and further exploration of the project

| Commentary | Observations | Highlights |

Exploring how real estate appeared in newspapers is interesting for any decade and for any city, but it is particularly interesting for Philadelphia and this time period for two reasons. The first reason is that Philadelphia is well known for its status as a city of homes. Philadelphia boasts the most homeowners than any other city. These real estate advertisements and articles illustrate how that came to be. Secondly, this is an interesting time period to showcase because it illustrates the initial founding of land outlying the city as suburbs. These advertisements and articles follow one of the first waves of city folk out into the suburbs and precedes their major postwar boom. It appears that Philadelphia's close suburbs "boomed" well before the war and the resulting post-war suburbs are further away from the city proper.

This examination of how real estate appeared in daily newspapers from the 1880's to the 1920's uncovered a few interesting points. There are a few ways you can look at the results; one way is to look at the advertisements by date and see how both the real estate and the ways it was advertised changed over time. This leads well into the second way to examine the results; search the advertisements by type and look at how the real estate was advertised and what the underscored selling points were. Furthermore, the results could be analyzed looking at how advertising differed for different suburbs/geographic locations or by different price ranges/classes. The images and advertisements that were captured for this project focus primarily on real estate for sale, but it would also be useful to return to these papers and look at how real estate for rent was advertised and perhaps map when apartment rentals became popular.

This project was begun out of the inspiration to mknow more about middle class real estate/domesticity between the 1880's and the 1920's. The results do not adhere strictly to this goal. It was hypothesized that the real estate advertisements appearing in daily newspapers would focus on middle class real estate; stock housing, rowhouses, prebuilt homes, and resales. Instead a great diversity appeared in the papers of types of homes being sold. Further work with this project could reorganize the results further within the by type section and organize the advertisements by type of home or price range. The latter would be more difficult as the value of the dollar fluctuated within the fifty year time period that is examined here. It would also be interesting to involve this study in a much larger history of the modern real estate business or the history of land developers and construction companies.


Advertising Highlights:

All Images were copied from microfilms of The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Press, and The Public Ledger at The Free Library of Philadelphia.

This site was designed by Amanda Chudnow '03 for CITY 306: Advanced Field Techniques in May, 2003.