A row of eight ornate West Philadelphia homes has been designated as a local historic district, granting the properties some protection from demolition or alteration.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission voted Friday to designate the Victorian twin homes encompassing 420-34 S. 42nd St. as the "420 Row" historic district, said Kim Broadbent, a preservation planner for the agency.

It's the city's first new historic district since 2010, according to Paul Steinke, executive director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Existing districts include areas of the city such as Old City and Main Street Manayunk.

Nominating documents for the district characterize the eight-home development as the city's first "Streetcar Suburb" and one of three residential blocks designed by the noted architectural firm of G.W. and W.D. Hewitt in 1883.

In most cases, developers seeking to alter or raze properties located in historic districts must get Historical Commission approvals.