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  1. #441
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by thoth View Post
    ...
    Also agree with much of the other chatter here and on Inga's column. One question to the oft raised point of population scarcity: where can you feasibly build to actually increase density? The parkland is untouchable a far as large scale development goes, right? The motor lodge is going to be the new toll/whole foods thing. Mormon's are taking the parking lot next to the courthouse Without some serious demolition or auctioning off of parkland, I don't know where you could put much else. Convince the library to drop it's white elephant expansion project?
    in addition to the best western lot and the granary now under construction, there are two large lots on two sides of baldwin park. Personally, I think it's a waste to build a library expasion, scrap those plans in favor of a highrise behind the library. converting family court could add life at night. the church has listed the properties to its north on 18th st for sale, that could be redeveloped. I'd love to see an iconic building on the triangular shaped lot now home to a crappy park, a subway, and the united way. bear in mind 1919 arch and 20th and market aren't far away either. I think parktown could use some added density as well. is it enough? I don't know, but it would be an improvement.
    "It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past"
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  2. #442
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    you could do worse things for the homeless
    You can also do much much better things...

    I don't mean to bring up this well-worn subject yet again, but improving the BFP is not just about buildings and landscaping. It's about cleaning it up and making it a destination that people want to go to. That includes all of the QOL angles.

  3. #443
    Naveen is offline Senior Member
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    Does anyone have an idea of what the Parkway was like in the 30s or 40s, back when the city's population was around 2 million and more heavily concentrated in CC and it's surrounding neighborhoods? It occurs to me that the reason for the big difference in the Parkway as it is, and what people want it to be, may simply be a lack of people.

  4. #444
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naveen View Post
    Does anyone have an idea of what the Parkway was like in the 30s or 40s, back when the city's population was around 2 million and more heavily concentrated in CC and it's surrounding neighborhoods? It occurs to me that the reason for the big difference in the Parkway as it is, and what people want it to be, may simply be a lack of people.
    That would have actually been not long after it was built. Aside from getting people from Center City to the Art Museum, and NW residents downtown, I think it was nothing more than proposals for a long time. There are some really cool models and renderings of those proposals that show what they had in mind for it which were a lot less park like than it is now. It would have been a grand boulevard of French inprired apartments all the way from Logan Square to Eakins Oval.

  5. #445
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan69 View Post
    You can also do much much better things...

    I don't mean to bring up this well-worn subject yet again, but improving the BFP is not just about buildings and landscaping. It's about cleaning it up and making it a destination that people want to go to. That includes all of the QOL angles.
    buildings house people and places theu want to go...such as the new vetri pizzaria.
    "It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past"
    Jonathan Safran Foer

  6. #446
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naveen View Post
    Does anyone have an idea of what the Parkway was like in the 30s or 40s, back when the city's population was around 2 million and more heavily concentrated in CC and it's surrounding neighborhoods? It occurs to me that the reason for the big difference in the Parkway as it is, and what people want it to be, may simply be a lack of people.
    My impression is that this was an industrial area, Baldwin Locomotives, etc. That the residential area was around Logan Square.

    The Parkway (and Art Museum) were supposed to function as the centerpiece of the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition. When Philadelphia couldn't get it together, the world's fair was moved to what is now the Stadium district. There was also supposed to be a new Episcopal cathedral (instead, started in Andorra, now St. Mary's & Cathedral Village), and new buildings for Philadelphia cultural institutions lining the Parkway.

    I don't remember housing being much of a priority in the plans.

  7. #447
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenStone View Post
    My impression is that this was an industrial area, Baldwin Locomotives, etc. That the residential area was around Logan Square.

    The Parkway (and Art Museum) were supposed to function as the centerpiece of the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition. When Philadelphia couldn't get it together, the world's fair was moved to what is now the Stadium district. There was also supposed to be a new Episcopal cathedral (instead, started in Andorra, now St. Mary's & Cathedral Village), and new buildings for Philadelphia cultural institutions lining the Parkway.

    I don't remember housing being much of a priority in the plans.
    by get it together I imagine you mean that the mayor owned a lot of property in south philly. I think the schuylkill was industrial bu the parkway was a mix like much of the rest of the city

    1915
    not sure of the date here, logan sq is intact

    it loosk like it led straight to the railroad's front door

    1916

    model from 1911
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  8. #448
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenStone View Post
    My impression is that this was an industrial area, Baldwin Locomotives, etc. That the residential area was around Logan Square.

