Skip to main content


Market Street Elevated in 1928, showing street widening near 32nd St.

Since the late 1920s, the “E”-shaped Croydon, an eight-story apartment building with two four-story north and south wings, has formed a backdrop for the athletic field at 48th and Spruce streets. Facing S. 49th Street between Spruce and Locust, the Croydon has a checkered past. By the turn of the Millennium, the once-thriving 127-unit edifice stood shuttered, crumbling, and in tax arrears. Known in counter-cultural circles as “Paradise City,” the abandoned building attracted hobo-like squatters, some brandishing guard dogs, from around the country. In recent years, Orens Brothers Real Estate, Inc., a Center City firm, has renovated the once-decaying complex and offers upgraded 1- and 2-bedroom rental units. 

Girls from the William Cullen Bryant School show off cloths they made in the lastest schoolgirl fashions.  Note the black shoes worn by most of the girls (see girl on the left).  They are high-topped shoes that buttoned up using a special button hook.

In the first half of the twentieth century, two campus plans—the Cret Report of 1913 and the Martin Report of 1948—called for the creation of a pedestrian campus free of urban congestion.

Philadelphia Evening Ledger page illustrating the Market Elevated's impact on West Philadelphia's growth in 1914.

From before its opening in 1907, the Market Street Elevated spurred tremendous construction and population growth in West Philadelphia.

Woodside Park was an amusement park which thrilled Philadelphians with its attractions for almost 60 years.

The Arena began as an ice rink, but quickly expanded to an arena used for events like boxing matches, rodeos, and major political events.

Armstrong Association Fundraising Campaign Stamp

Concerned Philadelphians addressed the housing issues and discrimination faced by migrants.

A postcard advertising rowhouses for sale in 1914, just two years before Philadelphia experienced a severe housing crisis.

A housing crisis, combined with White resistance to Black settlement, created high rents and overcrowding for migrants in the first wave of the Great Migration.

A segregated waiting room crowded with travelers at the Jacksonville railroad depot.

Southern African American migrants shared a complex relationship with Philadelphia’s middle-class Black families with multigenerational ties to the city.