East Oak Lane is a neighborhood at the northern end of the North Philadelphia planning district of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Many of the houses in the neighborhood are large single homes or twins built at a later period than much of central North Philadelphia. There is also a fair share of typical Philadelphia rowhouses.
This area of Philadelphia was first settled in 1683 as William Penn's first neighborhood. In the late 19th century, this area was considered a resort. East Oak Lane is defined by the borders of Cheltenham Avenue at the north (the border between Philadelphia and Cheltenham Township), Broad Street on the west, Godfrey Avenue at the south, and the Tacony Creek to the east.
A walk through the section between 65th Ave. and 69th Ave. East of Broad Street will reveal a multitude of architectural styles, especially along Oak Lane itself. Artist Chuck Connelly has painted portraits of some of Oak Lane's admirable houses and posted pictures of his paintings on his web site. At 12th and Oak Lane is Ellwood School, present building built 1957 (in the shape of an "L", but the original schoolhouse was a hexagon). Farther east, the almost fantastic diversity of the homes is what makes this area so unique. Across the railroad, a row of shops, most built later, gives the impression of a small town "Main Street".
Today, East Oak Lane is known for being racially and ethnically diverse.
Linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky grew up in East Oak Lane in the 1930s and 40s at 6417 Fairhill Street, at the time "the only Jewish family in a mostly Irish and German Catholic neighborhood."