Friday Flashback

Friday seems like a good day to stroll down memory lane.  What follows is a photograph of High (Market) Street between 31st and 32nd Streets, taken in 1881, ten years before Drexel’s founding and five years after construction of the Centennial Bank Building, now the Peck Alumni Center, the second building in on the right side of the picture just below 3 o’clock:

Market & 31st 1881

Arch Street

Arch Street receives attention in the Public Realm Master Plan, which calls for lining the north and south sides with trees between 33rd & 34th Streets to match the beautiful allee of zelkovas between 32nd & 33rd:


Arch Street west of 33rd:

Arch Street West of 33rd

The Public Realm Master Plan:

W8 Phase1A Book_Page_122

The Slope at Vue 32

Vue 32 is the mixed-use residential and childcare project being developed by the Radnor Property Group with a ground lease from Drexel.  The site at the corner of 32nd & Race has a 12′ drop in grade from the north-west to the south-east corner.  Look at the step ladder in the background of this image of the excavated basement and foundation walls:


The basement will provide underground parking in the finished project:

3201 Race Street Renderings_Page_3

The Public Realm

Drexel is developing a Public Realm Master Plan to guide its stewardship of the built environment.  The comprehensive plan is as follows:

W8 Phase1A Book_Page_122

In subsequent posts, I will describe specific opportunities proposed in the plan.  Just for fun, compare the way the analysis is structured in the plan with an early map of West Philadelphia, published in 1808, 13 years after the opening of Lancaster Turnpike and 3 years after the first bridge over the Schuylkill River connected West Philadelphia to Center City:

W8 Phase1A Book_Page_046

1808 v2

Before Drexel

West Philadelphia was a transportation hub before A. J. Drexel founded the institution bearing his name.  Consider this map of the area from 1862, one year into the War Between the States:


Railroad tracks and structures are clearly visible on the site now occupied by the garage at 3101 Market Street, just north of Santander Bank.  The tracks comprising the Main Line are clearly in place


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