what a difference 250 years make
Well, I did make a pilgrimage this morning down to Ridge Avenue and Buttonwood Street, Philadelphia, where "legend" has it that Benjamin Franklin flew a kite with key and discovered that lightening and electricity are the same thing 250 years ago. Although in an area still full of a lot of old warehouses, many now facilitating Chinese/Oriental businesses relative to Chinatown several blocks south, the "historic site" is an otherwise somewhat decrepit part of the city. There actually is an empty lot just east of Ridge Avenue on Buttonwood Street, and that's what I took pictures of. Otherwise, there is nothing at all to suggest that something of quite modern significance ever happen at this place, except perhaps the rather large outdoor electrical power station enclosed within a high chain-link fence a half block south on the other side of Ridge Avenue.
I had somewhat heightened expectations of my visitation since deciding to go yesterday morning. Last night I was watching a movie over a friends place, and I asked, "Do you know where Buttonwood Street is. I think it's right around Ridge and Spring Garden." My friend didn't have any idea, but offered me a SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) map. I found Buttonwood Street a block south of Spring Garden Street, and I thought I actually knew the site because I thought it was where a building I finally photographed this past February was. This building/warehouse is one I've known since my college days, and I always admired it because of its facade's striking similarity with the facade of Venturi and Rauch's D'Agostino House (1968, unbuilt). I then found myself even wondering whether Venturi actually knew this warehouse because, just maybe, Venturi had once gone to make his own pilgrimage to Ridge and Buttonwood. Alas, the warehouse I know is not at Ridge and Buttonwood, rather at a similar intersection with Ridge Avenue a block north of Spring Garden Street. It should be noted that Ridge Avenue is one of Philadelphia's old zig-zagging diagonal streets in contrast to the otherwise planned grid of streets, off the grid because it follows an old "Indian" trail, and in Franklin's time was the main route out of town to the north-western countryside.
I now find myself wondering what all this "says" about us in the beginning of the 21st century, a people so reliant on electricity, yet otherwise largely oblivious to how we got that way. There is a tiny triangular block just south of the empty lot on Buttonwood Street with a small used-car business on it. I knocked on the office door, and a tall black Muslim (I assume by his garb) man in his thirties answered. I asked him if heard of the story of Benjamin Franklin flying a kite and "discovering" electricity. He said, "I don't think I ever heard dat." I told him Franklin did it here over 200 years ago. He said, "What? In dis building?" I said, "No. Like over there." Then he asked in a kind of mean voice, "Why you sayin' all dis?" I then smiled, but I didn't say much more.
As I drove home up Broad Street I thought to myself in irony, "Well that was a swell way to celebrate Quondam's 6th anniversary." And then I thought, if that's what Franklin's kite flying site is like after 250 years, God only knows what Quondam will be 244 years from now. 3951
Re: what a difference 250 years make
You're kind of exactly right when you suggest that maybe there are too many places of "historic" significance in Philadelphia, and it is interesting that you bring to mind Piranesi and his map of the Campo Marzio because that map/plan indeed records so many of ancient Rome's historic sites even though almost none of them still existed in Piranesi's time. Moreover, it is worth also keeping in mind that Piranesi was delineating a place/city more than 1400 years after the fact. It seems almost impossible to even speculate whether, for example, the old "Indian" trail of Ridge Avenue will even still exist in 3402. Then again, it would be fun to imagine what some future Philadelphia Renaissance or Baroque period might be like. Note Franklin and Piranesi are near contemporaries; Piranesi died 1778 while Franklin was in France.
Re: Burial Practices of Native Americans: Production of A Kind Architecture
I live in one of the valleys that is part of Philadelphia's Tacony Creek Watershed, specifically the valley created by (the quondam) Rock Creek (which is today a large sewer tunnel under the couple mile length of Ashdale Street since the early 1940s). The mouth of Rock Creek at Tacony Creek is today a large tunnel (not at all unlike the ancient Roman main sewer tunnel that is still to be seen along the east bank of the Tiber). It is recorded that Native Americans once lived ("camped") around the confluence of Tacony and Rock Creeks--the name Tacony is derived from the Lenni-Lenape tekene which means wooded place. The highest point of elevation (less that 1/4 mile from the point of the two creeks) is today the intersection of Rising Sun Avenue and Tabor Road [incidentally where Cardinal Dougherty and Eva Stotesbury are to be married 21 June 2004 (summer solstice), with St. James the Great and St. Ambrose presiding], where the (once rural) community of Olney was established a little over 150 years ago. Rising Sun Avenue appears to be built upon an age old "Indian" trail, and Tabor Road goes back (at least) to the first half of 1776. Since 1998 I've been wondering if Rock Creek Valley adjacent Tacony Creek and Rising Sun and Tabor was once Native American burial ground.
