PO Box 31927, Philadelphia, PA 19104, +1 215-387-3019, info@uchs.net

Preservation Victories

Spruce Hill and Powelton Village properties added to Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

The entire 3600 block of the south-side of Lancaster Avenue ("Lancaster Mews") and 4300–02 & 4304–06 Osage Avenue were designated as historic and spared from demolition at the October 9th meeting of the Philadelphia Historical Commission. University City Historical Society joined with Spruce Hill and Powelton Village Community Associations in support of the nominations because of their historic, architectural significance.

3600–3630 Lancaster Avenue is an excellent example of the store/dwelling combination, a common building type of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The row of three-story Italianate rowhouses with first-floor storefronts and rear ells (back buildings) was constructed between the late 1860s and the early 1880s. The block has significant character and exemplifies the expansion of the city after the Civil War, which tells us much about the development of Philadelphia’s built environment.

4300–02 & 4304–06 Osage Avenue are French Second Empire style twin houses and were built in the 1870s when this style was all the rage in America. They represent early, large-scale subdivisions in West Philadelphia, then known as Satterlee Heights. The development was built on the site of the massive Satterlee Hospital (over twenty acres), built for the care of wounded Civil War soldiers, which was able to serve 4,500 of the sick and wounded. The semi-detached homes on the 4300 block of Osage Avenue represent the last intact block from the Satterlee Heights development.

3600 block of Lancaster Avenue | Photo by Joseph Minardi
3600 Lancaster Avenue. Photo: Joseph Minardi, On the Westside, September 2015.
4300-02 and 4304-06 Osage Avenue | Photo by Oscar Biesert
4300–02 and 4304–06 Osage Avenue. Photo: Oscar Beisert, Nomination to Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

For more information, see On the Westside here, here and here.

For more information about the work of Philadelphia's Historical Commission, see Phila.gov.

Welcome to UCHS

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.

UCHS provides a useful and enjoyable forum for all who are interested in the past, present, and future development of the University City community.

November – December 2015

Seeking Nominations for Contractors Guide

Do you have a favorite contractor who you like to recommend to friends and neighbors? Let us know! UCHS is taking contractor recommendations for an upcoming issue of On the West Side. Contractor recommendations can be emailed to info@uchs.net.

Accepting Nominations for Annual Preservation Awards

UCHS is looking for worthy nominees from around University City for the categories: Preservation Initiative Award, Gift to the Streets, and Outstanding Preservation Award. Email nominations to info@uchs.net.

UCHS Welcomes New Board Member

Kelly E. Wiles has joined the board of UCHS. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Historic Preservation and Community Planning as well as a Bachelor’s in Art History. She has master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, where she completed internships with various non-profits and historic sites. She is an architectural historian for RGA, Inc., a cultural resources management firm.

Photo: Spruce Street Row | 2015 Walking Tour led by Mark Silber
Fall Walking Tour | Mark Silber speaking in front of the Queen Anne style “Spruce Street Row” on the 4200 block of Spruce, October 10, 2015. Photo by George Poulin.

In the Newsletter

  • Historic Districts and Commissions. An overview of historic districts and commissions, describing their purposes and functions for preserving historic architecture.
  • Ask the Experts: What is the best way to care for an old-fashioned cornice?
  • Profiles in Architecture: Robert K. Marple began his architectural career in 1887 working in the office of Willis G. Hale. His work can be found throughout the city, mostly in North and West Philadelphia.
  • University City Then & Now: The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut (c. 1915 & 2010). The First Church of Christian Scientists, a Romanesque Revival church designed by Carrere & Hastings, is reminiscent of early Italian Christian churches. Today it is used as an arts and cultural center.
  • Did You Know? Maps and atlases from the 1840s to c. 1910 reveal an overall but uneven development of West Philadelphia as a dense residential area, as a suburb in the city.

Your Historic Home & Neighborhood