Two Country Homes
East and West of the Schuylkill
At the Winterthur Library there is an ancient volume, folio number 268 in the John Downs Collection, containing 57 pencil and wash drawings of Philadelphia.¬Ý This book is titled only as ’ÄúTaylor, Sketchbook, 1861’Äù inside and ’ÄúViews of Old Philadelphia’Äù on the spine.¬Ý As part of a class at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, historical and archival research has been directed at exploring the buildings depicted in these sketches, reconstructing their histories and telling their stories.¬Ý This website is about the buildings from the two images shown above, and the areas surrounding them.
"Emlenton,’Äù the building on the left, was the country estate of Adam Everly located just outside the original bounds of Philadelphia. ¬ÝThe building on the right is also in what was then a suburb of the city, located on the northwest corner of Thirty-Second Street and Ridge Avenue, and owned by Samuel F. Corlies. ¬ÝFor each man, a country estate was the prime mark of status and success.¬Ý But times and places both change, and the once large landholdings of Everly and Corlies were slowly subdivided into smaller and smaller lots.¬Ý As the city expanded and engulfed each former estate, the areas surrounding both become blighted.¬Ý These pages will tell the story of the drastic changes city blocks can undergo in a century and a half of change, ’Äúprogress,’Äù decay, and ultimately renewal.