ON THE WEST SIDE
THE UNIVERSITY CITY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
MARCH 1999


MIKE HARDY, EDITOR

GIFTS TO THE
STREET AWARDS

By Sylvia Barkan, UCHS Board Member

On a snowy afternoon (yes, a real snow, which soon turned to rain) on February 7, members of the University City Historical Society and the preservation award winners for 1998 all came to "Dor-Den," the warm and elegant Cedar Park home of Doris and Elton Cochran-Fikes, and came in out of the cold. The happy occasion was the Pre-Valentine's Day Tea and the Annual UCHS Preservation Awards celebration.

This year there was additional reason to celebrate. After much hard work, much of University City is now designated as historic districts. It was like adding a last piece to a jig saw puzzle. The now designated "West Philadelphia Street Car Historic District," joins the Powelton and Garden Court Historic Districts and the over fifty locations in West Philadelphia that are already listed on The National Register of Historic Places.

For weeks before the tea, a team of scouts covered the neighborhood by foot and by car looking for this year's "Gifts to the Street" commendations and Preservation Awards candidates, noting all the signs of visible exterior preservation improvements. We saw so much, a reflection of the new spirit in the area, that it was hard to make choices. If, by chance, we missed you or a neighbor, please let us know. We cite property owners throughout the year for their "Gift to the Street" efforts. As we drove around, it put us all in a good mood and yet we were occasionally sorry there was no "Reverse Award" category, but then these are Preservation Awards!

The 1998 Outstanding Preservation Awards were presented to:

Vladimir Hartman at 4223 Pine Street for the multicolored paint scheme of his home, with special appreciation for his efforts to restore major amounts of its decorative architectural sheet metal work that had been damaged by fire.
Milton Mitoulis at 3512 Baring Street for sensitive, elegant restoration of his stone apartment house, with special appreciation for his efforts to construct new garages using granite materials which compliment the original stone of the house.

The 1998 Preservation Initiative Award was presented to:

D-L Wormley (at right in photo), Stefany Williams-Jones (at left in photo), Gabrielle Jones and The Office Of Community Housing, University Of Pennsylvania for inspiring Penn affiliates to reside in and take pride in University City as new home owners and for championing Penn's efforts to sensitively reclaim and restore fifteen troubled houses in the neighborhood. Since the office was established in 1998 and through their efforts, Penn employees have purchased ninety houses in our historic neighborhood, which has, in turn, had many positive spin-offs, reflected in a new optimistic spirit in the area. We especially appreciate the "gift" of new "house-proud" neighbors and applauded their continuing work to bring us more. All these efforts serve as a "best example" of responsible community stewardship for the architectural heritage of University City.

In addition to the award recipients, some sixty-six University City properties were cited and their owners presented with "Gift to the Street" commendations for new paint jobs and other historically sensitive exterior improvements. Those responsible were Myriam Azzedine & Tim Siftar, Carolyn P. Burdon, Jan & Arthur Bye, Charles & Kate Covington, Albert G. Crawford, Richard De Matt, Adam & Martha Rode Dablo, Eugene Dempsey, Jr., Stephen Donnelly, Geraldine & Robert Guintoli, Lester Goldstein, George O. Green, Stacey Marcin & Mark Hampson, James A. Hayden, Paul Stewart Hayward, William F. Hooper, III, Alan Horwitz, Michael Karp, Vuong Van Le, James A. & Maryanne Pa Lilly, Deana & Wilson Loh, Patricia Long, Tom Lussenhop, Robert M. & Phyllis McCafferty, Heiner H. & Gisela K. Moehren, Gregory Montanaro, Lynn Regina & Mario Mosgrove, Glenn Moyer, Margaret Pastore, Campus Realty Properties, Elizabeth Rastell, Roy Harker & Robert Renando, Harry Richardson, Dennis T. Ritondo, Richard Kirk & John Schnepp, Paul J. Shevlin, Robert Alan Sutton, Gary Tannenbaum, Shirley Turner, Seth & Janice M. Weiss, Joan Wells, Mary T & Walter M. Wood, Jr., Philip & Debbie Zuchman. The proporties cited were 103 N. 35th Street; 122, 124, 126, 128, 130, 132 S. 39th Street; 309, 311, 313, 317, 319 S. 41st Street; 445 S. 44th Street; The Marigold Restaurant, 501 S. 45th Street; 1016-1018 S. 45th Street; 324-326 S. 46th Street; 3949-3951, 4317, 4321, 4329, 4623 Baltimore Avenue; Cornerstone Bed & Breakfast, 3300 Baring Street; 4621, 4627, 4712, 4729 Cedar Avenue; 4507, 4514 Chester Avenue; 4329, 4419 Larchwood Avenue; 4100 Locust Street; 4045-4047, 4218, 4234, 4236, 4332-4334, 4537 Pine Street; 4024, 4026, 4028, 4030, 4032, 4034, 4037, 4039, 4041, 4043, 4045, 4047, 4049, 4051, 4053, 4055, 4057, 4059, 4061, 4063 Sansom Street; 4724-4726, 4805, 4807 Springfield Avenue; 4048-4050 Spruce Street.

