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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 5:48 PM
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Swinefeld Swinefeld is offline
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West Philly: Spruce Hill: Sexytime!

Spruce Hill
Part of West Philadelphia’s “Streetcar Suburb

The growth of Spruce Hill is tied to the expansion of various forms of transportation. With the arrival of horsecar lines, and later, electric streetcars, Philadelphians of some means were able to escape the hot and crowded city into West Philadelphia’s rural setting starting in the mid-19th century. The first speculators snatched up farmland beginning in 1851 and started planning “streetscapes”. Large twin homes of various styles were built on “Hamilton Terrace”, (now 41st St). The name Hamilton Terrace was derived from the name given to that particular part of West Philadelphia, “Hamiltonville”. William Hamilton’s estate The Woodlands being the first prominent mansion in the area was the reason for this designation. Shortly after its completion, the first permanent bridge across the Schuylkill River at High (now Market) Street was built in 1805.

West Philadelphia’s development really took of after the construction of the Chestnut Street Bridge in 1857. Followed by the horsecar lines (c. 1860) and electric trolley (1894) and the University of Pennsylvania’s move (1872), Spruce Hill and surrounding communities exploded in population. Farms and forest groves were replaced by churches, homes, and businesses. The new Market Street Elevated Line (1907) allowed development to expand even further west. New businesses proliferated at the new elevated stations on 40th, 52nd and 60th Streets. After Word War I, the automobile made the new neighborhood of Garden Court a reality.

Many of the extant structures from Spruce Hill’s growth period were designed some of Philadelphia’s most prominent architects. Samuel Sloan, G. W. and W. D. Hewitt, Willis G. Hale, Henry E. Flower and others are well represented within the Spruce Hills Historic District. Most of the surviving buildings are in excellent condition or are undergoing renovations. A number of old residences are currently being used as Penn student housing. Neighboring University City has seen a recent construction boom and the “Penntrification” of the immediate area has resulted in staggering increases in property values in Spruce Hill. So much so, many long time residents, many of whom are poor, are feeling the pinch.


Where the hill is Spruce Hill?

Things are looking up at the 4247 Locust Apartments.

St. Marks Square, which runs between Walnut St and Locust St and 42nd and 43rd, was designed by the Hewitt Brothers.

The painted ladies of Pine Street.

“Kimball Block” at 42nd and Pine, designed by William S. Kimball. These homes all had porches facing 42nd St. at one time.

Looking south from 42nd and Pine.

The doors of the Woodland Presbyterian Church.

Damn phone lines!

A spacious twin on 41st and Pine.

The Rotunda (1911) at 4012 Walnut was designed by Carrere and Hastings. It began as the First Church of Christ, Scientist, it’s now a concert venue.

West Philadelphia, born and raised...

The Romanesque Revival Sedgley Apartments at 45th and Pine, built c. 1900.

A. Lynn Walker’s Stonehurst Apartments (c. 1900) at 419-425 S. 45th Street in the Romanesque Revival style.

The Masjid Al-Jamia Mosque at 43rd and Walnut

Meeting the needs of West Philadelphia’s growing Muslim population are Halal Middle Eastern eateries.

Located near 45th and Spruce are these c. 1907 Tudor Revival houses.

4200 block of Walnut, showing residences by Samuel Sloan.

At 40th and Spruce we see the Hamilton Family Estate.

Looking west on the 4000 block of Spruce Street, one of the best preserved mid 19th century suburban streetscapes of Philadelphia.

Some grand old homes on Spruce St at Preston St.

Petite Preston Street between 40th and 41st.

The Hewitt Brothers, George W. and William D., are responsible for designing many of the structures in West Philadelphia.

One of the most noted examples of their work is this Spruce Street row (1888) at 4206-18 Spruce Street.

Done in the then fashionable Queen Anne Revival style, this picturesque row looks much as it did over a century ago.

The Philly tradition continues.

A view of Melville Street.

The Clermont Apartments at 44th and Walnut.

The lovely Tudor.

Some outdoor dining on Baltimore Avenue.

Across from Clar Park on Baltimore Avenue are these late Victorian twins.

Intrusive modern architecture rubbing shoulders with Tudor Revivals on Osage Avenue.

Porches along Osage Avenue.

Looking down 46th Street towards Baltimore Avenue. In the distance can be seen the golden dome of Henry Dagit’s St. Francis De Sales Roman Catholic Church (1906).

Stately homes on 46th Street north of Baltimore Avenue.

That’s all
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 5:57 PM
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Oh my god! This is awesome, and I'm generally not a fan of Philly. Following your pictures, this neighborhood appears to be more diverse than any that I've ever seen in the city: European, African, Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian people all out and about.. not the typical Philly 'hood! Thanks for the pictures, they make me want to visit Philly and give it a third chance.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 7:29 PM
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Click the x: _ _ X _ _!
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 7:36 PM
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I love that Green Line Cafe
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 7:39 PM
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Another fabulous West Philly thread. Thank you, Swine. I appreciated looking at your other streetcar suburb threads, and also the auto-oriented Garden Court, too. This area of West Philly is one of the more interesting areas of the city and I can only expect it will continue to get very pricey. The housing stock there is superb.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 8:27 PM
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 8:35 PM
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There are some really beautiful houses in this set, and some beautiful pictures too; you could probably sell some of them to the owners... except maybe for that guy in the green t-shirt who looks like he's coming to torch you.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 9:04 PM
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I didn't believe you could ejaculate without any actual touching, but I stand corrected. SPRUCE HILL IS SPOOGE HILL.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 9:05 PM
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This just made me want to touch myself!

That's right...this is Philly!
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 10:00 PM
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i like philly.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 10:17 PM
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Beautiful architecture. PHilly's georgous.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 10:39 PM
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I once knew some 4th floor dwellers in this building, its not bad.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 10:51 PM
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Wow, nice neighborhood. I really want to go on a US east coast tour...starting with Philly!!
That neighborhood looks like it's booming! It reminds me of many of Toronto's streetcar suburbs. Truly, if it weren't for the title of the thread, I would have guessed those pics were of Toronto.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 11:19 PM
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Man, this makes me want to take a trip out to Philly. Dope pics!!!
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 11:38 PM
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Wow! I can't believe that I've never heard of this place. One of the most appealing places that I've seen in a long time.
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Old Posted May 10, 2007, 11:39 PM
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nice pictures!
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Old Posted May 11, 2007, 12:54 AM
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Quite an amazing hood.
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Old Posted May 11, 2007, 1:25 AM
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Big Willie Style!
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Old Posted May 11, 2007, 1:54 AM
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Awesome work Joe. I was in this area for the first time in October and I was blown away by the architecture. Your photos do it justice.
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Old Posted May 11, 2007, 3:01 AM
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Mangs, your style is so much like my own. You do the camera tilts, the close-ups, and you have an eye for that summer green and blue skies. Wow. Wierd!
”Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain
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