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Drexel’s Chestnut Square fronting the Creese Student Center.

By the 1980s, Drexel’s unglamorous orange-brick architecture—seen here on the Stratton Building, Drexel’s first building west of the Main Building—connoted an institution that had lost its creative vitality.

Drexel University's 1960s and 1970s campus expansion juxtaposed Drexel’s postmodern interface with Powelton Village's Victorian-era houses.

Looking west on Chestnut Street at the University’s east entrance. Drexel’s brand appears on the “High Line,” which carries freight trains around 30th Street Station.

Anthony J. Drexel (1844–1893), Philadelphia investment banker, founder of the Drexel Institute.

Though the MOVE organization is notoriously famous by dint of the tragic 1985 MOVE fire, an event that shook the city to its core and ramifies even today, their history in West Philadelphia spans more than forty years, from the mid-1970s to the late-2010s.

Black and white portrait photograph of Anthony J. Drexel.

Portrait photograph of Anthony J. Drexel (1826-1893).

Market Street Bridge and the Schuylkill River, 1900

At the turn of the last century, the privately formed Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company contracted with the city to build and operate the electrified Market Street Elevated (“The El”), with a component designated for West Philadelphia.

The West Philadelphia Community Free School—an experimental school annex created to alleviate overcrowding at West Philadelphia High School—was ultimately undone by conflicting visions for how it would function.

The University of Pennsylvania in the 20th and early 21st centuries was shaped in no small way by social and economic conditions in West Philadelphia.

The neighborhood that today is Overbrook was once a hunting ground for the Lenape Indians; from the late 17th to the mid-19th century, a fertile, well-watered area of farmlands and stream-driven mills; and after the late-19th century, increasingly an area of residential housing.

Mill Creek, Indian Run, Morris Park, and City Line are notable historical features of the Overbrook landscape.