Americanos.’  That their sign has been removed after many years of advertising is perhaps a broader message of disinvestment.



3 thoughts on “Fairhill Elementary, RIP 2013

  1. OMG….. .today i just happen to wake up this morning thinking about my childhood and how i use to love going to this school… fairhill… when i was a kid so then i go to google the school as i remember the good old days just to find out its no more.. how sad.. oh wow.. this school was an amazing school growing up .. i’ve had so many fond memories.. of it .. such a shame… thank god you still have some photos that i can always remember…

    • Hi Tatianna. I’m a reporter from WHYY and I am doing some updated research on the 23 school closings, and primarily the ones that are still vacant. I’m looking for people who remember the school well. I apologize for contacting you through the blog but I think talking to real community members would benefit the news story. If you are interested in talking to me, I can give you my work email.

  2. I went to Fairhill Elementary in the 1950s and lived on West Cambria Street. I remember my grandmother walking me to the beautiful brick school that was Fairhill at that time, the wonderful teachers I had, and the names of some of my classmates: Lily Jean, Linda, Claire, etc. I left in the 4th grade and moved out-of-state. At that time it was a lovely area with wonderful people and Fairhill Elementary was a gift. It held bazaars every year; we had music, and much joy. It is tragic at what has happened to so many neighborhoods and schools.

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