WEST PHILADELPHIA

"THE GENESIS OF 'THE CITY ACROSS THE RIVER'"

Prior to 1800, the area immediately west of the Schuylkill River was considered of little value for other than farmland. It was far from the city, the transportation was poor, and, outside of a few taverns, accommodations were rare. It existed only for such transactions that were prohibited in the city -- private auction sales, travelling shows, or evangelistic campaigns.

There seems to have been some commercial works about the west bank at Market Street. In 1774, Job T. Pugh's Augur Works was established in Pugh Alley just west ol 30th Street. It is told that the holes in the yoke of the Liberty Bell were drilled with a Pugh augur. The mill remained at the site in active operation well into the early half of the 20th century.

One stormy day in October, 1800, a new era dawned for the city across the river, for on that day the first stone was laid for a Permanent Bridge across the Schuylkill River at High (Market) Street. By January 1, 1805, after many engineering difficulties, the completed bridge was opened to the public.

Previously, the Middle Ferry, run by the disputatious Mr. England, and later by Acquila Rose (who was drowned operating it), and then by James Coultas (whose home, Whitby Hall, was at about 58th and Florence Avenue from whence we get Whitby Avenue) had been superseded by a series of pontoon bridges. These proved hazardous and were frequently washed away by the swollen River.

The impetus for a permanent structure came from Judge Richard Peters, of Mantua fame. He saw the need for a safe and easy access across the river at a main thoroughfare if Mantua, or indeed, if any of West Philadelphia was to develop. He was not only the President of the Permanent Bridge Company and promoted much of the finances and legislation required to initiate it, but actually participated in designing it. (Apparently everyone was an amateur architect in those days.)

The bridge was one of the first great bridge enterprises in the country. Its superstructure was designed and built by Timothy Palmer, a self-taught architect (with the able assistance of the Judge). It was the largest covered wooden bridge in the world, being 550 feet long. Its abutment and wingwalls extended 750 additional feet. It was 42 feet wide and consisted of three arches from bank to bank. Because of the muddy west bank, it was necessary to go 40 feet below the water s surface to find rock on which to base the west pier.

The bridge cost $300,000.00 to build, and a toll was charged to cross it, but in 1840, the City purchased it from the Bridge Company and made passage free.

Philadelphians were proud of their new bridge. On January 21, 1806, Howland's Tavern on the west side of the bridge caught fire and was demolished. The night was bitter cold and a high wind was blowing. Despite the frigid air and slippery roads, almost 5,000 persons appeared at 3 o'clock in the morning out of concern for the bridge which was threatened. Fortunately, the story goes, the wind shifted to the west and the bridge was saved. On November 201 1875, however, it was destroyed by fire. A temporary wooden structure was hastily assembled which served for twelve years until a new cantilever bridge was erected. This remained until it was replaced in 1932 by the present bridge.

Stately new residences and new businesses began to filter across the Permanent Bridge. But even as late as 1840, West Philadelphia was regarded as insignificant and confined to a small district around the western end of the bridge, although by that time it did have about 150 buildings and extensive furnaces and manufacturing plants.

At first a number of inns sprang up to greet the thirsty travellers. "The Golden Fish" on the northwest corner of 30th and Market Streets was operated by one young man who sought to promote business by advertising that he would liberate a fox for the benefit of fox hunters.

The William Penn Tavern opened on the southeast corner of 36th and Market Streets (there were several "William Penn" hostelries in the neighborhood).

The Ferry-House was built on the west bank of the Schuylkill just north of the Bridge and in 1870 a large hotel called "The Schuylkill House" was opened on the north side of Market Street just west of the Bridge by a boniface named Peter Evans. About 1847 the famous Sellers family had a steam engine and mill-gearing shop at 30th and Market Streets.

West Philadelphia, however, was destined for greater and more rapid growth. That portion of West Philadelphia which the realtor Edwin M. Blair characterized in 1926 as "The Neck of the Bottle" was even more so in the early 19th century when only Market Street was bridged. After Darby Road was extended into Woodland Avenue and thence to Market Street, traffic from the south bypassed Gray's Ferry and funnelled across the Permanent Bridge as the most direct route to the City. Also adding to the volume of traffic was the flow from the west by way of Lancaster Pike. Only the

drovers and those bound for the Northern Liberties switched off onto Bridge (Spring Garden) Street and took the Upper Bridge.

