Wayne Junction has been undergoing a transformation on the east side of Germantown, near the regional rail station. And just steps from Germantown Ave. comes 113-29 Berkley St., right around the corner from the Frank Furness-designed Wayne Junction Station, which was designated as part of a historic district in 2018. This area’s industrial past is still very much in the here and now, as copious industrial buildings can be found all around the area. Unfortunately, as is so often the case for buildings such as these, not all of them remain standing today.

113-29 Berkley St. in its ivy-covered past
A Furness-designed signal tower across the street at Wayne Junction
The station with more stops than anywhere in the world (?!)

This is the site of the former Keystone Dry Plate & Film Works that was built in 1884 and served as home to the groundbreaking photography technology company. The building later had a second life as the Moore Push Pin Company from 1912-1977. Edwin Moore, the company’s founder, invented and held the first patent for push pins and that is exactly what was manufactured on this site. In fact, the company only recently disbanded after a move to the suburbs several years ago. We are sad to report that the current owner of the building filed a financial hardship request with the Historical Commission, which ultimately was granted. This came several years after the demolition of the adjacent the Van Straaten & Havey Silk Mill, which was unfortunately torn down due to years of neglect and replaced with a surface parking lot. We are generally sad to see any buildings meet their end, and these two shining examples of Germantown’s proud past were both unfortunate losses.

Aerial shot pre-demoltion with the Van Straaten & Havey mill highlighted
Both buildings side by side in the not-so-distant past
One is the loneliest building
…Until there were none

Harman Deutsch Ohler Architecture is handling the design and they are working with Philly Office Retail, who has led the charge for the redevelopment of Wayne Junction. This six story, transit-oriented development will feature 143 units on floors two through six, with over 10K sqft of commercial space anchored by the inclusion of a trolley car style diner on the ground floor. This historical diner, by the Mountain View Diners Company, was built in the classic diner style back in 1950. This is included as a nod to the former Trolley Car Diner a little ways north on Germantown Ave., which closed to make way for yet another development in the area. This is actually a different but similar diner car, with the former one given to the Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District. Check out below what you can expect to see in the future, with credit to the CDR packet for the project.

Red brick and industrial windows integrate into the architecture of the area
Aerial across from station
Another view with the diner clearly visible

This project sits directly next to Attic Brewing Company and Deke’s Bar-B-Que and we can envision both bustling in the future once this project is complete. We also couldn’t help but notice the incredible smells coming from the corner out of Merzbacher’s Bakery, likely cranking out their signature Philly Muffins. There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by delectable scents to make the walk to the train a bit sweeter, and on a block with several food and drink options, perhaps a light jog could be a wiser approach.

Attic Brewing and Deke’s immediately next door
Diner to be incorporated at base of building
Station directly across Berkley
Merzbacher’s on the corner