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Spruce Hill Historic District
Statement of Significance

 

The following is the original nomination for the Spruce Hill Historic District, written by Rebecca Trumbull and first submitted to the Philadelphia Historical Commission in the mid-1980s. A new version is currently being prepared, but the original still provides a good overview of the area's history.

Introduction

Several historical, architectural and cultural factors combine to make the Spruce Hill Historic District of West Philadelphia (Illus.1) significant to many strands of Philadelphia history. From the many fine examples of various architectural styles and the work of important architects, including Samuel Sloan, G.W. and W.D. Hewitt, Wilson Eyre, Horace Trumbauer, and Carrere and Hastings, to the strong ties between residential development and improved transportation-related developments, to the significance of speculation in the evolution of the district, the Spruce Hill Historic District provides an opportunity to trace the growth of a unique Philadelphia streetcar "suburb" within the city limits.

The Spruce Hill Historic District of West Philadelphia became, during the years 1850-1910, the largest predominantly residential area in Philadelphia because of its inherent attractiveness to urban dwellers of the times. Its close proximity to the "old city" of Philadelphia enabled middle class urban residents the option of a suburban home while retaining urban ties. By the mid-19th century, many other areas that might have developed as a suburb, such as Frankford, had already been infiltrated by industry and commerce, leaving West Philadelphia prime for residential development. Increasingly sophisticated transportation systems responded to development pressures, and developers in turn responded to the increased accessibility of transportation by creating more housing. From 1850 to 1910, Spruce Hill evolved from an upper-class country retreat to a middle-class "streetcar suburb." Today's Spruce Hill Historic District retains significant architectural examples from all periods of this speculative suburban development.

The rolling farmland just west of the Schuylkill River was virtually inaccessible to residents of Philadelphia in the seventeenth century, with the exception of infrequent and undependable ferries which transported people across the river. The area, named "Blockley" by William Warner, who bought 1500 acres from the Indians in 1677, held promise as a residential section of the city even then. The attributes of the area—the wide expanse of farmland, the high ground, dry and free of disease, the close physical proximity to Philadelphia—became recognized as early as the eighteenth century when large mansions began to appear on the landscape. The estates belonged to wealthy citizens who sought to escape the hot, congested and disease-ridden city in the summers. The Woodlands mansion, as it stands today, dates from an expansion by William Hamilton in 1787-89 of the earlier farmhouse built by his grandfather Andrew Hamilton, and survives as an example of this era.

The area known today as West Philadelphia remained as farmland with scattered mansions until the erection of the first permanent bridge in 1805. This first phase of development is clearly tied to the corresponding transportation-related development of the first bridge from the "old city" to this area. Soon after the bridge was constructed, omnibus lines were established. "Hamiltonville," an early development in the area, attests to the pleasant residential environment already existing by the beginning of the nineteenth century: "Its plan is regular and the streets...are wide....The buildings... generally stand apart from each other, leaving garden spaces between them...[It] is probably the prettiest village in the neighborhood of Philadelphia....As a place of residence...no other location in the vicinity offers superior attractions. The ground in general is elevated and remarkably healthy; the streets are wide, and many of them bordered with rows of handsome shade trees; and a large portion of the District has been covered with costly and highly ornamental dwellings. New streets are being opened, graded and paved; footwalks have been laid and gas introduced and arrangements will soon be made for an ample supply of water. Omnibus lines have been established, which run constantly, day and evening..." (Syckelmoore's Illustrated Handbook of Philadelphia: Claxton, Remson and Haffelfinger, 1875, p.333-4) The stage had been set: West Philadelphia was to become a prime residential neighborhood.

Development in West Philadelphia follows the pattern established in Hamiltonville early in the nineteenth century. Developed by William Hamilton, who subdivided a portion of his "Woodlands" estate, Hamiltonville was roughly bounded by 33rd and 41st Streets, Market Street and Woodland Avenue. The early development of Hamiltonville continued the country residential character of the district, with its wide streets, shade trees and gardens between many of the buildings. Now almost completely obliterated by the University of Pennsylvania, the only remaining vestiges are St. Mary's Church at 39th and Locust and a handful of residential structures, converted to office use, on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

While little remains of Hamiltonville, the more far-reaching legacy left us by William Hamilton was the practice of speculative development. Hamilton's version of speculative development consisted of the purchase of large tracts of land by one person, and the subsequent division and construction of buildings and resale to individual owners. This practice required an extensive outlay of capital for buying the land, clearing it of debt, and sponsoring construction.