    The Parkway (and Art Museum) were supposed to function as the centerpiece of the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition. When Philadelphia couldn't get it together, the world's fair was moved to what is now the Stadium district. There was also supposed to be a new Episcopal cathedral (instead, started in Andorra, now St. Mary's & Cathedral Village), and new buildings for Philadelphia cultural institutions lining the Parkway.

    I don't remember housing being much of a priority in the plans.
    Pardon me for quibbling, but planning for the Parkway - and its construction - began well before the Sesquicentennial Exposition, and the road was opened to traffic by 1921. This is the first place I've heard anything about the Parkway being planned as an exposition ground. Certainly the early plans I've seen don't seem to show any sort of development proposed that would resemble a World's Fair midway.

    (Though the Parkway itself was inspired by one: the one at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the launchpad for the City Beautiful movement.)
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
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  9. #449
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    My 1901 Bromley Atlas shows the north side of Callowhill almost solidly industrial from Broad Street to 22nd, where the railroad tracks disappear under Pennsylvania Avenue. There are tiny rowhouses opposite and mixed in, probably worker housing.

    George Thomas gives a hilarious lecture about all the things that went wrong with the Sesquicentennial. Its initial location was to be centered around Fairmount, and Lemon Hill. There was even going to be a Beaux Arts marina in the Schuylkill. The plans were so grand, and progess on the Art Museum fell so far behind, that the committee considered postponing the world's fair until the summer of 1927.

    The fallback location was South Phila, and, with all the major hotels in Center City, an expanded Broad Street Subway was to whisk the thousands of visitors to the fairgrounds. A great idea, but by summer 1926 the subway had been completed only as far as South Street. A deep trench down the middle of Broad Street made it into a 2-mile construction zone. East-west streetcars could not cross the trench, so passengers had to disembark, walk across boards over the trench, and board another car. And the mud of that rainy summer made traveling anywhere near South Broad Street miserable.

    Thomas argues that the mismanaged Sesquicentennial was the inspiration for the vaudeville jokes about Philadelphia, including those by W.C. Fields. Fifty years earlier, one-fifth of the nation had come to Philadelphia and been wowed by its industrial prowess. 1926, not so much.

  10. #450
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    huh, so sometime over that 50 years corruption became too entrenched? I had always heard that the mayor forced them into south philly to make money. league island park (the lakes) was built in order to control flooding problems so the land could be developed.

    interesting stuff anyway
    Residents also actively protested the original proposed site for the fair in Fairmount Park. Worried that taxes would be increased for an enterprise that would only benefit real estate and commercial interests, they argued that Philadelphia needed housing and new infrastructure, not an international party. Church leaders warned the fair would attract criminals and other undesirables. Labor feared higher prices resulting from increased numbers of visitors to the city. Because unemployment was low, they saw no need for temporary jobs, which they believed would attract people from out of the city and add to competition for jobs after the fair. Management feared higher wages and losing workers to jobs at the fair ground.

    Opposition coalesced in the Anti-Sesquicentennial League. Even Mayor Moore, who resigned as SCEA president in May 1922 in part because of his clash with Bok and in part because he realized that public support for the enterprise was thin, came out publicly against the fair by the end of 1923. ..By the time W. Freeland Kendrick (1873-1953) became mayor in 1924, little planning for the fair had been accomplished. Kendrick, a member of the Republican political organization headed by William Vare (1867-1934), took charge of the SCEA. He abandoned the Fairmount Park site and relocated the fair on previously undeveloped land in Boss Vare’s backyard in South Philadelphia just above the Navy Yard at League Island. Vare and his associates cared little about the vision for the fair. Instead, they focused on the profits they would earn from city contracts and increased property values. The swampy land was drained and filled in (with dirt excavated from the North Broad Street subway project), and construction began on the exposition’s buildings in the fall of 1925...When construction was complete the fair offered an impressive collection of buildings. Five large “palaces,” or exhibition halls, provided acres of indoor exhibition space, and pavilions represented thirty-one states, four territories, and nine foreign nations. The city built the permanent, horse-shoe-shaped Municipal Stadium (renamed John F. Kennedy Stadium in 1964 and torn down in 1992), measuring 710 by 1020 feet, on the fair grounds. ..In spite of the fact that fifty million people lived in the region within 500 miles of the fairgrounds, thus prompting predictions that thirty million people would visit the exposition, only 4,622,211 people actually paid to attend (of 6.4 million total attendees). Attendance figures were so bad by the end of June that the organizers decided to violate the city’s 132-year old Blue Laws and open on Sunday. The act allowed people who worked six days a week to attend, but it angered the city’s Sabbatarians, still a force in 1926. Poor attendance prompted fair organizers to keep the grounds open for the month of December to give concessionaires a chance to sell remaining stock...There were several reasons for the fair’s failure. The bickering among its organizers and public opposition was compounded by bad word-of-mouth advertising that stemmed from the ongoing construction when it opened, and bad weather—it rained 107 of the 184 days the fair was open.
    Sesquicentennial International Exposition | Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

