23 ~ NW Corner Dock & Pear Streets 39 ~ NW Corner Spruce & Dock Streets


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#23 ~ NW Corner Dock & Pear Streets | Maps & Photography

Comparison of Taylor's 1861 watercolor of the NorthWest corner of Dock and Pear Streets and a contemporary view of the North end of that same block of Dock Street today, now occupied by the Ritz Theater. The theater now occupies the entire end of the Dock and Thomas Paine block. Note the Merchant's Exchange standing to the North.

The 1840 map of Philadelphia on the left shows the length of Dock Street. The street continues to curve across Spruce to intersect with 2nd Street. Late 20th Century maps discussed at the bottom of the page below show Dock (later called 38th Parallel) ending at Spruce. The 1897 Hexamer & Sons map on the right shows more detail of structures on the Dock and Pear Street block.

The 1916 Sanborn map on the left shows the continued density of smaller structures of the Dock and Pear Street block. The 1948 Sanborn map on the right shows the same area of Dock and Pear (here called Chancellor) Streets. Note that there are now several small structures and a number of empty lots on the block.

Dock Street produce center, March 1947 and Old Dock Street Before Demolition, 1940's. This section of the city was by this time known for its congestion, noise and filth.

Gentrification arrives in the neighborhood in the mid 20th Century. The aerial photograph on the left shows the clearance of a several block area and the beginning of Society Hill Towers construction in 1963. Dock Street curves to the right and upward from Spruce at the lower center toward Pear Street (aka Thomas Paine). Note the widespread demolition of the landscape and the Merchant's Exchange (with the red roof) still standing one block to the North the sketch's site on Dock Street. The later map on the right shows the revised 1978 Sanborn view of the Dock and Pear (here called Chancellor) Street block.

On the left is a contemporary aerial photo of Dock Street, showing the Ritz Theatre occupying the block on Dock and Walnut Streets and the Society Hill Towers to the South at Spruce and Dock Streets. Note the Merchant's Exchange one block to the north and Independence Hall in the upper left corner.

On the right is a contemporary map of the Dock Street neighborhood where the sites of sketches #23 and #39 are indicated in blue and red, respectively. Park holdings in this historic neighborhood are shaded in green. Note that the names of the streets have changed over time. Pear Street became Chancellor Street in the late 19th Century and was again changed to Thomas Paine more recently. Dock Street near Spruce underwent similar changes, moving from Dock to Little Dock, then Mattis and, more recently, 38th Parallel.

On the left is a view of Thomas Paine Place (aka Pear Street) Eastward toward Dock Street as it appears today. This once bustling street serves today as an alley way behind the Ritz theater. On the right is the Dock Street façade.