Skip to main content

Advanced Search

The reality behind the scenes of American Bandstand was quite different than what viewers saw on national television. 

Black music and black dances originating in Philadelphia neighborhoods contributed substantially to the success of American Bandstand; yet American Bandstand’s dancefloor and bleachers were racially segregated, and some of the show’s most popular dances were adapted without attribution from black neighborhoods. 

“Squeaky clean” commercial pitchman and deejay Dick Clark inherited Bob Horn’s locally broadcast Bandstand in July 1956 and revamped it for a national audience of teenage consumers as ABC’s American Bandstand, which first aired in August 1957.  

The program that preceded Dick Clark’s American Bandstand at WFIL-TV was deejay Bob Horn’s locally popular Bandstand.

West Park Apartments from the west

For three quarters of the past century, public housing has controversially served low-income residents of several West Philadelphia neighborhoods.

 

West Park Apartments from the Market Street Elevated

Completed in 1962, West Park Apartments is the only high-rise public housing still in operation in West Philadelphia.

 

Aspen St. Homes

At the turn of the Millennium, Mill Creek Homes was in a state of neglect and disrepair. The project’s replacement would be the vibrant and radically different Lucien E. Blackwell Homes.

Carl Greene was executive director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority from 1998 to 2010. Greene championed the “New Urbanism” design concept that inspired new low-rise, low-density projects like Lucien E. Blackwell Homes. His tenure as the city’s housing czar was clouded by accusations of unethical and unprofessional behavior, for which he was fired in 2010.

The name Lucien E. Blackwell Homes memorializes the West Philadelphia politician Lucien E. Blackwell (1931–2003). This photo shows Blackwell when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Haddington's Vintage Rowhouses

In the late 1950s, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, as an alternative to building elevator towers, experimented with “conserving” (i.e., renovating) used housing as public housing in Haddington, a working-class neighborhood in racial transition.

Mantua Square

Opened in 1961 in the working-poor, black-segregated neighborhood of Mantua, Mantua Hall was an 18-storey, 153-unit modernist apartment tower built to house 495 people.

Mill Creek Homes

The architect Louis I. Kahn’s design for Mill Creek Homes—three 17-storey high-rise buildings and a cluster of two- and three-storey low-rises—was implemented by the Philadelphia Housing Authority in the Mill Creek neighborhood beginning in 1953 and extending into the 1960s, though with reductions in Kahn’s original design. 

Pages