Thanks to all who made possible this celebration of University City's continuing love for its historic environment and thanks to Doris and her colleagues for the magnificent spread!

BALTIMORE AVENUE
CHARRETTE

On Saturday, January 30, 1999, a group of architects, urban planners, and landscape architects, most of whom also reside near Baltimore Avenue were invited by Baltimore Avenue in Bloom (BAIB) and the University City District (UCD) to participate in a design charrette regarding the avenue. The participants met at Cafe Trio on 40th Street for coffee and then boarded a SEPTA-donated chartered Route 34 Trolley for a tour of the entire length of Baltimore Avenue, from 38th Street to 63rd Street. The trolley concluded its tour at the HMS School, 4400 Baltimore Avenue, the donated site for the day-long charrette.


Charette participants board the Route 34 trolley

Once at the school, sponsors of the charrette, Paul Steinke, Executive Director of the University City District, and Mike Hardy, of Baltimore Avenue in Bloom welcomed the group. After a presentation of his New*Land*Marks public art suggestions for Baltimore Avenue by Malcolm Cochran, Eric Goldstein, Director of Capital Projects for the University City District, articulated the agenda for the day:

In the group's consideration of existing conditions and characteristics of the University City portion of the street, from 38th to 52nd Streets, certain themes emerged: Among them, that Baltimore Avenue has many distinctions-as a major multi-modal transit thoroughfare, as entryways into its adjoining neighborhoods, as a series of residential, commercial and institutional zones. Its architecture continues to be "historic, quaint, and comfortable" and as a diagonal path cutting through the Philadelphia street grid, it offers special opportunities in the many "triangles" it creates.

It suffers from a badly deteriorated transit roadbed; use as a "parking lot" by mass transit commuters; poor maintenance from absentee owners; limited off-street parking for commercial development and poor or non-existing lighting for the pedestrian pathway.

In suggesting discussion points for a future Vision for Baltimore Avenue, the charrette participants urged that efforts at physical improvement should focus on landscape, streetscape and building programs that reflect the character of the neighborhoods it traverses. In its residential zones, this would include maintaining an unbroken line of large shade trees in continuous root run "planting strips" with pervious materials. In commercial zones, this might include placing paired street trees in "bump outs" to maintain storefront visibility.


Baltimore Avenue charette participants
considered a wide variety of options

In rebuilding the transit way, the group recommended reinstalling its historic Belgian block paving in the trolley right-of-way, burying utilities in the process; reestablishing an unbroken line of restored metal trolley poles, uniformly painted, used for signage and possibly historic street lighting fixtures; providing corner "bump outs" for trolley boarding, street crossings and "traffic calming;" and approaching SEPTA with the suggestion to use TEA 21 Federal Funding for traffic enhancements. Also recommended was considering the "Chestnut Hill model" of small-scale, landscaped parking spaces in the commercial blocks.

These ideas and many more discussion points specific to a block-by-block consideration of the site will be shared with neighborhood stakeholders and others (residents, business and community organizations, institutions) with the goal of developing a consensus vision for the future of Baltimore Avenue.

Those contributing on a pro-bono basis to the success of the charrette included professional planners Rick Redding, Ernie Leonardo and JoAnne Jackson; architects, Titus Hewryk, John Holland, Dan Garafalo, Lauren Leatherbarrow and Emmanuel Kelly and landscape architects, Eric Goldstein, Maurice Walden, Conrad Hamerman, Kathy Kester, Laurie Olin and Julie Regnier. Tom Lussenhop of the University of Pennsylvania, Pat Gillespie of BAIB and Charles Moleski of the Fairmount Park Art Association lent valuable support.

Malcolm Cochran's final proposals for public art for the avenue will be, with those of the other seventeen community/artist teams, the subject of a New*Land*Marks Symposium at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 7-8, 1999.

