Bella Vista

The northeast corner of 8th & Fitzwater has played a central part in defining its Bella Vista neighborhood for almost 200 years.  Its story begins in 1832, when, according to Philadelphia Buildings, a school serving both boys and girls was constructed on the spot.  The Ringgold Grammar School is shown here below in an image taken from Samuel L. Smedley’s 1862 Philadelphia Atlas.

The Ringgold Grammar School, 1862

The school enjoyed a fairly decent run, enduring nearly to the end of the century.  Philadelphia Buildings shows the school here below in 1897, just before its demise. 

The Ringgold Grammar School, soon to graduate from existence, 1897

Ringgold was closed to make way for the James Campbell Public School (not named after this guy), which, according to the Free Library of Philadelphia, was built in 1899. The Free Library of Philadelphia also provides the 1913 photo below. 

Nice addition that won't fit in

Here at Naked Philly, we have the chance to cover projects large and small, on streets wide and narrow. The 600 block of S. Delhi Street is one of the skinnier residential blocks you'll find in Philadelphia, with barely enough room for a car to make its way up the street. We actually visited this block, with its dangerous proximity to the South Street Whole Foods, once before, sharing news of a new home a couple of years ago.

View of the block

Soon, the block will welcome another new home to the fold at 609 S. Delhi St., which is currently used as a parking space. But not for too much longer.

OSHA must have had their say

Last fall, we told you about a pair of rotting bay windows in Bella Vista, around the corner from the Italian Market. At that time, there was a Stop Work Order posted on the building because the work was apparently being done without a permit. We were frankly more concerned about the dodgy looking setup of the scaffolding, which sat on top of a metal awning.

In November

Apparently the owners sorted out their permitting problems, as the bays have been repaired and the scaffolding has disappeared. Maybe it's silly of us, but we were kind of hoping that they would take the opportunity to replace the unfortunate stucco with some other material.

Recent shot

Then again, the stucco does look pretty sweet. </sarcasm>

A bunch of homes are under construction

Over the winter, when we last checked in on Mildred Court, the twenty-five home development under construction on 8th Street, Montrose Street, and Carpenter Street, the buildings that once stood there had been demolished and formwork had appeared on Carpenter Street. We passed by the other day and discovered all kinds of progress at the site. Most of the homes have been framed out and sheathed, and many of the windows have been installed as well.

Looking down 8th St.
New homes on Montrose St.
Homes on Carpenter St. are the furthest along

In case you don't remember, this collection of new homes is coming from developer US Construction, the same guys who built the collection of homes spanning Christian and Montrose Street a couple years back. Like that project, Mildred Court will be offered as rentals for a few years after they're built, and will then likely go on the market for sale. Also like many US Construction projects, JKR Partners did the design work.

Despite objections from community

A few months back, developers appeared before the Bella Vista Neighbors Association with plans to raze the building that's housed the Klinghoffer carpet showroom for years and replace it with three new homes. They also intended to build four homes across the street where a one-story garage previously stood.


In a vacuum, this sounds like a welcome change for an area that is already predominantly residential, save for a few ground-floor retail spots nearby. The plans call for the demolition of the building at 734-38 Bainbridge St. and the construction of three four-story single-family homes with rear garage access on Perth Street. Across the street, they're looking to build two garage-front homes fronting Bainbridge Street and two on Kater Street. Lily Development, a company that has often worked with Scioli Turco in the past, is the developer here, though Scioli Turco is not involved in this particular project.