Valentine's Tea 2017

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.

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

PO Box 31927, Philadelphia, PA 19104, +1 215-387-3019,

A recently-renovated 1850s mansion on Spring Garden Street from the Picturesque Powelton tour. Photo by Kelly Wiles © 2016.

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

Call to Action

The State of Preservation
in West Philadelphia

Alarmed by an increasing number of demolitions that have recently occurred in our neighborhood, UCHS is organizing upcoming events for neighbors, community groups, City agents, and organizational leaders to share knowledge, and manage the rapid change in our neighborhood. For latest updates, visit UCHS on Facebook.

State of Preservation in West Philadelphia. Buildings we have said farewell to in the past few years. Photos by George Poulin & Kelly Wiles © 2016.

Winter 2016

  • Oral History Project. UCHS announces a new project to record stories about changes in the neighborhood since UCHS began its work 50 years ago. If you know of any residents or former residents willing to share their recollections, send us an email.
    email address for oral history project
  • Sylvia Barkan Fund for Historic Preservation. A fund has been established for expenses related to efforts in defense of historic structures in University City. Donations can be mailed to UCHS, P.O. Box 30197, Philadelphia, PA 19104-0627.

In the Newsletter

  • UCHS 50th Anniversary (1967–2017): 2017 will be the 50th Anniversary of the University City Historical Society. We are planning events throughout the year, celebrating each year of our existence. Send us your photos! We're asking our members to join the celebration by sharing their photos of life in University City from the 1960s, when UCHS was founded, to the present day. Photos can be emailed to or shared online at Facebook and Instagram. We look forward to seeing your photo memories of the neighborhood.
  • 2017 Gift to the Street Awards: Send in your nominations for UCHS's annual awards: Gift to the Street, Outstanding Preservation, and Preservation Initiative Award. Nominations will be accepted until January 20, 2017.
  • University City Then & Now: 5000 block of Cedar Ave, North side (c. 1898 & 2010). Built in 1897 by by John G. Ichall, some houses feature an interesting bell roof over a two-story turret.
  • Profiles in Architecture: James Fernald (1895–1929), selected relevant commissions (continued from previous issue).
  • Ask the Experts: Spackle your troubles away.
  • Window Talk, a Glossary: "Apron" to "Cameo Window."

Your Historic Home & Neighborhood