Old Lancaster Road is one of the oldest in the country. In the early days the land on the west bank of the Schuylkill near the Middle Ferry belonged to the Welsh Friends. No sooner was the City founded than they established a Meeting House at about 30th and Race Streets, known as the Schuylkill Meeting. In 1690 they laid out a road from the Schuylkill Meeting to about where 52nd Street is now (later Hestonville) thence along the present 54th Street to the vicinity of Wynnefield Avenue, and thence to the Merion Meeting. It was said to have followed an old Indian trail and was the beginning of the Lancaster Road.

In different periods it has been called the Merion-Blockley Plank Road, the Old Conestoga Road and is now known as Montgomery Road. Its extension on to Lancaster became the King's Highway and was in active use throughout the 18th century. In 1791 the Legislature authorized a company to construct a turnpike along the road from Philadelphia to Lancaster. It opened in 1795 and was the only turnpike in the country, built at a cost of $465,000.00. In May, 1797 the first regular stagecoach, carrying ten passengers, left Lancaster at 5 P.M. and reached Philadelphia 65 miles away by 5 A.M. the next day. This was truly becoming a land of speed in travel!

Despite the steady growth and its gradation into a District, the streets in West Philadelphia remained for the most part unpaved. As late as 1854 Lancaster Avenue was the only paved way north of Market Street (Washington Street) and this despite the fact that Philadelphia's first Mayor under the Consolidation, the gifted poet, Robert T. Conrad, resided at the corner of Lancaster Road and Market Street.

Prior to 1840 the well-known and much-feared Sandy Creek wound its way across the Borough. Rarely more than ten feet in width, except where it widened into pools, its bed and banks were of a treacherous sand that caught many a wagon wheel in its grip and caused many a sweating teamster to lose his temper in saving his cargo.

It rose from a spring around 40th Street and Lancaster Avenue and ran a southeast course parallel but south of Warren Street, enlarging into a pond at 86th and Filbert Streets. It crossed Market Street just east of 36th Street, forming another pool just south of Market. Continuing southeast it ran along 34th Street to the then intersection of Woodland Avenue and Walnut Street where it again widened into a pond called "Willow Field," a favorite swimming hole. Then it crossed what is now the University of Pennsylvania campus, wound its way through swampland where the railroad tracks now are and emptied into the Schuylkill just above the present South Street Bridge.

West of 34th Street between Oak (Ludlow) and Sansom Streets were two hills divided by James (Chestnut) Street. The one to the north was crowned by a chestnut grove and was called "Chestnut Hill." It was a favorite camping grounds for gypsies and itinerants. The hill to the south was called "Crow Hill."

In 1850 while West Philadelphia was still a Borough, it was divided into three wards. The first stood between the other two and had no name. The second was called the Hamilton Ward and comprised most of Hamilton Village, and the third was the Mantua Ward and consisted of everything northeast of Lancaster Road.

In 1827 organized religion appeared in West Philadelphia. In that year the Asbury M. E. Church began worshipping in an old Quaker schoolhouse at the corner of Oak (Ludlow) and Crammond (33rd) Streets. In 1829 they purchased the land extending from Oak (Ludlow) to James (Chestnut) Streets and built a church fronting on Oak Street. In 1849 an addition fronted on Chestnut Street. On September 11, 1884, a torrid day with the thermometer at 96", the cornerstone was laid for the present existing church.

Since transportation seems to have been the key to the growth of West Philadelphia in all its parts, it might be well to include a description of the area covered by the Pennsylvania Railroad Terminal and its yards. From early times, 30th Street seems to have existed north from the Middle (Market Street) Ferry, first as a mere lane, then as a road called the Upper Ferry Road, and later with the advent of the bridge, Bridgewater Street.

The land east of 30th Street to the River was low and flat. From the time it passed out of the hands of Warner, it was owned by Quakers and used as a common burial grounds. In 1806 the Society of Friends claimed it had been given to them by a Quaker named Duckett who sometime during the previous century had been one of the numerous keepers of the Middle Ferry. The Society's claim to its ownership was disputed by the City. The Society brought the matter to an issue in 1809 by prohibiting decedents of any other denomination to be buried in its grounds.

The ensuing legal controversy soon became a matter of heated public discussion, but was finally settled ten years later by the Society agreeing to relinquish its claim to the City's Board of Health provided that the land remained a burial place forever. Just how the City overcame this bar is not clear, but when the Pennsylvania Railroad began operation in 1850 all the land was sold to it. However, it is known that previous to this time a portion of the ground was termed the Powelton Fair Grounds, and each year a country fair was held there.

