University City Historical Society

Celebrating 50 Years

Because we want this history to be read by the residents and other interested members of the public, it is written in the style of a simple chronicle. … The information contained herein concerning the personalities and places of old West Philadelphia should enrich our efforts in building University City.

—A History of Philadelphia's University City, 1963

On Sale Now

UCHS 50th Anniversary Dinner

The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College | 4207 Walnut Street | Philadelphia, PA 19104 Friday, November 10, 2017 from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM (EST)

Join us for a special evening for our members and guests in honor of the 50th anniversary of the University City Historical Society. UCHS will host a 1960's-themed celebration dinner at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College on Friday, November 10 at 6:30 pm.

John L. Puckett, professor at the Penn Graduate School of Education, will speak about his book Becoming Penn: the Pragmatic American University 1950–2000. In addition to the talk, this occasion will feature a menu inspired by Julia Child's The French Chef, which was the original television cooking show during the early years of the University City Historical Society.

Members $50 | Full Price: $55

Welcome to UCHS

2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the University City Historical Society.

University City contains the nation's largest collection of intact Victorian housing stock, with three major National Register Historic Districts: Powelton, Garden Court, and the West Philadelphia Streetcar Suburb.

Our Mission: The University City Historical Society promotes awareness of the history and architectural character of University City.

In the Newsletter

Fall 2017

  • Celebrate our 50th! Celebration dinner at the Restaurant School: November 10, 6:30pm, 4207 Walnut Street. Featuring guest speaker John L. Puckett, co-author of Becoming Penn: The Pragmatic American University,1950–2000.
  • Recommended Reading: Sesqui! Greed, Graft, and the Forgotten World's Fair of 1926.
  • From Our Archives: Decade of the 2000s
  • Profiles in Architecture: Helena A. Lukens (1881 – 1979), one of few female architects working in Philadelphia before WW2.
  • Worthy of Preservation: PA Industrial Home for the Blind
  • and more

Preservation Updates

Worthy of Preservation

Nominations to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places


UCHS works with our members and sister organizations to protect our city's historic properties from demolition.

Several properties in West Philadelphia have been recently recommended for historic designation.

"At a Preservation Crossroads" — an open-letter to friends and neighbors.

3500–3510 Lancaster Avenue (West Philadelphia Friends Meeting-House (Hicksite) and Friends School) | Photo from Nomination to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, December 2016.

West Philadelphia Friends Meeting-House (Hicksite) and Friends School

3500–3510 Lancaster Avenue

Currently the Community Education Center, added to the city's Register of Historic Places at the Philadelphia Historical Commission meeting in May 2017; researched and nominated by the University City Historical Society's Amy Lambert and George Poulin. Photo from nomination.

view nomination
435–441 N. 38th Street (Christ Methodist Episcopal Church) | Photo from Nomination to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, July 2016.

Christ Methodist Episcopal Church

435–441 N. 38th Street

The 145-year-old Furness and Hewitt-designed church, currently Mt. Pleasant Primitive Baptist Church, was added to the local register in January 2017; nominated by UCHS Board member, Amy Lambert and architectural historian Michael J. Lewis. Photo from nomination.

view nomination
420–434 S. 42nd Street (The 420 Row) | Photo from Nomination to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, October 2016.

The 420 Row

420–434 S. 42nd Street

The 420 Row is the first-built of Spruce Hill’s earliest real estate developments in the Queen Anne style. A group of eight c. 1885 Queen Anne dwellings were recommended by the Committee in December 2016; nominated by Justin McDaniel, a resident of the block. Photo from nomination.

view nomination
3827–33 Powelton Avenue (Pennsylvania Industrial Home for Blind Women)  | Photo from Nomination to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, November 2016.

Pennsylvania Industrial Home for Blind Women

3827–33 Powelton Avenue

Built in 1880, the Pennsylvania Industrial Home for Blind Women was nominated by the staff of the Historical Commission and was recommended by the Committee in December 2016. Photo from nomination.

view nomination
West Philadelphia Institute Building at 40th & Market, 2012 | Photo from Nomination to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

The Former West Philadelphia Institute

22–26 S. 40th Street

Building attributed to Furness, dates from the time of the Centennial, and has been extensively altered over the years, was recommended by the Committee in December 2016 by a 2-to-1 vote; nominated by Benjamin Leech of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. Photo from nomination.

view nomination
4054 Chestnut (Thomas H. Powers Development) | Photo from Nomination to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, May 2016.

Powers Development: Semi-detached Twin

4054 Chestnut

An attempt to remove 4054 Chestnut from the local register was defeated at the December 2016 meeting (it was added in July). UCHS has been trying to save this and other houses from demolition on the 4000 block of Chestnut. Photo from nomination.

view nomination

Your Historic Home

Your Historic Neighborhood

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