Parkwood  is located in the Far Northeast section of Philadelphia, to the east of Roosevelt Boulevard. The community is situated between the Poquessing Creek and Woodhaven Expressway. The neighborhood was developed in the late 1950s as a planned residential community. The predominant housing type is the brick row home. Today the housing is in generally good condition and property values are approaching $200,000 for the row homes. Parkwood has a neighborhood shopping center as well as the regional Franklin Mills Mall which is located immediately to the east of Parkwood's residential area.
Unlike some other Philadelphia neighborhoods, Parkwood shows little signs of age. Most of the structures in the neighborhood are less than 50 years old, so there are not many visible indications of this neighborhood's history. Parkwood used to be a Native American settlement. The Algonkian and Iroquois Nations originally inhabited the area. The dominant Algonkian group, the Lenni-Lenape, settled in this area because of the proximity to the Poquessing Creek, where fishing, hunting, and water resources were readily accessible. Despite their dependence on water, the Lenape created well-established paths to major features in the region. Early explorers and European settlers, who arrived in the 1600's, utilized these paths, which became wagon trails and major highways such as Knights Road, Bristol Pike and Roosevelt Boulevard.
In 1645, Swedish settlers moved into the area and were soon followed by the English Quakers. Unofficial sources report the area was named "Byberry," after one of the first settler's hometown of Bibury, England. Others argue that William Penn suggested the name. In any case, the spelling varied for some time until the area officially became known as Byberry Township in 1694. Just before the township was formally established, the Quakers built a Friends' Meetinghouse (1692) at Southampton and Townsend Roads. By 1710 the Quaker Friends' School was built.
As the small village of Byberry began to grow, the first "Free School" opened in 1802. These buildings were reconstructed in the 19th century and remain today. Byberry Hall (1846) served as a meeting place for abolitionists and it is reported that Lucretia Mott spoke here. Because this area was mostly farmland, these buildings created the "town center" of this community.
Just on the other side of the Poquessing Creek, The Red Lion Inn, located along the historically important road Bristol Pike, opened in 1730. It was here that George Washington and the Massachusetts delegation reportedly stopped before attending the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The Poquessing Creek area was developed with several mills during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Though none of the structures of the Knight's Mill (1750), Townsend Mill (1767), and Carter Mill (1838) remain standing, there are intact stone arch bridges representing this historic period along the Poquessing Creek.
By the late 1700s, as the Byberry Township village grew, the Lenni Lenape were moving out from this area. The Native American culture was acutely observed and recorded by one of Philadelphia's most significant forefathers, Dr. Benjamin Rush. He settled in Byberry Township in closer proximity to the mouth of the Poquessing creek at Keswick and Rayland Roads. Benjamin Rush recorded the medicinal treatments the Indians used. His historic contributions and credentials, too long to list in full, include being appointed to the Continental Congress and signing the Declaration of Independence; and being appointed physician-general in charge of hospital patients in George Washington's Army. Known as "The Father of American Psychiatry," Dr. Rush's medical accomplishments included training Meriweather Lewis as a medic on the Lewis & Clark expedition, and treating many patients during the Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia. Today, there is a memorial marker to Dr. Rush at the site of his family home.
By 1854, the City of Philadelphia annexed Byberry Township and in the late 19th Century, Byberry Hospital was built. This hospital became the Philadelphia State Hospital in 1906. When the hospital finally closed in the 1970s, its site to the east of Roosevelt Boulevard was divided into two major sections for use as an industrial park and the Benjamin Rush State Park.
During the late 1950's the majority of the housing was built by the Korman Corporation as a planned community. A neighborhood commercial center was added in the 1960s at Byberry & Academy Roads, and it is still owned by Korman. During the late 1970's and early 1980s, the City established Byberry Industrial Park and approved the development of the Franklin Mills Mall on the former Liberty Bell Racetrack. Soon after, the Philadelphia Community College opened its Northeast location in the Parkwood area.