REMEMBERING
GORDON CALLAGHAN

By Leslie Giamo
University City Press/Review Staff

Louise and Gordon CallaghanGordon Callaghan was a family and a community man.

Callaghan died on Dec. 17, 1998, just three weeks after the death of his wife, Louise. His death was "quite a surprise to everyone," said Betty Moloznik, a longtime friend of the Callaghans. Callaghan was described as a serious man with a sober face. "He was generally soft spoken, very methodical, and organized," said Joseph Moloznik, Betty's husband.

Joseph Moloznik also described him as intensely loyal, a friend, a member of organizations, and a member of the community." It was this sense of loyalty that led Callaghan to leave high school in 1935 and get a job to help his family during the depression. While working, he also managed to receive his GED. Then came the war.

He served in-the Army Air Force from 1942-1945 as a staff sergeant. His job was to physically retrieve wounded men from the battlefield. His exceptional service was rewarded by receiving a commendation for a job well done by his superior officers.

After the war, he went on to further his education at Wharton's Evening Division. He was "...exceptionally good at figures," said Moloznik. This made him a valuable asset in the accounting department of his family's trucking firm. He also worked at Provident Bank (now PNC), starting out making $15 a week in 1935 and retiring in 1983 as an Assistant Vice President in the Trust Department.

The bank was not the only place he held a significant title. He was extremely active in the community. He served on the board for the Spruce Hill Community Association where he was treasurer, president, and a lifelong member. He also served as treasurer and president for the University City Historical Society and the University City Arts League.

"In most groups of which he was apart, he would distinguish himself as slowly rising to the top," said Moloznik. "He was the warm coals underneath that continued to warm you with his presence."

Of all the organizations he participated in, he was most active in Woodland Presbyterian Church where he became a life-long member and served on the Board of Elders. Woodland Presbyterian was also where he met his wife Louise. Betty Moloznik recalls him telling her after Louise died, "She was the love of my life." They married in 1949 and their first son Phillip was born in 1950. Phillip was born with spina bifida. He spoke with tremendous respect about both of his parents, mostly recalling that they were both very patient with him. "They were very careful to not show partiality to me or to (my brother) Gordon," he said. Phillip also described his father as "somebody who was very good at providing for his family."

Callaghan not only provided for his family but for the community as well. Perhaps his most notable contribution to Philadelphia was his role in the launching of the University City Swim Club. In the early 1960's, he put his name on the line as one of the five guarantors of the mortgage debt of the Swim Club. This act helped to open the first multi-racial private swim club in Philadelphia. The club was a huge success and to this day still has people on its waiting list.

Joe's blue eyes sparkled and the comers of his mouth turned up in a smile as he talked about Callaghan and his family and accomplishments. He described him as a promise keeper who was "one of the most honest people I've ever met in my life..." said Joe. "It was difficult not to like Gordon; most people who met him liked him," said Joe. "He made a difference in their lives."

CANDIDATES' NIGHTS IN
UNIVERSITY CITY

By Maria Oyaski
Spruce Hill Community Association

Do you know enough about the mayoral candidates to be an informed voter this year? Do you know enough about the City Council candidates? If not, we can help! UCHS will cosponsor two "meet the candidates" forums, Monday, April 5 (mayoral) and Thursday, April 22 (Council At-Large, and our local District 3) both from 7-9:30 p.m. at Calvary United Methodist Church, on the southeast corner of 48th and Baltimore Avenue. These events, which are organized by the Spruce Hill Community Association and cosponsored by no less than eighteen University City organizations (see below), will feature opportunities for the public to ask questions of the candidates, as well as a chance for the candidates to "make their pitch" for your vote. All declared candidates will be invited to speak at these nonpartisan forums, which will be open to the general public, and will be extensively advertised among the local community groups as well as in the local media. For more information, call the Spruce Hill Community Association at 215-349-7825.

Cosponsoring organizations :

  • Spruce Hill Community Association
  • 27th Ward Democratic Committee
  • 27th Ward Republican Committee
  • 46th Ward Democratic Committee
  • 46th Ward Republican Committee
  • University City District
  • University City Community Council
  • Cedar Park Neighbors
  • Garden Court Community Association
  • Powelton Village Civic Association
  • Saunders Park Neighbors
  • Squirrel Hill Community Association
  • Baltimore Avenue in Bloom
  • Friends of Clark Park
  • Philadelphia On the West Side
  • University City Arts League
  • University City Historical Society
  • University City Pride

We hope to see you there! Be an informed voter!