    doesn't sound much different than today's Philadelphia...constant bickering
    "It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past"
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  11. #451
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    Minor nit about the Broad Street Subway: Work began on it in 1915 and was suspended the next year. Work resumed in 1925, but in 1926, the year of the Sesquicentennial, the subway was still a year away from opening from Olney Avenue to Walnut-Locust. The station at Lombard-South opened in 1932 and the South Philadelphia extension to Snyder Avenue, a WPA project, five years later.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
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  12. #452
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naveen View Post
    Does anyone have an idea of what the Parkway was like in the 30s or 40s, back when the city's population was around 2 million and more heavily concentrated in CC and it's surrounding neighborhoods? It occurs to me that the reason for the big difference in the Parkway as it is, and what people want it to be, may simply be a lack of people.
    I think you've hit the nail on the head. Even with Park Towne Place to the south and the apartment houses to the north, the Parkway west of Logan Square has never had the residential density to make it a bustling pedestrian place.

  13. #453
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenStone View Post
    I think you've hit the nail on the head. Even with Park Towne Place to the south and the apartment houses to the north, the Parkway west of Logan Square has never had the residential density to make it a bustling pedestrian place.
    The area through which the Parkway was bulldozed was largely residential below Vine Street and largely light industrial above it, thanks to the nearby City Branch. But it didn't really matter what it was, for the buildings in a wide swath on either side of it above Logan - er, Circle - were completely razed.

    Work on Park Towne Place began in 1958. The Philadelphian, the large apartment building in the 2400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue opposite the Art Museum, dates to about the same time. The other high rises along Pennsylvania Avenue are not that much older - I think the oldest dates to shortly before World War II. IOW, the Parkway has been bereft of residents since it was built, and it was no different when the city had more residents than it does now.
    Sandy Smith, Wanderer in Germantown, Philadelphia
    Editor-in-Chief, Philly Living Blog - but all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
    ""Jazz and blogging are both intimate, improvisational, and individual -- but also inherently collective. And the audience talks over both." --Andrew Sullivan, "Why I Blog," The Atlantic, November 2008

  14. #454
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naveen View Post
    Does anyone have an idea of what the Parkway was like in the 30s or 40s, back when the city's population was around 2 million and more heavily concentrated in CC and it's surrounding neighborhoods? It occurs to me that the reason for the big difference in the Parkway as it is, and what people want it to be, may simply be a lack of people.
    Actually, in the 30s and 40s, the city's population would have been LESS heavily concentrated in CC and surrounding neighborhoods. CC until recent years was much more commercially geared than it is today. In fact, I'm fairly certain that CC has a higher population now than at any point in history, because of so much residential infill and commercial conversion. Immediately north was largely industrial, as others have noted, and south of CC were neighborhoods that were sliding downhill and beginning to see some of the first real, prevalent vacancy problems.

    Now overall there were more people, but I think, again, as others have noted, that the real problem is that they A) demolished a bunch of existing residential units and B) didn't build enough new residential to make up for it. If anything, in the 30s and 40s the parkway would probably have been much more heavily trafficked by autos than people as there were A) no adjacent highways and B) literally no new residential complexes.

  15. #455
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
    The area through which the Parkway was bulldozed was largely residential below Vine Street and largely light industrial above it, thanks to the nearby City Branch. But it didn't really matter what it was, for the buildings in a wide swath on either side of it above Logan - er, Circle - were completely razed.
    I suspect you're right about the density, but some of the Callowhill corridor was heavy industry. Baldwin Locomotives took up several of those blocks, and their furnaces melting iron to be cast into locomotives were running 24-hours a day. There were also tool manufacturers, and the business end of the U.S. Mint on Spring Garden. The whole area would have been smoky, smelly and noisy.

