The northeast corner of 12th & Locust Streets sits in the center of a neighborhood teeming with restaurants, bars and apartment buildings. In several of its past lives, however, this location primarily served the interests of education. Bryn Mawr College tells us that a school was erected here between 1827 and 1828. The Locust Street Grammar School would operate here through the rest of the 19th Century. Hexamer & Locher’s Philadelphia Atlas shows the site of the school in 1858.
The Locust Street Grammar School at the northeast corner of 12th & Locust, 1858
Philadelphia Architects and Buildings shows that the school continued to serve the children of its neighborhood right up to the turn of the century. The wood cut pictured here is dated to 1897.
The latest rumor to come down the pike comes from Michael Klein, who says that Sylva Senat, Tashan's opening chef, has signed a lease for the space. Guess a signed lease qualifies as a little more than a rumor, eh? What we find most interesting about this story is that the new restaurant won't apparently be opening in the space we see today.
The supported plans included forty-four units, with six studios, thirty-two one bedroom apartments, and six two bedrooms. The plan for the building from Cecil Baker + Partners was slated to begin in the spring of 2012. As you can see from the current photos, the building still looks like dreck.
In the latter part of the 19th century, Philadelphia was well known for its preponderance of groundbreaking and important banks. The Franklin Savings Fund was not one of these. To the contrary, the building at 917 Walnut St. would earn notoriety as an early example of greed and malfeasance at an American bank. The image here below, taken from G.W. Bromley’s 1875 Philadelphia Atlas, shows 917 Walnut St. during the Franklin Saving Fund’s occupancy. Its neighbor at 915 Walnut is identified in the same image as Cyrus Cadwallader, Treasurer for the Fund.
The 1100 block of Locust St. offers a mix of modern construction, neoclassical architecture and standard Philly rowhomes. The north side of the street, 1111 Locust St., is dominated by a large structure. According to Hexamer & Locher’s Philadelphia Atlas, this was the site of a school in 1858.
The 1100 block of Locust St, a school in 1858
As the surrounding neighborhood grew, so too did its industry. The north side of the block in question became home to “the old established and reliable firm of Messrs. R. F. Bancroft & Son, whose iron works are located at Nos. 1109 and 1111 Locust Street.” This according to Illustrated Philadelphia: Its Wealth and Industries, 1889, which also credits Bancroft & Sons with contributing iron to such city landmarks as The Philadelphia Library and the Bank of the Republic. It would appear, however, that Bancroft did not survive long at this location after the turn of the century. The Department of Records shows Locust Street looking west from 11th in 1917, with the stretch in question occupied by a handful of unidentifiable businesses.