see also: dl 1999.02.11 Re: electromagnetism in the body
[This Saturday morning, 20 March 2004, John the Baptist Piranesi is conducting a dies sanguinis (day of blood) equinox tour of Tacony Creek Park, starting at St. Ambrose Parish School and ending at the site of the now quondam (cut down sometime a few months ago) quintuple sacred tree next to where Rising Sun Avenue crosses Tacony Creek. Those attending the tour are also invited to the Dougherty/Stotesbury Engagement Party at Lynnewood Hall that evening. Thanks to Eva's brilliant social skills, she convinced Benjamin Franklin to invite King Louis XVI to Philadelphia also on 20 March (since 20 March 1778 is when the King and Franklin first met at Versailles--the etiquette of reciprocity). Eva can barely contain herself at the prospect of showing King Louis around the quondam site of Whitemarsh Hall, her main Trumbauer house, "the Versailles of America."]
“...your film will be confiscated.”
In an effort to get fit, I've started to take morning bike rides leaving from my back door. I make my way up to Roosevelt Blvd. (US Rt. 1) where it crosses Tacony Creek (where Indians once camped -- see wqc/03/0280.htm) and then head east towards the site of the world's largest building implosion (excepting the WTC), quondam site of Sears and Roebuck Northeast Distribution Center (where the parents of Ron Evitts first met) and now home to Home Depot, Wal-mart, Staples, Pep boys, Mattress Giant, Old Navy, etc., etc. I circle this complex once completely, and then head north a bit to circle the Naval Inventory Control Point (a big .US place). On Robbins Avenue, on the lawn in front of the naval depot's main office building, are three vintage fighter planes. I had forgotten these planes were there, but now I recall being always excited to see them as a young child. As I pass the main entrance gate to the depot, I think to stop and ask one of the guards if one is allowed to take pictures of the planes from outside the fence. The guard (in a very friendly manner) answered, "No, you're not allowed. If you are seen doing so by one of the security patrols your film will be confiscated." I then asked if this policy was put in place after 9-11, to which the guard replied, "No. I know the Russians have 1000s of pictures of them, but you're still not allowed to take pictures. It has always been a security breech." I then told him "I'm glad I asked" and rode off. I now head south towards the Roosevelt Blvd. again, just a block east of the implosion site. I again circle the shopping center and then head home. [elapsed time: 45 minutes]
Much of this loop comprises long straight stretches, and the terrain is consistently very close to flat. Today, I was mostly thinking about Baroness Franziska von Ow. Earlier this year, my mother told me that, although the Baroness had her own car and, before the war, her own chauffeur, in 1943 the Baroness's car was in the garage, albeit without tires--the Baron's car was confiscated outright so he took the trolley to work as Dean of the agricultural machinery department of Munich's technical university. On most days, the Baroness left the villa on her bike and apparently rode into town, or, as my mother says, "Who knows where she went."
first major African American architect, etc.
according to a post at online link:
"Abele family oral history alleges that Eva Stotesbury attended Julian Abele's funeral held at his south Philadelphia townhouse in 1950."
Eva Stotesbury died 31 May 1946, but, as she recently told Franziska, Eva was indeed spotted by some of the family at Julian's funeral.
[According to Triumph on Fairmount, Edward T. Stotesbury died 16 May 1938. This is incorrect, and this mistake has led to a string of mistakes as posted here by lauf-s. Here are the corrections:
16 May 1946 - Eva Stotesbury has a severe heart attack.
21 May 1502 - discovery of St. Helena Island by Portuguese.
21 May 1938 - death of Edward T. Stotesbury; see wmpc/01/0022.htm for some more calendrical coincidences.
22 May 337 - death of Constantine the Great near Nicomedia.
30 May 1640 - death of Pieter Pauwel Rubens
31 May 1946 - death of Eva Stotesbury at Marisol, Palm Beach, Florida.
31 May 1951 - death of Dennis Cardinal Dougherty
21 June 2004 - marriage of Dennis Joseph Cardinal Dougherty and Lucretia "Eva" Bishop Roberts Cromwell Stotesbury (at the intersection of Rising Sun Avenue and Tabor Road, a quondam Lenni Lenape solstice celebration site).]
Rising Sun and Tabor
I like how Mount Tabor in the Holy Land is where the Transfiguration took place.
The intersection of Rising Sun and Tabor then marks the crossing of a nicely named inversionary cardo and decumanus.
Rising Sun Avenue is an old Lenni-Lenape trail. It starts as an offshoot of Germantown Avenue, which is also originally an 'Indian' trail that begins in what became Northern Liberties--Penn's 'working title' for Philadelphia was Liberties.
