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.
A couple of readers have reached out in recent weeks, asking if we knew the lowdown on the northwest corner of 18th & Latona. A rather unattractive three story building was torn down here about a month ago, and a zoning notice recently appeared on the construction fence. Looking at what was here before, you can appreciate why the building came down.
In the past
One interesting thing to note about this now-demolished building is that it appears to have once been home to a commercial space, like so many other South Philly corners. It's the brickwork and stucco that were used to fill in the larger openings that made the building so tough to look at. But now nobody will ever have to look at it again.
A few months ago, we told you that local gem Valley Green Bank would be taking over a vacant commercial space on the northwest corner of Broad & Tasker. Most recently a WIC office, the building was originally constructed in the late 1960s as a Continental Bank branch. It continued in its original banking use through the 1990s, and was apparently a video store for a time before the WIC office and a mental health office took over in the last decade.
The other day, a reader gave us the heads up about a couple of zoning notices they noticed at 1715 McKean St., but when we made our way over to check 'em out it was the building itself that really caught our attention. Have you ever seen this place in person?
According to the PHMC Cultural Resources Database, this building was constructed in 1921, and designed by W. Timm. And while it was a very impressive home for Abbott's Alderney Dairies, it apparently wasn't their only location in town. A City Paper story from last year (from our old friend GroJLart) tells the tale of another (and also very cool looking) Abbott's building at 30th & Chestnut. According to that story, Abbott's consolidated all their operations at 7th & Packer back in 1964, meaning this structure has stood for nearly fifty years after outliving its original use. And we must say, the outside of the building has held up remarkably well.
As news of and plans for new projects along the waterfront continue to come to light, we often find ourselves wondering what other plans might exist for large and underused parcels situated along the Delaware River. Recently, a reader tipped us off to a proposal for a hotel and marketplace at the Southport Pier, a 120-acre site located just southwest of the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, below Columbus Blvd and Packer Ave., and extending west to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It’s a vision to open up Philadelphia’s presence in the global market.