HISTORIC HOMEOWNERSHIP
ASSISTANCE ACT

By Tim Wood
President, UCHS

Legislation that would provide tax credits for homeowners to rehabilitate homes in historic districts is scheduled to be introduced in the 106th Congress. The legislation, which failed to pass in the last session, will be rewritten and reconsidered this term. The Historic Homeownership Assistance Act would provide tax benefits for homeowners similar to those that already exist for commercial properties. Any single-family or multi-family residence, condo, or co-op listed on the National Register or in a National Register District, or listed in a state or local historic district would be eligible for a 20% tax credit (to a maximum of $40,000). Developers would be able to rehabilitate a property and then sell it to a homeowner with the tax credit; taxpayers with little or no tax liability would be able to convert the credit to a mortgage credit certificate in order to get an interest rate reduction from the lender. All work would be required to conform to the Secretary of the Interior's standards for rehabilitation.

Preservation Action, a preservation lobbying group in Washington, D.C., notes that the proposed tax credit "is an incentive that reverses disinvestment and blight in historic neighborhoods through homeownership. The credit is attractive to current homeowners as well as families on the cusp of homeownership. Rehabilitation activity provides jobs, bolsters the tax base, and utilizes existing infrastructure therefore saving taxpayer dollars."

There are between 60,000 and 75,000 properties in the city of Philadelphia that would benefit from this legislation. Virtually all of the homes in the University City neighborhoods of Cedar Park, Squirrel Hill, Garden Court, Powelton Village, and Spruce Hill could be eligible for these tax credits. If you support this legislation, contact your representatives in the House and Senate.

1999 UCHS HOUSE TOUR
By Barry Grossbach
House Tour Chair

This year UCHS joins with academia in highlighting a portion of the "town and gown" character of University City. The 1999 House Tour will feature residences and restored institutional structures at two of the area's educational institutions, the University of Pennsylvania and the Restaurant School, along with houses and apartments of homeowners and tenants adjacent to the two campuses. This year's tour will be a week earlier than usual (Sunday, May 9th, Mother's Day) in order to avoid conflicting with Penn's graduation weekend and, more importantly, to include Penn's President Judith Rodin's home, Eisenlohr, for the tour. UCHS members should also relish the opportunity to "sneak preview" the nearly restored Irvine Auditorium and wander around the University Quad in springtime, asking questions of the guides provided at several Penn sites. The tour will begin at the Restaurant School, 42nd and Walnut, and stretch south to Spruce Street and east to 34th Street.

Hopefully, fewer host and hostesses will be needed than in years past, for many of the university buildings will provide their own guides and staff. Simply put, many of you will have more time to wander around than on past historical society house tours!

The tour cost through Philadelphia Open House, 313 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa 19106 is $20.00 per person. Checks should be made to "Friends of Independence Hall" or you can reserve by phone and credit card at (215) 928-1188. We are the only tour this year under $25.00, by special arrangement this year only. Paid up members of UCHS will, once again, be given the special rate of $15.00 per ticket if purchased or reserved by May 1st. In order to simplify everyone's life, member tickets must be purchased by sending checks for $15/ticket made out to "UCHS" to Barry Grossbach, 446 South 43rd Street, 19104. NON-MEMBERS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE DISCOUNT RATE, SO A SIMPLE SOLUTION FOR ANY NON-MEMBER FRIENDS OR NEIGHBORS IS TO OFFER THEM A MEMBERSHIP FORM! Of course, should you have any questions or suggestions, or any offers of help, feel free to get in touch at (215) 382-0365, or by e-mail at bgrossbach@worldnet.att.net.

May is always a busy time in our community and this year it promises to be busier and more exciting than usual. The Spruce Hill Community Association May Fair is Saturday, May 8th (no rain-date), so the University City area will have a week-end celebration of fun, food, entertainment, and house explorations. Reserve the dates: Saturday, May 8th, Spruce Hill May Fair, 11:00 am to 4:00 PM in Clark Park (43rd and Baltimore); Sunday, May 9th, UCHS House Tour, 1:00 to 5:00 PM, tickets available at the Restaurant School (42nd and Walnut) at $20/person, no discounts honored. See you then.

UC PAINT
By Tim Wood
President, UCHS

The University of Pennsylvania's newest community effort, following such programs as UC Brite, UC Green, and their faculty and staff homeownership incentives, is UC Paint. This program aims to provide area homeowners with information about how to maintain the exteriors of their homes, and to encourage renovations and paint schemes that are in keeping with the historic character of our National Register listed neighborhoods.

