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Powelton Village

Following World War II, urban renewal provided the resources for city officials and developers to create dramatic changes to the physical and social landscape of West Philadelphia.

Vue32, a 16-story mixed-use apartment tower, stands on a high ridge on the eastern boundary of Drexel University’s campus, overlooking the Amtrak – SEPTA railyards and affording dramatic views of Center City. 

Drexel’s campus expansion, funded by federal and city urban renewal dollars in the decades following World War II, brought the University into conflict, first with Penn and then with Drexel’s neighbors in Powelton Village.

Under President John Fry, Drexel adopted a two-prong approach to neighborhood community development—creating a university-assisted middle school and a neighborhood center to connect community partners with Drexel resources.

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

Drexel University, founded by West Philadelphian Anthony J. Drexel, has a rich history spanning over 125 years.

MOVE members brandishing guns on the porch of the barricaded Powelton Village house in May 1977. The display was non-violent bravado and Mayor Frank Rizzo's police did not press the issue.

The Powelton Village MOVE house under police surveillance in February 1978.

MOVE members looking things over at their barricaded Powelton Village house in March 1978.

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.