South Philly

Don't see too many of these around

Last week, we were exploring in South Philly in our efforts to bring you an update on construction at "South Bowl". On our way down there, we came upon an interesting looking home at Front & McKean.

The home

We can only think of one other home that we've seen in Philadelphia that looks anything like this one. It's located at 22nd & Carpenter across from Julian Abele Park, and we've always kind of fancied it.

At 22nd and Carpenter

What do you think? Is this an attractive style? Or do you think it stinks? 

Could they open later this year?

We were purchasing some affordable yet stylish Swedish furniture over the weekend, and figured, hey, why not take a quick jaunt down to Oregon Ave. to see what's going on at the South Bowl site? You may recall that way back in November of 2011 we told you that plans were in the works for a bowling alley, a bar/restaurant, a music venue, billiards, an arcade, and batting cages at 19 E. Oregon Ave., right next to I-95. For many years, this location was home to Thomas Colace Co., a company that processes and distributes produce to food service businesses.

In the past

The building looks a little different these days.

The area surrounding 7th & Snyder in South Philly is largely defined by aging facades and fading colors.  But there was a time that the neighborhood flourished around this key intersection.  In the late 19th century, at least as early as 1870, the northwest corner was home to a church congregation. The image below, taken from G.W. Bromley’s 1895 Philadelphia Atlas, shows the Snyder Avenue Baptist Church.

The Snyder Avenue Baptist Church, 1895

According to Philadelphia Buildings, the location became the Calvary Baptist Church by 1901.  The congregation’s run under this name would be short-lived.  Cinema Treasures tells that the Grand Theatre would replace the church by 1911.  Hereafter, the Grand became a popular draw in a thriving neighborhood.  The photos below show the theatre in 1927, when a combination of live Vaudeville performance and silent films attracted locals.  Taken from the Irvin R. Glazer Theater Collection, these images show the interior and stage of The Grand during this time.

'Bout time

Last spring, we wondered about the fate of a huge warehouse in Lower Moyamensing on the northwest corner at 12th & Jackson. Now we know: developer Tony Rufo of Rufo Properties plans to redevelop the former brush factory into the Artisan Lofts, 164 luxury style apartments with 62 parking spaces and a doorman (yes, a doorman. Yo!)

View of the warehouse

Rufo appeared before the Lower Moyamensing Civc Association in December, the Passyunk Post reported. Rufo plans to build an additional two buildings that would make for five total on the site. According to the South Philly Review, the factory was first constructed in 1926 and has remained vacant and bruised since 2005.

There was a haze of dust in the air yesterday evening in South Philly as an L&I crew worked to demolish what was left of 426, 428, and 430 Daly Street. As you've probably heard by now, a contractor attempting to light the pilot light for a new hot water heater in the basement of 428 Daly Street yesterday set off a gas explosion that severely damaged adjacent homes, caused injuries for nine people, and resulted in an evacuation for most of the block.

Police and fire on the scene
Looking down Daly Street.

Amazingly, most of the injuries from the explosion were minor. With the exception of the contractor, who is in critical condition at this time, all of the people who were sent to the hospital have been released. We hope that the man who's still in the hospital has a speedy recovery.