    Elizabeth Robins Pennell makes an observation, I think in OUR PHILADELPHIA, that the Parkway made commuting by automobile practicable (I'm guessing from Chestnut Hill-Germantown).

  16. #456
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenStone View Post
    ...The whole area would have been smoky, smelly and noisy.
    ...
    uhh...as opposed to what? surely not the rest of Philadelphia? Sandy mentioned that what residential does exist is a result of development decades after the demolition of both the neighborhoods and the business.
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  17. #457
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    Quote Originally Posted by thoth View Post
    Actually, in the 30s and 40s, the city's population would have been LESS heavily concentrated in CC and surrounding neighborhoods. CC until recent years was much more commercially geared than it is today. In fact, I'm fairly certain that CC has a higher population now than at any point in history, because of so much residential infill and commercial conversion. Immediately north was largely industrial, as others have noted, and south of CC were neighborhoods that were sliding downhill and beginning to see some of the first real, prevalent vacancy problems.
    Yeah, I suppose even though the city had half a million more people, they were probably all living in what are now the vacant lots and blighted buildings of North and West Philadelphia. I believe I read somewhere once that in the early 20th century West Philadelphia was the city's largest residential community. And perhaps if things had stayed that way, the Parkway would have more foot traffic, since both North and West Philly can at least access the Parkway by foot (as opposed to the Northeast and much of the Northwest).

  18. #458
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naveen View Post
    Yeah, I suppose even though the city had half a million more people, they were probably all living in what are now the vacant lots and blighted buildings of North and West Philadelphia. I believe I read somewhere once that in the early 20th century West Philadelphia was the city's largest residential community.
    Bingo

  19. #459
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naveen View Post
    Yeah, I suppose even though the city had half a million more people, they were probably all living in what are now the vacant lots and blighted buildings of North and West Philadelphia. I believe I read somewhere once that in the early 20th century West Philadelphia was the city's largest residential community. And perhaps if things had stayed that way, the Parkway would have more foot traffic, since both North and West Philly can at least access the Parkway by foot (as opposed to the Northeast and much of the Northwest).
    More or less the deal as I understand it. Also interesting is that, according to old planning documents, up until the 1950s North/south Philly (really any area with dense rowhomes) had severe overcrowding problems as often times multi-generational families would cohabitate in the same rowhome, there were larger family sizes, etc. Surely the case in many american urban centers around this time. I remember my grandma justifying flight from Trenton because she and my grandpa, plus three kids, were sharing the upper floors of a rowhome on South Broad st with his brother and mother.

    Sure this wasn't all that uncommon back then. Probably just as symptomatic as the EXTREME population growth places like Philadelphia experienced during high immigration decades (nearly 300k new residents per decade at the peak!) as it was the great migration and stalled post war housing construction.

    Funny to think about multi-story project towers, FHA loans and suburbanized expansion into the NE and Eastwick being proposed as a solution, but that was the calculus at the time.

  20. #460
    eldondre is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by thoth View Post
    More or less the deal as I understand it. Also interesting is that, according to old planning documents, up until the 1950s North/south Philly (really any area with dense rowhomes) had severe overcrowding problems as often times multi-generational families would cohabitate in the same rowhome, there were larger family sizes, etc. Surely the case in many american urban centers around this time. I remember my grandma justifying flight from Trenton because she and my grandpa, plus three kids, were sharing the upper floors of a rowhome on South Broad st with his brother and mother.

    Sure this wasn't all that uncommon back then. Probably just as symptomatic as the EXTREME population growth places like Philadelphia experienced during high immigration decades (nearly 300k new residents per decade at the peak!) as it was the great migration and stalled post war housing construction.

    Funny to think about multi-story project towers, FHA loans and suburbanized expansion into the NE and Eastwick being proposed as a solution, but that was the calculus at the time.
    philadelphia actually did a pretty good job housing workers over the years. it seems likely that crowding was an issue relates to both an influx of people for decades and poverty. my grandmother lived in west philly with several family membera during the depression because they lacked money. after the depression/war they all eventually got their own places. not much happened during the war. the solution prior to the 50's was privately built rowhouses. of course the depression made the old ways illegal through redlining, standard lot sizes etc. zoning was also fairly new.
    Last edited by eldondre; 02-12-2013 at 08:32 PM.
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