Speculative development was responsible for the majority of construction in the area which came to be known as Spruce Hill. During the years 1850-1910, the use of different architectural styles reflected the changing aesthetics, while speculative development increasingly became the building practice of choice.

In West Philadelphia, during the latter nineteenth century, speculators entered into simple contractual agreements with builders who both planned and constructed the houses, giving temporary title to the land while they worked. Temporary ownership of a house by the contractor may have served as a lien, providing security against default on payment by the developer. Builders then sold back the finished development to the speculator without becoming responsible for its eventual sale to buyers through binding mortgage agreements. (Roger Miller and Joseph Siry, "The Emerging Suburb: West Philadelphia, 1850-1880, p. 118-119)

In 1851, when the borough of West Philadelphia officially became the District of West Philadelphia, the population of the area had reached 11,000. The earliest speculative development in Spruce Hill took place during this time. Partners Samuel Harrison, a tile manufacturer, and Nathaniel B. Browne, a lawyer and landowner, bought farmland in the area west of Hamiltonville (west of 41st St). They commissioned Samuel Sloan, who would become a nationally known architect, to design groups of single and semi-detached houses. They wanted to evoke the image of the romantic picturesque house as a retreat for the cultivated and successful, in keeping with the ideals espoused by Andrew Jackson Downing in the 1840s. In choosing Sloan, who had a reputation for designing houses for the wealthy, they hoped to attract buyers who, though humbler, had similar aspirations to Sloan's earlier clients. Both Harrison and Browne commissioned Sloan to design their own homes within their respective developments, a prevalent practice in the area during the time. (Miller and Siry, p. 115) In 1856 Sloan designed the entire west side of Hamilton Terrace (now 41st St); Harrison resided in the center house. Hamilton Terrace, planned as a complete architectural composition, contained picturesque Gothic Revival detached houses on each corner, Harrison's Gothic Revival/Italianate detached house in the center, and two Italianate semi-detached houses in between. (Illus. 2) The Italianate twins, still existing at 502-504 and 508-510 South 41st Street, are simple and elegant in their detailing, carefully concealing the fact that they each contained two separate residences.

During the late 1850s, significant transportation-related developments helped to fuel a boom in residential development in West Philadelphia. In 1857, the Chestnut Street bridge was constructed, allowing access to this area, and in 1858, the first horsecar came from the "old city" to 49th S Street and Woodland Avenue via the Chestnut Street bridge.

Continuing the trend firmly established by Harrison and Browne in the 1850s with Hamilton Terrace, conveyancer and real estate agent Charles M.S. Leslie initiated the development of Woodland Terrace in 1861. (Illus. 3) Leslie planned the street as the first of three adjacent developments; the later developments were a row of houses to the east, now demolished, and five semi-detached houses across the street from the original Hamilton Terrace development. The whole area was protected as a residential development by a clause "that no slaughterhouse, skin dressing house or engine house, blacksmith shop or carpenter shop, glue, soap, candle or starch manufactory or any other for offensive occupation be erected." (Miller and Siry, p. 118) Also representative of this period are the groups of Second Empire houses located at 225-235 South 42 Street (John D. Jones, builder, c.1865) (Illus. 4) and Italianate houses at 4008-4018 Pine Street (John C. Mitchell, developer, c.1861). Leslie, Jones and Mitchell chose the Italianate and Second Empire styles for these houses, borrowing the style from the earlier detached Italianate and Second Empire residences which epitomized the wealth and sophistication they sought to emulate. The asymmetrical architectural style, with towers and wrap-around porches, successfully disguised the semi-detached house, making it appear as one large villa, further reinforcing the illusion of the wealthy country estate. The typical household, American born and white, had a head of household commuting downtown, with a wife, children, servants, and often boarders living in the house. (Miller and Siry, p. 120)

It was during the 1860s that another transportation improvement took place which was very significant to the development of West Philadelphia. In 1866, a horsecar depot opened on Chestnut Street between 41st and 42nd Streets. This building still stands intact today at 4142 Chestnut Street. This route was heavily travelled, and ran from the depot in West Philadelphia, down Chestnut Street to Front Street and back.