In 1864 the Railroad erected a station at 30th and Market Streets which was, as it is today, the principal depot for New York and the West. (In those days the trains did not go directly into the city.) This station was abandoned when a larger one was built at 32nd Street in 1876 to accommodate the crowds coming to visit the Centennial Exposition. After 1881 when the trains began to run into the new terminal at Broad Street opposite City Hall, its importance declined, and on April 18, 1896 the West Philadelphia building and much rolling stock was destroyed by a half-million dollar

The Railroad did much to accelerate the growth of West Philadelphia. Its route took it from the High (Market) Street Bridge along the west bank of the Schuylkill River to about Aspen Street where it veered off to the northwest eventually running along Merion (now Mantua) Avenue with the Hestonville Station at 52nd Street above Lancaster Avenue, exactly where the station is today. This was the site of the old Heston Mansion which had been standing since 1800.

Much also was contributed to West Philadelphia growth by the horse-car lines which made local stops. There was probably some desultory service about 1852, but prior to 1860 there was no regular passenger railway existing on Market Street. Even after that date the cars only ran as far west as 41st Street.

Actually, the growth of Market Street beyond 40th Street had been very slow and most of the area beyond 41st Street was farmland. The Miller Estate began beyond 40th Street and the Miller Mansion stood for many years on the south side of Market Street west of 40th Street where the Fays Theatre stands today. In the early days of the 20th Century this theatre was known as the Knickerbocker (one call still make out the name on its highest faÁade) and rivalled the William Penn on Lancaster Avenue for its melodramatic presentations. (The famous Mae Desmond and her troupe later performed there.)

One gets some idea of the open space existing at 41st and Market Streets on reading that on July 30th, 1894 Professor John Wise made an ascent from there in a gas balloon "purely for scientific purposes," and got as far as Millville, N. J. before being grounded. On August 20th of the same year, Professor Wise tried another ascent from the same place taking with him a passenger, one Dr. William Wahl. Apparently, they are still aloft for there seems to be no record of their descent.

Expansion seems to have begun with a rush after the Civil War. In 1866 the Chestnut Street Bridge, designed by Strickland Kneass, was opened and Chestnut Street, which heretofore had been little more than a dirt road, was graded and improved.

By 1872, the Philadelphia City Horse Car Passenger Railway had a line (green car-white lights) that ran from 22nd and Chestnut Streets across the bridge to 41st Street where the terminal stables stood. (In 1883 this terminal was destroyed by fire with a loss of 1~50,000.00.) It was rebuilt and used until the 1940's when it became a supermarket, and is now occupied by a lithographic firm.

In 1904 the Chestnut Street trolley still ran out only to 45th Street. About then the line was extended south to Spruce Street, then west to 61st Street. In 1928 the tracks were removed entirely from Chestnut Street and located on Spruce Street.

In 1865 the Market Street Horse Car Passenger Railway (yellow cars--red lights) came out Market Street from Front as far as 41st Street, and then north to Haverford Avenue where the terminal stood. (The building is still used as a bus barn.) At this depot, one changed to the West Philadelphia Passenger Railway (green cars-white lights) which travelled out Haverford Avenue to 54th Street thence south to Vine, west to 66th Street and return. This line contributed greatly to the Haddington section development.

From the Northern Liberties and District of Spring Garden came the Race and Vine Streets Passenger Railway (yellow cars--red lights) crossing the upper Ferry Bridge and out Bridge (Spring Garden) Street to Lancaster Avenue to the depot at 41st and Lancaster Avenue. Here, after 1859, one connected with the Hestonville, Mantua and Fairmount Passenger Railway (yellow cars-red lights) which went west on Lancaster Avenue to 52nd Street (Hestonville).

One could also go to the terminal of the Darby Passenger Railway (organized 1857) at 49th Street and Darby (Woodland) Road (the depot is still in use as a car barn) where one took passage (red car--white lights) for Darby.

Despite all this transportation, West Philadelphia grew little beyond 42nd Street. By 1904 the asphalt paving on Chestnut Street went only as far as 46th Street. A jagged road carried the street further west to 51st Street. Here the street was again paved and lined with a row of newly-built two-story houses extending to 52nd Street. At 5Srd Street the cornfields reappeared. On March 4, 1907 the subway-elevated was opened on Market Street and from then on the rapid growth of West Philadelphia was assured.

