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Thursday, 23 July 2009

SOS Alert for 15 Sites


Bauhaus Haus: File Photo
Preservation Group SOS Lists
15 Historic Sites as 'Endangered'

PHILADELPHIA -- Save Our Sites (SOS), a Philadelphia-based preservation group, has listed 14 sites in the city and one in Upper Darby, ranging from such a well-known venue as the Grand Lobby of the old Main Post Office in University City to the little-known DeBenneville Burial Ground in North Philadelphia, as endangered and imperilled by neglect and even possible destruction.

SOS drafted the site list at its semi-annual membership meeting on March 31, held at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion in Center City. About 20 SOS members drew up the list at the request of the group's president, John Dowlin.

The sites, listed in no particular order, are:

  • Grand Lobby of the old Main Main Post Office, 2930 Market St. Closed to the public.
  • Old Farm House, 1817 South Vodges St., built about 1764. Architect unknown. Neglected and deteriorating.
  • Shawmont Station, 7938 Nixon St., Built 1834. Possible architect William Strictland. Needs restoration.
  • Royal Theatre, 1524 South St., Built 1920. Architect Frank E. Hahn. Abandoned; needs restoration.
  • Wood Street steps, 300 block Front Street, Built late 18th century. The steps are the last remaining steps of the period leading to the docks on the Delaware River from high ground from the west. The site is relatively unknown, uncelebrated, and in need of restoration.
  • DeBenneville Burial Ground, Old York Road and Green Lane. 18th century cemetery, resting place of British soldiers and officers killed in the War of Independence. Relatively unknown, uncelebrated, and in need of restoration.
  • Wrought iron fence and garden in median strip, 2300 and 2400 blocks of Madison Square. Railing needs replacement; garden maintenance.
  • Headhouse at Wayne Junction, 4481 Wayne Ave. Built about 1900. Architect Frank Furness.
  • McIllhenny Townhouse, southwest corner of Rittenhouse Square, 1916 Rittenhouse St. Vacant; needs restoration.
  • Garrett-Dunn House, 7048 Germantown Ave., built about 1835. Architect Thomas Ustick Walter for Dr. George H. Garrett. Needs restoration.
  • Bauhaus-styled house, 514 West Godfrey Ave. in East Oak Lane. Built about 1930. Architect unnown. Vacant and deteroriating.
  • Sellers Hall, Christian and St. Anne, Upper Darby. Built 1682. Architect Samuel Sellers. Unused; needs repair and maintenance. (This listing was requested by distinguished Philadelphia historian and preservationist Richard Tyler).
  • 'Ecology,' a mural at 6th and South streets. Covered with graffiti.
  • 19th century vernancular houses at 49th and Florence streets, near Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia. Streetscape spoiled by intrusion of new houses with garage fronts.
  • All blocks of Sansom Street in Center City, from 24th Street to Independence Square. The street needs infill with new construction and restoration of existing buildings to realize its immense potential as a charming narrow pathway, threading its way through downtown Philadelphia.
SOS will designate additional endangered sites in Philadelphia next spring, calling attention to yet other valuable sites that are overlooked, uncelebrated, and in poor condition.

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