Sketches of Philadelphia in 1861:

Watercolors by Taylor

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Overview of 2100 Block of Arch Street from 1804-1874


2116, 2118, and 2120 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA (left to right).

Watercolor by Taylor (1861). Image courtesy of Winterthur Library.


By 1869, the three frame houses that Taylor painted on the south side of Arch Street in 1861 had been replaced by four-story brick row houses. In 1863, Samuel Bunting Jr. purchased a number of lots, including three frame houses, each 15 feet in length, on the south side of Arch Street. Bunting reapportioned the lots, and, with Peter Levering, constructed new brick row houses 20 feet in length. Bunting sold a row house at 2118 Arch Street on December 8, 1865, and another home at 2116 Arch Street on December 15, 1866. On October 12, 1868 John Carson purchased a frame dwelling at 2120 Arch Street, and, on August 28, 1869, Carson sold a brick dwelling to William McGeorge.

Taylor’s painting suggests that the frame houses were built at the same time. Evidence suggests that these homes were extant as early as 1823. The 1863 deed of sale between Ann Harper and Samuel Bunting, Jr. indicates that Harper had been granted a 30-foot lot with two frame-dwellings and their kitchens by the Orphans Court in 1825, following the death of her father in 1823. The area around the homes was a mixed-use commercial and residential district. A screw and bolt factory, and a meat packing factory and a public school were all nearby. A comparison of owners' names and city directories indicates that none of the owners lived in the dwellings, suggesting that the homes were occupied by tenants, who perhaps worked at the local factories.

The homes seem to have been leveled as part of the large-scale development of this portion of Arch Street during the 1860s and 1870s. The 1860 Hexamer map indicates that in 1859 a fourth two-story frame dwelling occupied the site. These four buildings were the only structures on this portion of the block and lay just beyond a densely developed area of brick homes, which ended a block away at Filbert Street. In Taylor’s 1861 sketch, the fourth frame dwelling on 2100 Arch Street has been replaced by a vacant lot, and at least one new brick row house has been constructed. According to the Bromley Atlas, by 1874 the entire south side on 2100 Arch Street had been filled in with brick row houses. Similar development (also involving Samuel Bunting) occurred on the 2000 block of Arch Street.


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Last Updated December 11, 2004