Toward the middle of the 19th century, West Philadelphia's commercial center began to grow around the busy railroad at 30th Street. South of Market Street and just west of the Bridge was a collection of small commercial and manufacturing buildings.

Lane's Carriage and Wagon Works on Market Street (on a site later to be occupied by the Swift Meat Packing Plant); Detwiler's Flour Mills; Boon's Blacksmith and Wheelright Shop which extended through to Chestnut Street (the Boon mansion was on Ludlow Street and part of the family 1ived there until Drexel Institute acquired the property about 1916). Sage's Harness and Saddlery Shop on Market Street adjoined the building on the southeast corner of 32nd Street designed by the famous Philadelphia architect, Furness. The building is now used by the First Pennsylvania Bank and Trust Company.

The West Chester Railway Station for passengers was in a long frame shack on the southeast corner of 31st and Market Streets. At 30th and Chestnut Streets there was a shoddy mill that burned down June 6, 1871 with a loss of $20,000.

All of these enterprises were overshadowed by the gigantic Allison and Sons Car and Tube Works which covered the area from 32nd to 31st Streets south of Chestnut to the Schuylkill River and which was probably the largest wagon and carriage works in the country. On July 25, 1872 it burned down in a terrible conflagration that destroyed over $200,000.00 worth of property and carried with it the adjoining Mahaffey and Yohe Planing Mill.

Despite the encroachment of commercial uses, many of the mansions and estates held on. The Lockard Mansion stood on property now pirtly covered by the Armory at 33rd Street, Arch Street to Lancaster Avenue. The Lewis Estate was located at 32nd and Race Streets though a part of it ran down as far south as Darby (Woodland) Road.

About 1820 an Englishman built a large mansion on the northeast corner of 32nd and James (Chestnut) Streets. It was constructed of wood with huge gothic windows and called "The Black Castle" because of its dark color. It was replaced by the Keen family mansion, and is now the site of Drexel Institute. The Humphrey McIlvain home on Chestnut Street between 32nd and 33rd was still standing as late as 1917.

On the south side of Chestnut Street running south to Walnut Street was a lot where the horses from Lafferty's stables (Chestnut Street above 3~rd) were pastured. In 1862, when the northern invasion of Lee's Army threatened Philadelphia, earth works were thrown up on this lot as defenses. Later a row of marble fronted homes were built on the Chestnut Street frontage and termed "Marble Row." These were torn down a few years ago to make way for Drexel's Student Activities Building.

About 1875 the area entered a new phase. In that year the Philadelphia stockyards and slaughter houses were established on the grounds at 30th and Race Streets. Packing houses and wholesale retailers began gravitating into the neighborhood. Four years later, the Farmers Schuylkill Wholesale Market opened on the south side of Market Street from 30th to the Schuylkill River, and from then until about 1930 the street teemed with wholesale meat and allied businesses. Stretching along the south side of Market to 32nd Street came the large packing houses of the day Swift's, Armour's, Wilson's, Martin's, and others, their advance stemmed only by the erection of the large Croft and Alien confectionery factory at 33rd and Market Streets in 1888.

Even the destruction by fire of much of the market on March 17th, 1892 did not discourage the victualers. It was only after 1927, when the stockyards were removed to accommodate the new Pennsylvania Terminal and the wholesale market at 30th Street made way for the new Post Office Building, did the purveyors market gradually recede. By 1930, it was gone.

After the Civil War, there were some sporadic building programs that boosted the residential prospects of West Philadelphia. A number of beautiful Victorian mansions were erected in Mantua (the present Powelton Village area). Many of these fine buildings are still standing. Hamilton Village found itself being improved with new residences. It was not until 1875, however, that the real building- impetus was to begin.

The Centennial Exposition of 1876 did much to hasten this movement. Most of the out-of-town traffic funnelled through 32nd and Market Streets Station and the hordes of crowds coming and going to the Centennial grounds found interest and beauty in the West Philadelphia streets.

In one of the Centennial guide books, West Philadelphia is described as "one of the most attractive sections of the city, blending as it does, the beauties of both country and town. It is a location much sought after for private residences and consequently is filled with handsome edifices and delightful villas. That district which lies south of Market Street and west of Darby Road, is decorated with splendid rows of brown and kindred sandstones; while in others, the buildings break away into couples, relieved by bay windows, cozy porches, and mansard roofs, standing in the midst of pleasant lawns -- the section, which is above 32nd Street and north of Lancaster Avenue, will also be found covered with exceedingly attractive homes."

