The corner of 10th & Carpenter Streets is the picture of urban serenity. Bardascino Park is tucked warmly into its Bella Vista neighborhood, its verdant landscape and ample benches insisting that passersby and lunch-breakers stop for a sit. A pleasing tile mural adorns the wall on the west end of the park, next to the bocce court.
The park’s current state is the happy result of renovations completed in 2004. But this corner has seen quite a bit of change over the last century plus. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906, the 2nd Hebrew School in the city’s history stood at this location in a three story building known as Touro Hall. In the image taken from G.W. Bromley’s 1895 Philadelphia Atlas, we can see that the building was known by this name around the turn of the century.
However, the building would receive a minor facelift and a significant repurposing some time after 1910. The photo below, taken from Allen Kraut’s 1995 book Silent Travelers, shows the Fabiani Italian Hospital at its original location on the Northeast Corner of 10th & Christian. The historical marker placed at Bardascino Park during its mid-2000s renovations tells that the hospital was founded in 1904 but makes no mention of its eventual relocation to the Southwest corner of 10th & Carpenter.
While Dr. Giuseppe (or Vincent, depending on your source) Fabiani founded the hospital to serve the fellow Italian immigrants who had come to define his surrounding community, the hospital’s positive reputation would draw patients of various ethnicities. This may account for a 1942 name change. A Philadelphia Department of Records photo from 1954 shows the structure in its final stage, as the Community Hospital.
The historical marker tells that the hospital was closed in 1968, razed in 1977 and re-dedicated the following year in honor of another Giuseppe, one Mr. Bardascino, founder of the Philadelphia Brass Band and long-time manager of the Philadelphia Italian Band.