The intersection of Rising Sun Avenue and Tabor Road is right on a high outlook point, indeed the destination of the Lenni-Lenapi trail. Their camp at the mouth of Rock Run on Tacony Creek, just down in the valley, primarily farmed and took care of the many honored burial sites of Rock Run Valley [which in the 1990s some locals referred to as VooDoo Valley; many Haitians now inhabit the valley].
Tabor Road was first 'planned' under King George III in 1776 as the link between Germantown in the west and Trinity Church in the east. [The first time I tested this entire route from east to west, I was going to the annual reenactment of the Battle of Germantown at Clivden a couple years ago. The route is (I don't know like) 8 miles and remarkably direct.]
The Rock Run camp at Tekene was always very busy right before the summer solstice, because that's when "the" outlook point was the destination for many, many Ur-Philadelphians.
[Apparently, the weavers of the Great Isfahan have lately taken up special acrobatic lessons, and now a whole elaborate arrival show is about to happen.]
Ludwig, Leni and the Lenni-Lenape
Ludwig first met Leni 8 September 2003. This meeting wouldn't have happened, however, if Leni hadn't died in a town on Starnberger See, the lake within which Ludwig himself drowned.
Leni sure enjoyed Africa in "her time", but, like they say, "life" goes on, so, ever since yesterday when she ventured up Rising Sun Avenue from Germantown Avenue to Rock Run Valley, a new photo project--A Quondam Lenni-Lenape Land--is in the works.
[Philadelphia's Old York Road is also a Lenni-Lenape trail, and it shoots off Germantown Avenue and the same place that Rising Sun Avenue shoots off Germantown.]
Leni's new assistants are Chief Tamane, Heinrich Frey and Josef Plattenbach.
I'm living in the same house since October 1958.
I believe the valley my house is in used to contain many Lenni Lenape graves.
It was my idea to have cedar tress planted at the quondam Whitaker Mills because Whitaker Mills' first address was Cedar Grove.
sanguine sagaciousness -- link to wqc/03/0280.htm
I liked the images of the Henry Miller too. I can understand the ire at what these 'false' facades represent, as well. Nonetheless, the images (for me at least) evoke memories of the free standing, screen facades that Mitchell/Giurgola Architects incorporated into a fair numbers of their designs mostly during the 1970s (--John, I'm sure you know the M/G building at Columbia U., got any tales to tell?), and I'll collect what images I have and publish them at Q soon. I think the immediate precedent for this practice was Kahn's notion of "wrapping ruins around buildings," which (I think) was said in regard to the Library at Exeter (1965-72), but it may have been said in reference to the Meeting House at Salk (1961-62, unexecuted) or even the US Consulate, Luanda, Angola (1959-62, unexecuted).
This past Sunday afternoon (when this thread started), I was having spot portions of my home's back facade repointed--lots of little mortar pieces fell out this past winter due to much moist weather and more than occasional extreme temperature changes from day to day. On Saturday the workmen were doing my Haitian neighbor's back wall across the driveway, and I got them to do mine, so they came back Sunday. These workmen have "day jobs" and they do these smaller jobs "cheaper" on the weekends. Anyway, after the work, the guy whose scaffolding it was, another Haitian and friend to my neighbor and someone I chatted with out back on a hot night this past July, told me about all the work they're doing around South Street and Bainbridge Street near Graduate Hospital. He said, "They are buying the homes from the Black people, then they take all the inside out, make it all new inside, then the White people buy the homes for $600,000 and $700,000 dollars."
In the summertime, I got a real kick out of telling these three Haitian guys about all the Philadelphia streets that were first "Indian" trails. These guys could really relate because they actually know Philadelphia's streets pretty well--I think they were all taxi drivers when they first came here. Finally, the "scaffolding" guy asked, "When was all this?" I said, "Like more than 300 years ago." Then he said, "Oh my God, that's old!" And then they all laughed, and we kind of shook our heads in wonderment.
Re: reading lists (was: question)
I haven't seen the Mississippi in almost 30 years, but I do remember it's amazing presence (at least between Missouri and Illinois) and it's ability to inspire awe. One of my favorite memories recalls watching 4th of July fireworks over the Mississippi at Hannibal, Missouri in 1978.
