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Between 1947 and 1955, the Philadelphia Transit Company completed a subway tunnel for the Market Street Elevated west of the Schuylkill and took down the El between 32nd and 45th streets.

An early 20th-century postcard displays the Market Elevated subway at 32nd and Market Streets.

The Market Street Elevated or “El” shaped 20th Century West Philadelphia.

Market Street Bridge and the Schuylkill River, 1900

In 1900, streetcars, carriages, and pedestrians shared the Market Street bridge across the Schuylkill River.

A semi-aerial view southwest along Woodland Avenue near the intersection with 37th and Spruce Streets. Today a full-sized reproduction of a Woodland Avenue trolley can be found at this location on the north side of Spruce Street.  

In the 1950s, the City facilitated Penn’s plans to create its modern pedestrian campus by putting the Penn trolleys underground and deeding the footprint of Woodland Avenue to the University. 

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.