Sketches of Philadelphia in 1861:

Watercolors by Taylor

Home 1700 Market Street 2000 Arch Street 2100 Arch Street Research/Sources

Research Method and Sources


Starting Point:  Three watercolor sketches by Taylor ca. 1861 with general locations
   North side of Market Street between 17th and 18th Street
   South side of Arch Street between 20th and 21st Street
   South side of Arch Street between 21st and 22nd Street

Develop narratives about the lives of the buildings depicted in the sketched by researching the building’s owners, inhabitants, and construction/demolition dates.

Step 1. Determining Building Locations and General Descriptions
  Visited Free Library of Pennsylvania Map Collection to examine ward maps.

Hexamer and Locher Fire Insurance Atlas of 1860 provided addresses and building descriptions of properties.

  Examined Bromley 1875 and Hexamer 1887 and 1915 fire insurance atlases to understand the development of the area and building.
Step 2. Focusing Our Research
  1725 Market Street listed on maps as Pottery. Property becomes focal point of research.
Continued research for 1723 and 1727 Market Street to supplement understanding of the block
Based on similar appearance of buildings on Arch Street blocks, surmised that construction dates for homes on each block must be approximately same. Selected one building from each block of Arch Street as focus of research: 2008 Arch Street and 2116 Arch Street.
 Step 3. Determining Construction and Demolition Dates of Pproperties

Obtained registry number for all properties at Philadelphia City Hall, Department of Records and Map Room.


Conducted a chain of title at the Philadelphia City Archives, which included grantor/ grantee indexes, transfer sheets, and deeds.

  Examined 3rd District Surveys at Philadelphia City Archives.
  Researched Fire Insurance Surveys at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
 Step 4. Identifting Building Occupants
  Researched City and Business Directories at from 1809-1890 at:
  • Library Company of Philadelphia
  • Free Library of Philadelphia
  • Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania
  • Philadelphia City Archives
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania
 Step 5. Resarching Philadelphia History

Researched history of trade at Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania and Library Company of Philadelphia.

  Researched the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania.
Step 6. Illustrating Our Findings

Researched the Castner Scrapbook collection at the Free Library of Philadelpia Prints and Picture Collection.

  Researched trade catalogs at the Library Company of Philadelphia Print Department.
  Researched Pennsylvania Railroad Company images at the Philadelphia City Archives.
  Photographed and digitally enhanced fire insurance maps.
See individual building timelines for citations, images, and sources.
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 686-5322
   Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 732-6200
  Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
(215) 546-3181
Philadelphia Department of Records
City Hall
Room 154
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 686-2260
Van Pelt Library
University of Pennsylvania
3420 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-7555
Last Updated December 11, 2004