A reader checked in recently, wondering about 2337 and 2339 Pennsylvania Ave., two vacant lots near the Ben Franklin Parkway. According to this individual, the lots have looked like this for the two decades he’s lived in the neighborhood. Because we love a good mystery and hate unused vacant land, we figured it would be a good idea to investigate.

The lots

According to public record, 2337-41 Pennsylvania Ave. is owned by Joseph J. Murphy, who purchased the property in 1973. The parcel, which is over 4,700 sqft in size, includes the vacant lots in question as well as the home pictured above on the left. It’s unclear to us whether the lots were vacant when Murphy purchased the property several decades ago, but it’s at least apparent that a home stood at 2337 back in 1960.

Looking east. 2337 is the one with the bush out front

Same date, other direction

Based on these two images, it isn’t clear whether a building existed at 2339 Pennsylvania Ave. even at that time, so it’s possible that half of this lot has sat vacant for over half a century. As for the future, it’s unclear. The owner has been responsible for this property for decades and seems to maintaining it relatively well. He hasn’t shown any inclination to develop it from what we know, but if he or a future developer were interested in building here, they would have to ensure that their proposal fits the guidelines of the Spring Garden Historic District.

Does anyone else in the neighborhood have any more info on this particular property? Any ideas why nothing has been built here? Why the building(s) that once stood here were torn down? Whether any plans to build might have come and gone over the years? Inquiring minds want to know.