To read Part 1, click here.
So what happened to York Avenue? After it’s heyday, York Avenue went into EXTREME disrepair and despair. The area became such a horrible neighborhood that it had a sort of time capsule effect, and ancient architecture from Philadelphia’s distant past stood as monuments in the middle of a slum. Wooden houses survived up into the 1960s.
At the York Ave/Buttonwood/5th Street triangle, the Fourth Baptist Church survived but its cool looking tower didn’t.
By 1970 the triangle was destroyed in favor of industrial buildings and surface parking lots. A good call, certainly. In the 1980’s, the eastern portion of the Vine Street Expressway was approved after years of debate and took out the southern portion of York Ave, leaving the little sliver of it where it meets 4th St.
In a city with tons of history, it’s easy enough to learn the well-known tales about the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, or City Hall, but we think there’s some real value to treading down these less worn paths. Sure, maybe York Ave. never caught your attention in the past, but just about every street in Philadelphia has its story to tell. That’s one of the things that makes it so interesting to live in a city that’s been around for hundreds of years. That, and sweet delicious cheesesteaks.