Activist Ingersoll to lead Headhouse District

Photo Credit: BeauMonde Originals

The South Street Headhouse District will ring in a new year with a new executive director.

Queen Village resident Eleanor Ingersoll was named the District’s incoming executive director, which will take effect Jan. 2

Ingersoll, a parent, local volunteer and resident for more than 20 years, replaces Michael Harris, who announced his resignation in August after 11 years in the position.

Ingersoll believes South Street is on the verge of another period of growth for business and entertainment.

“What I love most about the South Street Headhouse District is its adaptability,” she said. “There have been so many unique phases over the years; from the South Street renaissance to the artistry of the hippies and the imprint of the punk counterculture. I believe we are on the cusp of another definitive era of South Street, one focused on community, creativity, positivity and, of course, support for small businesses.”

The South Street Headhouse District oversees more than 400 businesses in the area between Queen Village and Society Hill and remains one of the most visited areas of the city by tourists. It includes Philadelphia Magic Gardens, Famous 4th Street Delicatessen, Philly AIDS Thrift, Repo Records and the Historic Fabric Row.

“South Street has an undeniable magnetism,” Ingersoll said. “People choose to be here every single day, and we want to support and enliven this commercial corridor with everything we’ve got so that more people make the decision to call South Street home, like I do.”

Ingersoll previously served as the president of the Queen Village Neighborhood Association from 2017-2022 and has served on its board of directors since 2014. She was recently the editor-in-chief for the Queen Village Quarterly Crier magazine, which followed a career in broadcast news.

“Eleanor has been a longtime resident, active civically, and has maintained a great relationship with the South Street Headhouse District,” said John Foy, co-owner of Bridget Foy’s at 200 South St. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Ingersoll began volunteering in the neighborhood when her kids entered elementary school. As chairwoman of Meredith Elementary School Advisory Council, she advocated for collaboration among student programming, instructor support and staff retention. She also served as a board member and the vice president for CHOICE, a community-based organization dedicated to increasing awareness of and access to reproductive, sexual and maternal/child health services. Currently, Ingersoll serves as a committee member for the city’s Historical Bethel Burying Ground Memorial site, which is located in Queen Village and is undergoing a new design.

Once officially taking office with the Headhouse District, Ingersoll will focus on strengthening the organization’s mission of creating and maintaining an engaging and enticing place to work, visit, shop, invest and live.

“After an extensive search of over 100 qualified candidates, Eleanor distinguished herself by a wide margin. Her many years as a resident, her familiarity with the South Street Headhouse District, her track record with the Queen Village Neighborhood Association, along with her extensive contacts within the greater Philadelphia area quickly made her the perfect candidate for the position,” said Ken Silver, president of Jim’s Steaks South Street, which is currently under development with plans to reopen in 2024. “I couldn’t be more ecstatic about our choice.”