Italian for "beautiful sight", Bella Vista is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Annual festivals in the neighborhood include the Italian Market Festival and the Bella Vista Festival of the Arts. Cultural events in Bella Vista are centered around public concerts, coffeehouses, the Mew Gallery, and Fleischer Art Memorial.  Only a short walk from Queen Village, Washington Square, Pennsport, and East Passyunk, Bella Vista a perfect destination for anyone who wants to be close to the hustle and bustle of Center City but wants a little more of a neighborhoody feel.

Delorean Time Machine: Arts Bank

601 S. Broad St. stands where South Street and the Avenue of the Arts converge.  Naturally, therefore, this has been the scene of major action over the years.  According to the earliest available documentation, the Southwestern National Bank occupied that Southeastern corner of Broad & South.  (We assume somebody was holding the compass upside down when they named it). According to the site Antique Bank Notes, the bank began printing bills when it gained its charter 1886.  The bank is shown, […]


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Renovation of a Building on Washington Avenue A Small Part of a Big Picture

While this is more of a side dish than a meaty main course of development news, a three-story home on Washington Ave. just east of the Italian Market is getting a makeover. But when looked at in the context of other one-off improvements and developments in the immediate vicinity, the renovation of 725 Washington Ave. becomes part of a bigger story. Over the past few years, its exterior had slowly meandered to a worn state. But […]


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Philly’s Hidden Gems: Lincoln Avenue

Years ago, some friends lived in two different units located in a little courtyard, hidden off a side street in Bella Vista. They’ve long since moved out, but we never forgot how cool these spots were and how much fun we had at their courtyard parties. What we did forget, though, was exactly where these apartments were located. Until the other day that is, when we stumbled onto them again on the 700 block of […]


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Five Homes Will Replace Surface Parking on Hall Street

If you don’t live in Queen Village, Bella Vista or Hawthorne, you’ve probably never heard of little Hall Street, which runs east-west between Montrose and Carpenter Streets. It’s one of those streets that appears and then disappears willy nilly, only to reappear a few blocks later and then dead end. The 1100 block of Hall only has about a dozen addresses, and can only be accessed via Montrose Street. Another notable feature of this block […]


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Delorean Time Machine: United Savings Bank

The southwest corner of 10th and Fitzwater is relatively inconspicuous today, standing across from a far more noticeable corner occupied by popular brunch spot Sam’s Morning Glory Diner and diagonal from the Palumbo Playground.  But at one time, this corner was occupied by quite the imposing structure.  Starting with its opening in 1872, The Maternity Hospital of Philadelphia served expectant mothers in the Bella Vista neighborhood.  G.W. Bromley’s Philadelphia Atlas from 1895 confirms that the Maternity Hospital was listed at 734 S. 10th Street. According […]


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Update: Post Mudslide, Framing Complete For Two New Homes

Back in June, we told you about plans for two new homes at 606-08 S. 8th St., a Bella Vista Lot that curiously sat vacant for many years. Just a few days later, the combination of the excavation efforts and rainwater caused a nearby garden wall to fall in. It was a big story for a hot minute, but ultimately proved to a minor hiccup in the construction process. As you can see, the two homes […]


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Where’s the Facade at 7th & Kimball?

A reader checked in the other day, wondering about 1009 S. 7th St., a building that lost its facade awhile ago, and is still waiting for it to be replaced. Looking at Google Maps from 2011, you can see the bricks were still there… But as the photos below reveal, the facade has now been missing for long enough that the plywood temporarily covering the front of the building has gotten tagged aggressively. According to […]


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Mildred Court Approved, Apparently Moving Forward

Several months ago, we told you about Mildred Court, a plan to redevelop half of a square block in Bella Vista, including a former 7-Up bottling plant on Carpenter Street. In the intervening time, the project has gone through the civic design review process, and has gotten approval from the ZBA. It’s largely the same as what we described in May, though an extra unit has been added to the project. In all twenty-five units […]


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Delorean Time Machine: The Hippodrome

Cinema Treasures tells us that Ripley Music Hall opened at 606 South St. in 1909 with a seating capacity of 500. However, the image taken from G.W. Bromley’s Philadelphia Atlas tells us that by 1910, the theatre was known by the much more hilarious handle, the Hippodrome. In 1925, the Hippodrome underwent major renovations, which, according to one Cinema Treasures contributor, included the installation of a Wurlitzer theater organ.  Here below,


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Delorean Time Machine: Engine 11 Fire House

1016 South St. stands directly next to Philadelphia mosaic artist Isaiah Zager’s greatest masterpiece, the walk-through debris sculpture aptly called the Magic Garden.  While the eyes of most viewers will understandably be drawn to this highly unusual sight, right next to it stands a building with a fair degree of its own historical importance.  Indeed, this location would become a firehouse in 1871 when Philadelphia established its paid municipal fire services. The undated photograph below shows the firehouse […]


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