Dispersed institutional development adjacent to Spruce Hill played a role in the growth of the area: the Blockley Almshouse was constructed near the river in the first quarter of the century; Pennsylvania Hospital, at 44th and Market Streets; Home for the Incurables at 47th and Woodland Avenue; Home for Indigent Widows and Single Women at 36th and Chestnut Streets; Penn Working Home for the Blind at 36th and Lancaster. In 1862, the Satterlee Hospital was constructed in the farmland of West Philadelphia to provide medical assistance to those wounded in the Civil War. (Illus. 5) Constructed in the area around 44th Street and Baltimore Avenue, the hospital was a massive structure with a two-story Administration building flanked by thirty-four wards. (Illus. 6) The Satterlee Hospital closed in 1865 after having cared for more than 60,000 men. The only extant institution is the Merciful Savior Home for Crippled Children, which was built in the 1880s, and is located on the 4300-4400 block of Baltimore Avenue. All of these institutions encouraged residential development, as the name "Satterlee Heights" attests to for the area surrounding the hospital.

During the 1870s, development was beginning to branch out to 42nd Street and beyond. The neighborhood was recognized as a success. Developers extended the street grid by constructing houses beyond the established boundaries. They provided more compact, less ornate houses on smaller plots of land, with the intention of making a greater profit on their investments.

Speculative development of the 1870s logically followed the developments of Hamilton Terrace in the 1850s and Woodland Terrace in the 1860s. The 4200 block of Chester Avenue (Robert Lindsay, developer, 1870) and 203-17 South 42 Street (William S. Kimball, developer, 1876) (Illus. 9) are representative of the development of this period. The chosen house style, the Italianate semi-detached house with front yard, is smaller and more compact than the houses on Woodland Terrace. Each house sits on a smaller plot of land, illustrating the reduced scale of many of the characteristics that defined the earlier developments.

The 4000 block of Locust Street (Clarence H. Clark, developer, 1870) (Illus. 7) breaks away from the Italianate style typical of the area and anticipates the future development of the neighborhood. Clark chose the rowhouse as the house form, but restricted building within 20 feet of the street, thus providing room for a porch and yard as one amenity of the site plan. "He thereby created a block front which grafted the traditional green space and covered entrance of attached and single homes of the suburbs onto the continuous front of rowhouses, which in the old city usually met the street directly, without such gestures." (Miller and Siry, p. 138) These plainer, more repetitive houses were more clearly identifiable as speculative projects for the middle class. This group of houses and others similar (4400 block Chestnut Street, Thomas Powers, developer, 1880) introduced urban density and architectural uniformity which had been avoided in earlier speculative developments. As speculative building practice changed, so did the characteristics of those who inhabited the new houses. The residents of the Locust Street houses were less exclusively wealthy and native born than earlier residents of the area; however, like the West Philadelphia residents who came before them, they continued to commute to old city rather than being dependent on the local economy. (Miller and Siry, p.140) Indicative of the decrease in status of the West Philadelphia house, exclusive fraternities prided themselves on not having any members who lived west of the Schuylkill River, and proper Philadelphians who resided on Rittenhouse Square claimed the West Philadelphians had a distinctive accent. (E. Digby Baltzell, Philadelphia Gentlemen: The Making of a National Upper Class, Glencoe, Ill., 1958)

Despite the mass speculative building that was taking place in the area, some well-to-do citizens continued to choose West Philadelphia as the location of their family estates. Clarence Clark, real estate developer and partner in the banking house E.H. Clark, established by his father in 1837, built and lived in his home at 42nd and Locust Streets, the site now occupied by the former Episcopal Divinity School. Charles M. Swain, the son of the founder of the Public Ledger and a premier newspaper editor, built his estate in 1875 at the corner of 45th and Spruce Streets, site of the 1960s University City Mews development. President of City Trust Safe Deposit and Surety Company, Director of Merchants National Bank and Franklin Fire Insurance Company, and President of Electric Protection Company, Swain was one of West Philadelphia's most prominent citizens. (M. Laffitte Vieira, West Philadelphia Illustrated, Avil Printing Co., 1903) The subsequent loss of both of these estates further attests to the continued middle class residential development pressures.

