A new book by James McClelland, executive director emeritus of the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Lynn Miller, professor emeritus of political science at Temple University, landed on our desk recently with a resounding thud. City in a Park: A History of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park System is a thick and terrific compendium of everything that’s in our city’s biggest green space and how it came to be. It includes fodder for a ton of future “Things You Never Knew” posts, but we’ll start with this one, chock-full of obscure facts about the lovely, historic Fairmount Park mansions, whose names are familiar but whose stories may not be. Special holiday note: The mansions “dress up” for Christmas and are open for tours; this year’s version, which begins on Thursday, has “The Twelve Days of Christmas” for its theme. You can visit six historic houses — Mount Pleasant, Lemon Hill, Strawberry Mansion, Cedar Grove, Woodford and Laurel Hill — for just $20 with a holiday pass. Read more »
It’s been a long time coming, but here it is: Eastern Lofts is set to open in early 2016.
Repurposed from the bones of the former American Railway Express Garage – otherwise known as the Eastern Building – at 3002-28 Cecil B. More Avenue (map), Eastern Lofts will breath new life to the site in the form of thirty-seven modern loft-style apartments with commercial space that includes a day care, coffee shop, and two open loft office spaces that are available for lease.
Tenants can expect to be welcomed in January, according to a project spokesperson, who added that a shared conference room will be onsite for commercial tenants.
Conceived by Gregory Reaves and partners in 2013, work officially commenced on the long-anticipated development in May 2015. Reaves, the Principal Managing Member at Mosaic Development Partners, is the owner of the site.
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Early Thursday morning, a 39-year-old woman found the bodies of her parents in their Strawberry Mansion home. Police responded to a report of a woman screaming.
Family members identified the couple as Gladis and Rufus Perry, the aunt and uncle of deputy streets commissioner Donald Carlton. No signs of foul play were observed. Police have ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning but have not yet yet classified the deaths as a homicide.
Around 10:40 this morning, a large chunk of an imminently dangerous building on West Diamond Street fell on top of two workers for Gama Wrecking. A witness to the events at 3026 Diamond told Action News “it was a freak accident, wrong place at the wrong time.”
It’s an unfortunate reality that demolishing imminently dangerous buildings — L&I’s current bailiwick — is itself a dangerous task, even when, as in this case, workers adhere to every safety regulation and procedure and wear all required gear.
An operational database of L&I complaints/incidents will be up and running by late 2015 — hopefully. Until then, building complaints and collapse incidents get public notice only in news accounts, like those about the building collapse in Strawberry Mansion on Monday.
The Daily News’ William Bender estimates it’s the fifth collapse in the past month. The building, which was cleaned and sealed by L & I in 2006, had been reported several times by local resident Mary Felder to no avail.
When a fire in Strawberry Mansion engulfed a storefront and apartment above it this morning, dad of the year Eddis Manzanillo quickly realized that running downstairs wasn’t an option for him and his two kids, aged 10 and 13.
With fraught conversation over vacant land and properties in the news almost every day, it’s gratifying to see the occasional example of what can be done when one individual decides to fight for a dilapidated building and turn it around.
Case in point: This creatively reinvented, highly livable two-bedroom home on a side street was just an abandoned corner rowhouse when a local photographer Jacob Hellman, a collagist and scholar of abandoned buildings, fell in love with it. He liked the location, in particular: One block from Fairmount Park, in a neighborhood some would call Strawberry Mansion but a realtor would call Brewerytown, the house is tucked away on a quiet street, across from an empty field, in an eerie but oddly soothing post-industrial landscape. He also liked the fact that it had a south-facing sidewall that would afford the opportunity down the line for passive solar heating modification.
Once he was able to buy the home, Hellman transformed it from shabby dereliction into one of the neighborhood’s most unique private homes.
The 8th District (above), like all Council districts, is oddly shaped and includes disparate neighborhoods–everywhere from 22nd and Allegheny to Stenton and Hillcrest avenues. Represented by Cindy Bass, the 8th owes $94,151,727–the most of any of the 10 districts.
John Coltrane’s time in Philadelphia–featured this weekend on the radio show American Routes–was the fertile beginning of his development as a unique voice in jazz. He moved to the city as a teen from North Carolina and, along with formal lessons, was embraced by the thriving African-American jazz scene here and the many musicians who came in and out from New York. As one of the genre’s legends, Coltrane’s influence has been felt by generations, yet the properties he’s owned have had a rough time of it.