An evaluation of the newspapers in the Philadelphia region in the 1960s for research purposes
South Philadelphia Review Chronicle
This newspaper would not be the best for building news. It is a weekly paper that came out every Friday. For the week of September 23rd 1960 the paper had an article about the opening of a new children's wing at Philadelphia General Hospital, but this article was more about the Gala planned for the opening. The paper is more of a social review. It lists birthdays, deaths, and weddings in a format that suggests that everyone knew each other in the area. It gives gossip, health advice, and social events. The paper is filled with ads. This paper would be useful if you were researching the neighborhood, or a family that lived there. The ad section will also list some of the tradesman in the area.
I reviewed articles from the Chestnut Hill Local from the weeks of September 22, 1960, September 29, 1960 and from October 6, 1960.
I was pleased to see so many articles about planning and architecture in a small neighborhood weekly local. In all three weeks that I looked at, planning or development issues made front page news. In the first week that I looked at, Holmes Perkins (the Chairman of the City Planning Commission) was planning an informal meeting to discuss the proposed long-term plan for the city of Philadelphia. The article announced the meeting (which was to be held at the Holmes Perkins home!) and explained a bit about the long term city plan, mentioning the main goal to be the prevention of the mass exodus of residence to the suburbs. This article gave the impression that for the people of Chestnut Hill in 1960, planning was a big deal, one of local, city, and even national importance.
This meeting was talked about in all three weeks of the Local that I looked at, making front page news each time. But I also saw smaller articles about local development projects, announcements of zoning changes, and photographs of Chestnut Hill “Then and Now.”
From my brief look, this newspaper showed me that in one of Philadelphia’s most affluent neighborhoods, planning was important, everyday news.
September 25-26, 1960, the Philadelphia Inquirer
On these dates, the Philadelphia Inquirer largely covered commercial and residential development in Philadelphia. At the time, Philadelphians were considering subsidizing certain commuter rail lines. This action would affect urban development and highway construction. Also, the poultry market on Front Street, between Pine and Spruce Streets, had been deserted and the Redevelopment Authority had condemned most of the buildings. In the area of new commercial construction, Industrial Trust announced that they had decided to construct a building at the intersection of Cottman and Large streets. The architect for this building was Clarence Thalheimer, and the contractor was A. P. Orleans. In the realm of residential buildings, a new group of duplex homes, constructed by Richard Korman Builders, at Champlost Avenue and 13th Street was for sale at $19,500. Also, the 30 unit Loretta Arms apartment building at the intersection of Faust Street and Loretto Avenue was completed. 2601 Parkway, a 520 suite apartment building near the Museum of Art was sold by Mayer I. Blum to his brother Benjamin I. Blum. Finally, LaSalle University broke ground for the St. Josephs Hall Dormitory at the intersection of Washington Lane and Ashbourne Road.
Germantown Courier
This is a local newspaper distributed weekly in Germantown Pennsylvania. The newspaper provides articles regarding new and past zoning laws for construction and parking. The resident’s attitudes towards these laws are also presented in articles. These articles are beneficial in providing current zones, names of builders and proposed plans for construction. This is evident in an article from the September 22, 1960 issue, “Civic Association Polling Members on Fox Apartment Request.” This is an appeal from builder’s Richard and Robert Fox to residents to erect 70 apartment units of the garden type construction. The Fox’s state 8 points in a letter to the residents regarding new zoning which will upgrade from commercial and downgrade from residential C to residential special. The use of the landscape and parking are also included in the appeal. This gives insight into the current land use of 1960 and the proposed view of what will come for the land.