The rowhouse form, seen in developments from the 1880s, became a celebration of the Queen Anne style architecture of the period. The 4206-18 Spruce Street row, designed by Philadelphia architects G.W. and W.D. Hewitt in 1887-88 (Illus. 8) is exemplary of the type and style of building developments of the period. The pointed turrets, angled balconies and decorative brickwork are particularly fine examples of the popular Queen Anne style of the time. The Hewitt Brothers are credited with a number of other developments during this period, including 4200-26 Walnut Street (Henry C. Gibson, developer, c. 1879); 420-34 South 42 Street (William S. Kimball, developer, c. 1883) (Illus. 9); and St. Marks Square (Henry Gibson, developer, c.1879) (Illus. 10) The exuberant Queen Anne detailing, seen in the Spruce Street and South 42 Street developments, the eclectic style found in the Walnut Street houses, and the refined and elegant brick patterning and moulded string courses seen in the St. Marks Square houses all attest to the variety of the interpretation of Queen Anne architecture in this densely urban residential neighborhood. The early 1890s, exemplified in the 240-260 South 44 Street houses (Daniel Lindsay, developer, c. 1891) (Illus. 11) retained many characteristics of earlier developments. The rowhouse was the chosen house form and the moulded bricks, corbeled brick cornice and stone sills show much greater restraint than the earlier Queen Anne developments on Spruce Street and South 42nd St. Rather than a unified architectural composition, this group displays a pattern of uniform house designs with a resulting rhythm of AABBAABBAAB. This design technique enabled a builder to provide some interest and variety to an otherwise uniform streetscape.

In 1894, the electric streetcar was introduced to West Philadelphia, and the corresponding surge in development continued the close relationship between residential development and transportation improvements. The electric streetcar allowed easier access even farther west, and by the latter half of the decade, groups of Colonial Revival rowhouses and semi-detached houses began to fill in the undeveloped lots. Examples of rowhouse developments from this period completed by prolific developers in the area include 218-238 South 44 Street (Walter Steelman, developer, c.1898) (Illus. 12); 110-124 South 43rd Street (Edward Cloud, developer, c. 1894) (Illus. 13); 405-427 South 43rd Street (Robert and Thomas Killough, developers, c. 1896) (Illus. 14); 4404-10 Pine Street (Horace Drace, developer, c. 1895) (Illus. 15; and 4220-34 Spruce Street (William S. Kimball, developer, c. 1899) (Illus. 19). Typical Colonial Revival features of these buildings include classical columns, pediments, quoining, dentils and leaded glass windows. The continued influence of Queen Anne detailing is still evident in the second half of the decade. Many of these buildings include a mixture of Colonial Revival and Queen Anne elements, resulting in a richness of architecture enhanced by the solid building materials of Spruce Hill.

Single-family housing from the first decade of the twentieth century is similar in scope and style to that of the 1890s. The 4201-25 Pine Street houses (William S. Kimball, developer, c.1900-05) (Illus. 17) display both the semi-detached house type and the Colonial Revival style, typical of developments of this period. A group of Tudor Revival houses at 4501-07 Spruce Street (Charles J. Swain, developer, c. 1906) illustrates an unusual architectural style used in the neighborhood. Also atypical of the period was the Eisenlohr estate, designed by Horace Trumbauer in 1910. Trumbauer, whose more well-known works include the Free Library of Philadelphia; the addition to the Union League; Raquet Club; and others in the city, is also credited with the design of row and semi-detached houses in the area.

Between 1910-1927 almost all remaining open space west to Cobbs Creek was developed with a variety of housing types. Many large estates, including the 1860s mansion of Joseph Sinnott located on the southeast corner of 43 and Walnut Streets, succumbed to development pressures during this period. (Illus. 24) "Instead of the commodious double-houses and distinctive mansions of the old streetcar suburb, the West Philadelphia of the auto and El was to be row upon interminable row of two-story dwellings..." (Harold E. Cox, Horse Passenger Railways of Philadelphia, Penn Traction: May 1963)

