Westcott Scrapbooks

Volume 5
Page 251 June 1882
Attractive Building Improvements

Peter A. B. Widener and William L. Elkins have bought from Hugh Graham, the florist, the property at the northeast corner of Nineteenth and Thompson streets, upon which stood a three-storied, gable-roofed, rural-looking mansion, which attracted much notice.  The old mansion is now being torn down, and on the plot of ground, which is 100 feet on Nineteenth street and 227 feet on Thompson street, and for which $25,000 was paid, Messrs. Widener & Elkins will erect twenty-five houses, fronting on Thompson Street, on Nineteenth street and on Graham street, which latter bound the lot on the north.  The houses will be of pressed brick and brownstone with an approved pattern designed by Willis G. Hale architect.  The housing front on Graham street will be of smaller size than the others but will bear the same general design.  Within the past five years Widener and Elkins have erected 254 houses.


Volume 6
Page 18 August 1882
Erection of Dwellings in the Vicinity of Girard College

There are now several extensive building operations in progress in the neighborhoods of Nineteenth and Twentieth streets, and Girard avenue.  Vacant lots that have long been eyesores in that locality are being, or have been recently, occupied with attractive dwelling-houses, suited to the occupancy of those possessing a competency, as well as of others of humbler means.  On both sides of Girard avenue, between Nineteenth and Twentieth streets, John M. Sharp is putting up 28 dwellings, each of them three stories in height, with pressed brick fronts, and brown-stone finish..  Sixteen of them are on the south side of the avenue, and have twelve rooms reach, and some have side yards.  Those on the north side are eleven-room houses.  There are also four dwellings on Twentieth street, below the avenue, each with eleven rooms, and white marble trimmings.  In the rear of the buildings on the south side of Girard avenue, and fronting on Cambridge street, Mr. Sharp is also erecting sixteen neat two-story seven-room brick dwellings.  The total number of buildings included in this operation is 48.

            At the northeast corner of Nineteenth and Thompson streets, the grounds long occupied by Hugh Graham, the florist, are now being improved by the erection of a cluster of twenty-five dwelling houses, six of which will be on Nineteenth street, nine on Thompson street, and ten on Graham street, which bound the lot on the north.  The buildings on Nineteenth street will have twelve rooms, those on Thompson street nine rooms and those on Graham street seven rooms.  The fronts will be of the new style ornamental bricks, with brown-stone trimmings, and the buildings will be, it is said, of first-class finish.  Widener & Elkins are the owners and builders, and Willis G. Hale is the architect.  Workmen are now engaged in tearing down an old mansion house near the centre of the lot, which is said to be one hundred years old.  It is supposed that it was originally built for a farm house, with its front looking towards Ridge avenue.  Many years ago it was a popular public house, called the Cedar Grove Hotel, but its most recent use was as a dwelling by Mr. Graham.  The walls, which were of brick, were laid in cement, and the work in the foundation walls was so solid that great difficulty is experienced in separating the stones from the mortar.