To kick off UC Paint, UCHS is co-sponsoring, with the University and the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, a pair of lecture events and paint analysis sessions. On Thursday, March 18, architectural historian George Thomas will give a slide lecture on the history of the Garden Court, Squirrel Hill and Cedar Park neighborhoods of University City, and Preservation Alliance President Don Meginley will speak on the economic benefits that historic preservation can bring to a community. The lectures will begin at 7:30pm and be held at Calvary United Methodist Church at the corner of 48th and Baltimore Avenue; we hope you can make this event part of your "Go West, Go International, Third Thursday" activities. In the second lecture event, 7:30 PM at Spruce Hill Christian School, 42nd and Baltimore Avenue, on Thursday, April 8, George Thomas will cover the architectural history of the area of University City east of 46th Street; Don Meginley will speak again, as well.

On the Saturday following each lecture (March 20 for Garden Court, Squirrel Hill and Cedar Park, April 10 for east of 46th Street), a historic preservation paint specialist will work in the areas covered by Thomas' lectures, doing paint-scrape tests on homes. These tests may help a homeowner to discover what the original paint colors of the house were. The tester will then be able to suggest commercially-available modern paints that will match the old colors. Sign-ups for this free service will be at the lectures; if you need more information, contact UCHS at (215) 387-3019 or info@uchs.net.

A longer-term goal of UC Paint is to use historical data, images, and information gathered from these paint analyses to work with a commercial paint supplier to create a series of paint charts that homeowners may use to choose paint schemes that are appropriate to the wide variety of architectural styles in University City. We invite UCHS members and University City neighbors to participate in this exciting project.

HOLIDAY HOUSE TOUR
by Rich Kirk
UC Pride
and UCHS Member

Some Views of the House Tour

Festive decorations showed
off the period details, including
original gaslights (below), of
University City homes

Tourgoers were greeted by
elaborately-decorated tables
and hearths.

The 1998 Holiday House Tour last December was a wonderful success for the neighborhood and for co-sponsors UCHS and UCPride. House tours have been going on in University City now for about twenty years; this year's tour had the largest attendance of any holiday tour! There were over two hundred twenty paid tickets, and including volunteers, close to three hundred participated in the event. Considering that the date was so near Christmas with so many activities competing, the turnout was impressive. Participants came from University City as well as from outside the neighborhood, many from Center City and a large number from the suburbs and beyond. Their impression of our community and its architecture was overwhelmingly positive.

Special thanks go to those who opened their homes for the tour: Richard DeMatt with Chaz and Kate Covington (Marigold Dining Room), Roy Harker and Bob Ranando, Richard Heyl and Anthony Ortiz, Tom Childers and John Hall, Nancy Roth and Sigrid Larson, Nestor Torres and Michael Ryan, John Schnepp and Rich Kirk, Marty McGinley and John Polito, Brian Meyer and Arnold Markley, Steve Drabkowski and Roland Noreika, Don Caskey and Warren Cedarholm, and also the congregation of Calvary United Methodist Church, who opened their doors in our support once again that day. For all this, the house tour could not have worked without scores of UCPride volunteers who contributed so much to make this event come off so smoothly. UCPride volunteers sat in the open houses, worked the ticket tables at the Marigold, cleaned the streets before the tour, provided wonderful food and drink for the reception, and did such fine work at The Gables, which was jam packed with happy tour-goers!

Special thanks to Terry Bosworth, whose coordinating efforts made it all go off so well. Also special thanks to Mike Fowler, Scott Malinger, and Joyce Mullins of Au Courant for making possible an unforgettable cover story which all by itself gave UCPride, UCHS, University City, The Gables and Calvary tremendous positive publicity. Special thanks to former UCHS President Melani Lamond for coordinating UCHS's participation. And finally, special thanks to Warren Cedarholm and UCHS Board member Don Caskey for opening The Gables for the reception; there couldn't have been a better venue.

A SPECIAL APPRECIATION

…goes to all of those responsible for the success of the joint UCHS/UC Pride Holiday House Tour, the "Gifts to the Street" Preservation Awards for 1998 and the UCD/BAIB Baltimore Avenue Charrette. If you find you are receiving "On the West Side" for the first time with this issue, this is our way of thanking you for your efforts. Issues will continue to come your way for the first six months of 1999, after which we hope you will join us as regular members of UCHS to "keep the past alive" in University City. Thanks for your part in it all.


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