NOAH: Neighbors of Overbrook Association, Overbrook Civic Association


View of the Overbrook Community

History of NOAH

NOAH was established in 2002 shortly after a group of dedicated volunteers worked with then Councilman Michael Nutter and Philadelphia Green to develop median strips on Lebanon Ave between 63rd Street and 66th Street. What had been mud, trash and abandoned tires turned into landscaped islands with curbing that deterred parking and littering.

To maintain these islands and make further progress on quality of life issues, NOAH was formed. Since then, NOAH has worked with Tree Vitalize, planting hundreds of neighborhood trees and collaborated with Mural Arts to create a community mural at 66th Street and Lansdowne Avenue. NOAH has also teamed up with the 19th Police District to monitor neighborhood safety and has held community forums on vital topics.

Future projects include placing decorative signs, banners and hanging plants on main streets, such as Lebanon and Lansdowne Avenues and 66th Street.

History of Overbrook (or what's in a name?)

Until the beginning of the 20th century, Overbrook was a wooded and farmed area and home to a small number of industrialists and executives who'd made their fortunes in steel, coal and gas.

It was one of Philadelphia's first suburbs. Because it was riddled with a number of small brooks, expanded growth of the area could occur only if the streams were diverted and the wetlands and valleys filled in. Shortly after the construction of the Overbrook Train Station in 1867, Mill Creek – which ran through the heart of the neighborhood – was diverted underground into the Philadelphia sewer system. Because the brook was no longer above ground, the neighborhood became known as Overbrook.

As transportation links from central Philadelphia improved, developers constructed apartment buildings, row houses and commercial buildings. Today's neighborhood consists of the large historic homes built by the early industrialists alongside the more modest row houses built between 1910 and 1930.

Several buildings of architectural distinction include the Overbrook School for the Blind and Overbrook High School. Some famous sons of Overbrook include basketball star Wilt Chamberlain and entertainer Will Smith, both graduates of Overbrook High School.

Overbrook is a vibrant neighborhood reflecting racial, religious and ethnic diversity and a great place to live and work.