Market Street 323-345
1. 1960 photo of 339 Market Street (click on image to enlarge) from the Philadelphia City Archives
2. 1904 photo from Newpaper clipping showing 325 Market Street (Click on image to enlarge) Jane Campbell Scrapbooks archived at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
3. Detail from Baxter's Panoramic Business Directory of Philadelphia for 1860 showing 323 to 341 Market Street from Places in Time
The buildings at 323-345 Market Street are depicted as they looked in Baxters Panoramic 1860 Directory (fig. 3.). All of these buildings were demolished to make way for the Colonial Penn office building at 399 Market Street (fig.4) which now fills the west half of the 300 block of Market Street.

The 19th century buildings are shown as they looked in 1904 (fig. 2) thanks to a newspaper clipping contending that 325 Market was the site where Ben Franklins first lighting rod was installed. While the lighting rod story is not likely, the article does point out that public attention was focused on these buildings as Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company was preparing to excavate along this section of Market Street to construct the subway lines.

5. Looking west from the Northwest corner or 300 Market street. Notice the finely scaled detailing especially below the first story cornic eline and finley scaled Photo: J. Spector 2005
6. Looking west from 323 Market Street viewing the western half of the 300 block and the 400 block of market. Notice the monolith street wall and lack of fine detail in the pedestrian zone. Photo: J. Spector 2005

The 1918 City Directory lists most of the buildings in this portion of the block as stores specializing in the sale of clothing, jewelry, pottery, hosiery, neckwear and glass. This retail pattern is broken to make way for an auction house at 331, a theatre at 333, a caf at 337, an automat restaurant at 339. An article about the conversion of the Reigel Dry goods store at 333 Market Street into a theatre appeared in a 1910 newspaper clipping describing the alterations:

ݒEntrance to the theatre will be through an arcade 25 x 100. The auditorium will be at the rear of the lot and occupy an area of 64 x 168Ķ The new theatre, it is understood, will be leased to the Moving Picture Company of America. It will have an exit on 4th Street, the property at 23 N. 4th street having recently been purchased to provide an exit.

A 1956 Hexamer insurance map (fig.7.) shows a parking lot where the theatre stood surrounded by small storefront buildings. One of those buildings is shown in a 1960 photograph (fig. 1.) of 339 Market Street along with portions of the19th century buildings at 337 and 341. By 1965 a Hexamer Map shows a single office building in place of the nineteenth century building.

The jump from 319 to 399 Market Street is marked by a narrow alley in place of the building at 321 Market Street. This alley also marks the threshold between 19th century Market Street (fig.5 ) and the large, twentieth century buildings (fig.6) and public spaces surrounding Independence Mall.

4. Colonial Penn office building at 399 Market Street which replaced the buildings from 323-341 Market Street shown above.
7. Hexamer Insurance Map dated 1956 shows a parking lot in place of a theatre whose entrance was at 333 Market Street with an exit at 23N.4th Street. From the Map Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia
8. Hexamer Insurance Map dated 1965 shows the current office building at 399 Market Street replacing the buildings formerly existed at 323 -341 Market Street. From the Map Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia