The area surrounding the Fumo Family Branch was composed of small farms and marshlands until the mid-1800's. The site of the branch was a farm owned by the same Swedish family for more than 200 years.
Broad Street was named by William Penn. The area below Morris Street was called "the Neck," and Broad Street was the spine of the Neck. Ritner Street was named for Joseph Ritner, the son of a German immigrant who went on to become the governor of Pennsylvania. Most of the streets in South Philadelphia streets south of Mifflin are named for governors who served from 1700 to 1919.
The Fumo Family Branch has had three names during its history. In its first incarnation, a brick Carnegie library was opened at Broad and Ritner on November 24, 1914 as the South Philadelphia Branch. This building was closed when the new South Philadelphia Branch was built at Broad and Morris Streets. However, neighborhood residents demanded that the old library be reopened, at least for children. As a result, the Ritner Children's Library was created, the only library exclusively for children.
On September 3, 1999, the current Fumo Family Branch opened in a new building attached to the Samuel S. Fels Community Center. City Council voted to name the new library after the Fumo Family of South Philadelphia.
A mural by Marie Garafano called "Waiting for the Train" is above the circulation desk. You can also see a bear driving the Broad Street Subway in another mural.