Another force that accelerated residential development was the establishment of two of the institutions that were later to be so important in the conception of University City: The University of Pennsylvania and the Presbyterian Hospital. In 1870 it was decided to remove the rapidly expanding University of Pennsylvania from its location in old Philadelphia to a more suitable campus. The cornerstone for the first building was laid in June, 1871 on an original 101/2 acre tract in Blockley. Additional buildings were erected during ensuing years until, in 1884, the college and hospital covered 27 acres.

The same year that the University Trustees decided to make their move, the Presbyterian Alliance appointed a committee to consider the foundation of a hospital. Dr. Courtland Saunders owned the entire square from Powelton Avenue to Filbert Street and from Saunders Avenue to 39th Street, on which were his mansion and the Saunders Institute which he conducted. Dr. Saunders offered the entire block to the proposed hospital. The following year (1871), a gift of $300,000.00 from John A. Brown permitted the hospital to become an actuality, and it was formally opened as the Presbyterian Hospital on July 1, 1872. (By a coincidence, this was the same day that the cornerstone was laid in Hamilton Village for St. Mary's Presbyterian Episcopal Church at 39th and Locust Streets.)

There was an immediate need created for housing the personnel and others related to these institutions. Following 1875, rows of residences began to be built as far west as 42nd Street. Some of the large estates farther out now began to be sold for development. Clarence H Clark, who later donated the land on which Clark Park now stands, owned the ground from 42nd to 43rd Street, Walnut to Pine. His own Mansion was at the southwest corner of 42nd and Locust Streets and remained there until the Philadelphia Divinity School acquired it. Clark sold most of the adjoining block (Spruce to Pine) to William Weightman, whose builder W. S. Kimball, in 1887, erected houses on 42nd and Spruce Streets, considered splendid examples of Victorian architecture.

In 1850 Jacob Brown had built a house on the southwest corner of 42nd and Pine Streets. Later in the century, Otto Eisenlohr, the cigar manufacturer, erected a palatial residence on the site. This now houses the American College of Physicians.

Farther west, on the grounds at the southwest corner of 45th and Spruce Streets, Charles Moseley Swain, financier and founder of The Philadelphia Record, erected, in 1875, a mansion in which he lived until his death in 1904. He left a fortune of $1,800,000.00, but no will. Mr. Swain's mansion remained until 1960 when it was torn down. On September 20, 1962 ground was broken on the site for the University Mews, University City's first major residential construction in a generation.

Two blocks farther west was the estate of the Rose family whose Trowel Works had been located at 36th and Filbert Streets since 1800. Much of this and the adjoining land was acquired by Anthony J. Drexel and Eli Kirk Price, whose estates held it until the 1920's when the builder, Clarence Siegel, who had previously developed the Siegel Home Town Community in the Cobbs Creek Parkway area, now began a most significant building operation. He created the massive Garden Court Apartment building on Pine Street at 47th and surrounded it with substantial single and twin houses.

Other builders, encouraged by Siegel's project, built in the vicinity, until the entire development reached proportions that were not matched by any other operation in the city until the 1930's. This area encompasses the Garden Court Community Association area and is a significant force in University City's residential potential.

Mention should be made of another area which will undoubtedly have an impact on University City. This is the eastern half of the grounds of the old Pennsylvania Hospital for Insane, commonly known as Kirkbrides. The original grounds ran from 42nd Street to 49th Street and from Market Street to Haverford Avenue. At 46th Street it was bisected by one of the natural villains of West Philadelphia - Mill Creek. This fast-flowing (10 miles per hour), fast-flooding waterway rises in Montgomery County and its 20 feet width raced in a southeasterly direction to cover 5000 acres before it emptied into the Schuylkill River at about 43rd Street. It had the capacity to discharge 300,000 cubic feet per minute into the river.

Throughout the years it has been known by many names, from the Indian Mangenesey, through the Swedish Quarn Creek; Manson's Great Mill Fails Creek; Mill Creek and Smith Mill Creek. By whatever name, the Creek has proven a menace to man! From the olden days when it went on rampages, flooding the countryside, destroying crops and creating seas of mud, to the present, when it periodically cracks the sewer walls built over it in 1855, it has wrought all manner of damage.

