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West Philadelphia Neighborhoods

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To the west of the University of Pennsylvania campus is a handsome Victorianera suburb whose extent was first limited by the horsecar lines and later by the electric trolley routes. East of S. 44th Street are important pre–Civil War era houses, including Woodland Terrace (1862), Samuel Sloan's double row of twin or semidetached houses between Baltimore and Woodland avenues, just west of S. 40th Street. Sloan alternated stucco and brownstone units of considerable scale on either side of a small street, creating one of the most eloquent residential blocks in the city. On S. 42nd Street between Locust and Spruce streets is a row of handsome Civil War–era brownstone houses by John D. Jones, a pupil of Thomas Ustick Walter. The Montelius house at the north end of the block was once matched by a twin to the south, but the rest of the houses are intact, although not all of them were left unscathed by the Colonial Revival.

A significant cluster of houses is the postcentennial work of the Hewitt brothers, which includes the splendidly hierarchical block between Locust and Walnut west of S. 42nd Street; the largest houses face Walnut Street, smaller twins front on S. 42nd Street, while the central alley of the block, St. Marks Square, is flanked by porch-fronted brick row houses. The Hewitts also designed the amusingly oversized row with canted corners (1886) between S. 42nd St. and St. Marks Square on Spruce Street. This cluster of interesting houses all fronted on the open space of the Clark mansion (demolished) that occupied an entire block at Spruce and S. 42nd streets, now the site of the Philadelphia Divinity School.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas

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