Several four-story apartment buildings were constructed in response to the need for housing of increased density. Exemplary of this period is the Stonehurst apartment building, located at 419-25 South 45th Street (Howard B. Nichols, developer and builder, and A. Lynn Walker, architect, c.1900) (Illus. 16). The Stonehurst makes a dramatic switch from Queen Anne and Colonial Revival detached and semi-detached housing to a eclectic Romanesque/Tudor Revival high-density apartment house. With the construction of the "el", the subway-elevated railway, in 1907, there was an even greater need for housing as the transportation access to the "old city" again was improved. The apartment house became the chosen form for high density housing. Four- and five-story apartment houses were constructed on the few remaining undeveloped lots. These buildings were different in character and density from the single, semi-detached and rowhouses of the period from 1850-1910, and were usually built up to the lot line and were one-story higher than the residential houses. These apartment buildings represent a variety of styles unusual in Philadelphia neighborhoods; there is a mixture of elaborate, highly decorated buildings reminiscent of palaces along with apartment buildings articulated to resemble individual rowhouses, with many separate entrances. The Netherlands apartment building, located at 4300-22 Chestnut Street (Real Estate Bonding Company, developer, c.1907) (Illus. 18), is an example of a Classical Revival apartment building typical of the district.

All available open land in Spruce Hill was developed with apartment buildings. One example is the Fairfax Apartments, located at the northeast corner of 43rd and Locust Streets. (Illus. 25) The two large open spaces remaining in Spruce Hill can be credited to Clarence H. Clark. His estate on the lot bound by 42nd and 43rd Streets and Spruce and Locust Streets now houses the former Episcopal Divinity School, built between 1922-26. The remainder of the lot is open to the public. The other, even larger open space in the district is Clark Park, named for Clarence Clark. In 1895, Clark had the foresight to realize the area's density was rapidly increasing. He deeded a portion of his property, bordered by Baltimore Avenue, 43rd and 45th Streets, to the City, to be used as a park and dedicated to children. Amidst the trees, green grass and meandering paths sits the only lifesize statue of Charles Dickens, here sitting with Little Nell, a character from his novel The Old Curiosity Shop. (Edythe Ferris and Robert A. Brothers, Clark Park History, Friends of Clark Park papers, 1974)

Another factor which contributes to the character of the neighborhood is the number and variety of churches. The eight Spruce Hill churches vary in age, from the 1871 Woodland Presbyterian Church designed by architect Isaac Purcell on the southeast corner of Pine and 42nd Streets, to the 1937 Good Shepherd Community Church at 318 South 46th Street. The architectural styles of the churches in the neighborhood vary as well, from the impressive design of the Gothic Revival Chestnut Street Baptist Church designed by architect Frank Rushmore Watson, to Carrere & Hasting's Renaissance Revival First Church of Christ Scientist located at 4012 Walnut Street, and the Mission Revival Mt. Ephraim Tabernacle Baptist Church located at 4431 Walnut Street and designed by architect Clarence Eaton Schermerhorn.


History of Transportation

The transformation of West Philadelphia housing closely parallels the increasing access provided by evolving transportation systems. The ascent of West Philadelphia as an integral residential section of the City came with the availability of street railway cars and bridges over the Schuylkill River. The first permanent bridge across the Schuylkill River was constructed in 1805. An omnibus line that ran from the foot of Market Street in West Philadelphia across the river was the only transportation available to residents of the developments of Harrison and Browne. (Miller and Siry, p.113-4) The first bridge designed for horsecars and passengers was the Chestnut Street bridge, constructed in 1857. The transition from upper class country retreat to middle class suburb began in earnest at this point. West Philadelphia, a lower density residential neighborhood only a short commute to the central business district, became an operative part of the city. In 1858 the first horsecar came from "old city" to 49th St and Woodland Avenue via the Chestnut Street bridge and Darby Road (now Woodland Avenue). In 1859 the line was extended to Darby. This line provided much improved service to the residents of the Hamilton and Woodland Terrace developments. Spruce Hill is unique when compared to center city neighborhoods, in that it developed as a residential area intended to be a commuter community.

In 1866, a horsecar depot opened on Chestnut Street between 41st and 42nd Streets. The most heavily trafficked lines ran from this depot in West Philadelphia to old city. The single route down Chestnut Street to Front Street and back dramatically opened the doors to West Philadelphia. (Illus. 26)

Due in part to this improved accessibility Center City, large-scale building activity began in West Philadelphia at this time. Semi-detached houses and rowhouses were built on streets conveniently located to the new streetcar lines. East-west streets, the closest to streetcar lines, had the most expensive exclusive houses. More modest houses were found on the north-south numbered streets. Alleys had the smallest houses.

As other bridges at Walnut Street, South Street, and Gray's Ferry opened, additional horsecar lines appeared, creating a network that made a car line within walking distance for everyone south of Market Street. All the lines operated from the depot at 42nd and Chestnut Streets, or the depot at 49th Street and Woodland Avenue.

