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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.


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.

Mantua Hall's Neighborhood in 1964

Mantua Hall shown in 1964 rising above its neighborhood’s rowhouses. 

Vista from Mantua Hall Ca. 1960

The view is from Mantua Hall, looking northeast across the rooftops of Mantua toward the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Schuylkill River, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (center-right). The Schuylkill River Expressway is hidden by the railroad tracks. 

Interior of Mantua Hall Apartment Ca. 1960

This photo shows a Mantua Hall apartment shortly before the building opened for occupancy.

Mantua Hall 1962 Land Use Map

This land use map shows the location of Mantua Hall in the 3500 block of Fairmount Ave. 

Mantua Hall was an 18-storey edifice built by the Philadelphia Housing Authority to accommodate 465 people. This photo shows the building in its final phase of development in 1960. It would open in 1961.

Mantua Square 2019

Mantua Square, a Philadelphia Housing Authority redevelopment project at 35th St. & Fairmount Ave., constructed on the former site of Mantua Hall, an 18-storey high-rise apartment building that was demolished in 2008.

High-Rise Public Housing in Mantua

Completed in 1960, Mantua Hall, an 18-storey elevator tower located in Mantua on the 3500 block of Fairmount Avenue, was typical of high density, high-rise public housing constructed in large cities in the two postwar decades.

Private Redevelopment in Mantua

In 2014, President Barack Obama designated Mantua and several other poor neighborhoods north of Market Street as the West Philadelphia Promise Zone.