This is historic! That is historic? pt 1
With our recent trip to Japan I began to get used to all of these ancient land marks surrounding us. I began to wonder what we walk by everyday at home, in the U.S., and don’t even know or care is historic. We do live in Philadelphia, some big history for the country there, but what about our neighborhood? What do we have in our ‘hood that is similar in importance to what is in Motoko’s Parents in Japan? Is there anything? So, Motoko and I drove around our neighborhood and tried to explore some areas that the local preservation group is trying to have deemed important for Philadelphia’s history. I was a nice day out so I brought along the camera to shot some photos for the blog and painting references. I started out at planphilly.com and looked through the points of interest, choose our driving path of least resistance ,and hopped in the car/truck thing to go and breathe some fresh (questionably) air. It was fresh. The area we live in is up for, a name calling, debate. Things can get heated between city folk about where they are from and what neighborhood is what and authentic real estate agents will get into fisticuffs over it. Being a transplanted southern boy now living in the lowest part of the North’s denial, that it’s the same as the south-eastern coast, I had to define again where I live and joined in on the fun. Technically we live in what was historically called Olde Richmond. It is now considered part of Fishtown (sigh of relief). So what is all this coming to? I can proudly stand up and say, “I have had a connection to my current neighborhood all my life!” But, so what. If you are, not quite a person of a certain age, are a person of a certain age, or progeny of said people you too have this cosmic connection.
This connection called the “Slinky!” Not a five-minute walk from our front door and you can see the overgrown bank of the Delaware river where the Cramp building used to be. A few minutes walk back and you’ll see the building planphilly.com wants to conserve. It’s all looming angles and giant glass panes. It looks like a giant lego-brick airplane hangar. So that was the 2nd coolest spot- at least on paper. What was the coolest spot on paper that can’t really be seen anymore? Gunner’s Run. It was a creek turned into a canal that was used as an investment scheme and is now paved over. Hey that doesn’t sound cool. Well, boys and girls, it’s named after Gunner Rambo. We have a Rocky Statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, now I suggest, no, demand that a statue of Rambo be place on the paved over- overgrown-Aramingo Canal where it once met the Delaware River.
What else might be of importance to Philly’s younger years? Two defunct power plants; one in some active shipping yards, next to the recycle plant, and the other one adjacent to our neighborhood park where William Penn signed a treaty with some native Americans They were really surprised to see electric lights along with Penn’s boomstick. Ahem… so there was also some old coal wharves and pier 18 associatedwith the coal wharves and has railroad tracks on what
looks like a roller coaster ramp that Reading Railroad constructed. I have to admit we didn’t see this as it was posted no trespassing and groups of people where ridding their 4 wheelers and dirt bikes around. Guys fishing in coolers of beer by jacked up trucks and what I would consider unwelcoming looks deterred us. The Edward Corner Marine Warehouse near the new casino construction has some cool old lettering but I’m not posting a picture of it. So there. We drove by the grassy wayside of Dyottsville, the one time snake oil capital of the world and was
also home to a famous glass-works site. The Smithsonian now houses some of the pieces manufactured there. Behold Georgia Southerners, Pulaski Park (named after a Polish military commander who died in the battle of Savannah in the Revolutionary war) is an extremely then strip of land next to the shipping docks along North Delaware Ave. Evidently a good fishing spot for recovering methamphetamine addicts and it has some cool old shipping apparatus near by too.
Working backwards now, as I’ve been posting these in no particular order of our excursion, I’ll start at the beginning. <— The music club The Barbary has been around since 1969 and is up for a nomination into the historical preseveration society. Their page= http://www.myspace.com/thenewbarbary
According to wiki-travel it is “Hipster Heaven”. I can’t find any information about its importance to music except that its been around for a while. Someone let me know about that one please. Its name is interesting in context of the city considering this: the USS Philadelphia was lit aflame by its own people in the first Barbary war.
So how does this all tie in together? What about those pictures from Japan?
Well we’ll get to that next time as I’m prepping some panels for paintings for a hopeful art and craft fair. I’ll leave you with Mr. Penn.