The electric streetcar made its debut in West Philadelphia in 1894. This transportation made the commute to downtown much faster. Developers responded by constructing housing faster and more efficiently to keep up with the growing demand. Routes in West Philadelphia were extended as far as Chester and Media in Delaware County.

The electric streetcar was very successful. Several companies owned and operated streetcar lines, resulting in too many cars on streets that could not handle the congestion. The chaos ended when thirty-three traction companies were consolidated in 1902 into the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. Prior to the completion of the subway-elevated railway (the "el,"), subway service began on the Baltimore Avenue route from West Philadelphia to City Hall in 1905. Within a year, every other line in West Philadelphia became a "subway-surface" car: Spruce Street provided surface transit; Baltimore Avenue, subway-surface; Chester Avenue, surface; Woodland Avenue, subway-surface. These east-west lines were complemented by a north-south grid of trolley lines. Transportation was available in any direction by no more than a two-block walk.

The Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company's first mission was to build a subway-elevated railway to West Philadelphia from Center city. Construction began on the "el" in 1903 and it was opened for service in 1907. The widespread acceptance of the automobile around the same period ignited another wave of speculative development. With the anticipation of the subway-elevated line and the added impetus of the automobile, speculative builders, convinced of the future success of their projects, developed every possible piece of land available to them by the end of the first decade of the twentieth century.


Summary of Significance

The Spruce Hill Historic District continues to serve Philadelphia in a predominantly residential commuter capacity as it has for more than a century. From the early stages of development in "Hamiltonville" during the first years of the 19th Century, the neighborhood of Spruce Hill has served as a greener residential alternative to the urban environment of downtown Philadelphia.

Speculative development accounted for the majority of buildings during the period of significance for Spruce Hill, between 1850-1910. This development occurred concurrently with important transportation related improvements between the "Old City" and West Philadelphia. The residences built during these years, as well as the landscape features, reinforced the intention of these developers to provide an atmosphere different from many other Philadelphia neighborhoods. Surrounding many of these homes were front yards, varying styles of iron fences and shade trees, again features not often found in many downtown Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Its unique qualities are reinforced when Spruce Hill is compared to other "suburban" communities in Philadelphia, such as Chestnut Hill, Germantown, and Overbrook. Spruce Hill evolved as very planned small neighborhoods for the new population of middle-class managers working in industrialized Philadelphia in the last half of the 19th century. Along with the early residents of Spruce Hill being products of the industrialization of Philadelphia, the special repetitive nature of the architectural elements on many of the rows of houses demonstrates the influence of mass production in the design of buildings during this period. On the other hand, other earlier Philadelphia "suburbs" like Chestnut Hill, Germantown and Overbrook were developed to provide a more "country retreat" environment for wealthier Philadelphia residents. In these other Philadelphia neighborhoods, the houses constructed were often free-standing, and were larger than in Spruce Hill, with more spacious lots and many shade trees. When compared to other more "urban" neighborhoods like those along Diamond Street in North Philadelphia, being developed during the same time period as Spruce Hill, it is clear that those middle class residents opting for Spruce Hill were looking for a more green, tranquil environment than those living in the more densely developed urban areas around Diamond Street.

The homes in Spruce Hill, often more spacious than those being built in other areas of the city during the same period, represent the several styles popular during this period: Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Jacobean Revival, Neoclassical and Tudor Revival. Another important factor which makes Spruce Hill significant and different from other Philadelphia neighborhoods is the large number of architect-designed buildings. Samuel Sloan designed over 50 buildings spread throughout the Spruce Hill Historic District, with groups of ten houses on both the 4l00 block of Spruce Street, and 500 block of Woodland Terrace. Prominent architects G.W. and W.D. Hewitt also designed several groups of residences in the neighborhood, and Horace Trumbauer and Carrere & Hastings also designed individual buildings. The buildings of several lesser-known Philadelphia architects were also part of the planned developments throughout Spruce Hill.

Even though much of West Philadelphia has been altered by the influx of commercial and institutional development, the integrity of the "streetcar suburb" of Spruce Hill survives.

The Spruce Hill Historic District nomination, made possible by a grant from the J.N. Pew, Jr. Charitable Trust, was prepared by the Preservation Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.