In the 1930's a row of houses on Walnut Street between 43rd and 44th Streets were undermined and collapsed, killing one man. Heavy trucks and automobiles standing on 43rd Street, south of Walnut, were apt to disappear suddenly through the paving into the sewer creek. In 1955 an entire row of houses on Sansom Street west of 44th Street collapsed and had to be evacuated. The sewer continually breaks its bounds at 46th and Market Streets causing long traffic tieups and street closings while being reconstructed. The West Philadelphia Corporation suggested in 1962 that the course of the Creek be converted into a series of walkways and small parks to prevent future losses.

To return to Kirkbrides, it was originally purchased by Paul Busti, an Italian who came to Philadelphia in 1799 as an agent of the Holland Land Company, one of the great developers of the American wilderness. There had been a mansion on the grounds since 1794. Busti improved it in 1801 and lived there for 23 years on what he called his Blockley Retreat Farm.

In 1836 the Pennsylvania Hospital purchased it from the Busti Estate. Buildings for the care of the mentally ill were erected, and the mansion was occupied by Thomas S. Kirkbride, the superintendent. Dr. Kirkbride's personality and position in his profession were so strong that the grounds behind the stone wall were called Kirkbrides by generations long after his passing.

In 1913 City Council passed an ordinance to cut 44th Street through the picturesque hospital grounds. The management of the hospital resisted. Citizens took sides and a cause celebre resulted. The Court of Common Pleas sustained the City. The legal battle shifted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and then to the United States Supreme Court which affirmed the power of the City to open the street. Having established its right to do so, the City never cut the street through. In 1926 the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company bought a part of the acreage west of 46th Street and erected its beautiful buildings.

In 1954 the Hospital management determined to sell its land east of 46th Street and reconstruct its buildings between 48th and 49th Streets. It accordingly sold the easternrnost section to Drexel Institute of Technology for an athletic field.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority, seeking a site for a low-cost housing project, proposed to take the 23 acres remaining. Since this was the last substantial open space in West Philadelphia, many diverse citizen groups, led by west area Health and Welfare Council's energetic area field worker, Miss Audrey Maetzoldt, protested and demanded that a substantial portion of the acreage be devoted to recreation and education. The public agencies involved recognized tile validity of this contention and acceded to it. The Department of Recreation retained the Busti Mansion, added to it, and established the Lee Cultural Center devoted to community interests and culture; probably the first tax supported regional cultural center in the country.

The Housing Authority condensed its project to about 6 acres and at this writing is erecting three high rise buildings retaining as much of the natural landscape as practical. The Board of Education purchased a ten acre strip along the Street and plans a complex of elementary school, a junior high school, and a huge athletic field.

During the 19th century, charitable institutions had been attracted by the cheap land north of this district. The Association for the Care of Colored Orphans located at the corner of 44th Street and Haverford Avenue about 1838. (Fifteen years later, a similar organization, The Home for Destitute Colored Children, founded a home on Darby (Woodland Avenue) Road near 46th Street.)

The Western Home for Poor Children, organized in 1857, to care for "poor white children under the age of 12 years who may be entrusted to its care by their fathers, mothers or guardians" had its home at the southeast corner of 41st and Baring Streets. The Old Man's Home dedicated a building at 39th Street and Powelton Avenue on June 13, 1873. Now called the Saunders House, it is still on the site opposite the Presbyterian Hospital. On the northeast corner of Saunders and Powelton Avenues, the Women's Working Home for the Blind was established.

The Rush Hospital for Consumption and Allied Diseases was established in 1892 and three years later located at 33rd Street and Lancaster Avenue - where it remained until the building was acquired in 1961 by Drexel Institute of Technology which, by coincidence, had opened its doors to the public the same year Rush Hospital was established.

Anthony J. Drexel, one of America's great bankers and one of the great promoters of West Philadelphia, encouraged by his life-long friend, the philanthropist George W. Childs, founded the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (since renamed the Drexel Institute of Technology).

Mr. Drexel's original gift of two million dollars enabled the Institute to build the magnificent structure at 32nd and Chestnut Streets which still remains as the center of the Institute. Although its outlook and prospective is national and even international, the Institute remains a West Philadelphia landmark.


Originally published in 1963.
Reprinted with permission of the West Philadelphia Partnership.


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