I've mentioned this here before (like maybe 5 years ago or so), but I seriously believe the main street intersection--Rising Sun Avenue and Tabor Road--closest to where I live (in the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia) was long ago a solstice celebration site of the Lenni Lenape. This intersection, which today comprises a Cambodian run gas station, Ed's Pizza run by Puerto Ricans, Cedar Grove Church (which I think is still a Baptist congregation), and D's Crabs, run by young, white entrepreneur, is were the original town of Olney began like 120 years ago. It is also a high vantage point overlooking the quondam Rock Run (stream tunneled underground, today's Ashdale Street) valley, and the culmination point of a Lenni Lenape trail, today's Rising Sun Avenue. The name Rising Sun goes back to the Lenni Lenape as well--from the folklore you get the impression that the "natives" didn't really want the "whiteman" (in this case early German settlers) to go up "rising sun" because that's were the Great Spirit was. Interestingly, Rising Sun Avenue forks off of Germantown Avenue, which was also originally an "Indian" trail. Anyway, the intersection of Rising Sun and Tabor is the point of a plateau where when you follow the edge of the plateau east you wind up looking at where the sun rises on the solstice, and when you look south, you're looking almost directly straight down Rising Sun Avenue, and when you follow the edge of the plateau west you wind up looking at where the sun sets on the solstice.
In early 2002, I found out that there indeed was an "Indian camp" at the mouth of Rock Run where it joins Tacony Creek, which is literally "just down the hill" from Rising Sun and Tabor.
LIVE 8 ("Indian" Trails) in Philadelphia
If any architects are going to be in Philadelphia for LIVE8 and also have some time to do other things in Philadelphia, here's a suggestion:
Explore one or some of the ancient "Indian" trails that are still a part of Philadelphia's urban fabric. You'll need a car to "do" any of the trails from beginning to end, and give yourself anywhere from a half hour to two hours of (one-way) travel time depending on which trail you take.
Germantown Avenue--begins at 2nd and Girard Avenue and goes north all the way to Chestnut Hill (and beyond).
Old York Road--begins as an offshoot of Germantown where Rising Sun also shoots off of Germantown (next to Temple University Hospital) and goes way out into the northern suburbs. You'll eventually even see Wright's Beth Sholom synagogue.
Rising Sun Avenue--begins as an offshoot of Germantown Avenue and culminates at Tabor Road (at what may well have been a solstice celebration site, and you'll also be around the corner from Rita Novel's house). Rising Sun Avenue does continue beyond Tabor Road, but that stretch is not "Indian".
Frankford Avenue--begins off of Delaware Avenue just south of Penn Treaty Park (where William Penn made a treaty with the "Indians" right on the Delaware River) and end again in the northern suburbs.
Oxford Avenue--I'm not sure, but Oxford may be an offshoot of Frankford Avenue and continues north through Northeast Philadelphia and culminated at Rhawn Street in Fox Chase.
Ridge Avenue--begins at 8th and Arch Street and heads westward all the way to Norristown and beyond. At Ridge and Buttonwood Street is were Franklin discovered that electricity and lightening are the same thing.
Passyunk Aveune is, I think, also an "Indian" trail, starting at 5th and South Streets and heads south west. Passyunk Avenue is a one-way street going north however, and I'm not sure what it's other "end" is.
There might well be more "Indian" trails that are now Philadelphia city streets, like Lancaster Avenue and Baltimore Pike, but I'm not sure at this point. Anyway, if you ever do any of these trips, note whatever architecture you see because a lot of it some of the oldest (more or less common) stuff left in Philadelphia. Also note the undulating terrain of the roads both in plan and in section.
the agnostic design of spiritual space
The weirdest thing about all the "spiritual spaces" of my immediate neighborhood is that they are clustered around the intersection of Rising Sun Avenue and Tabor Road, which actually may have been a Lenni-Lenape (summer) solstice celebration site. (Hence my living in what used to be an ancient burial site.)
The Lenni-Lenape trail that is now Rising Sun Avenue culminated at the high-point where Tabor Road crosses Rising Sun Avenue. Tabor Road dates back to 1776, albeit still under George III. Its purpose was to give the Church of England faithful living in Germantown access to Trinity Episcopal Church (many miles east) on Oxford Avenue (which was another Native American trail).
the agnostic design of spiritual space
be it ever so humble... --link to: q/0134
Q; What comes after museum?
dies sanguinis --link to: q/0280
Otherwise a story about someplace that used to be a Lenni-Lenape camp site.
Ironically, I watched Sunshine State for the first time last night.
Urban Voids: Grounds for Change. An International Design Competition
North Philadelphia as Unknown Architectural Tourist Destination
The Indian Trails:
Rising Sun Avenue
Old York Road
plus to the east of North Philadelphia:
Street as Grand Place
American Street from Germantown Avenue to Lehigh Avenue
Shrine of St. John Neumann
St. Peter's Church
5th Street and Girard Avenue
Learning from Girard Avenue
Chapter Three of EPICENTRAL, www.quondam.com / 2002.
Stephen Girard, the sixth wealthiest American, right behind Bill Gates
Virtually the exact same size as Rittenhouse Square
[I was Baptised at St. Boniface and the doctor who delivered me to life had his office on Norris Square.]
Morning RushHour TwoLane Drag Racing
The daily commute to Center City for many Northeast Philadelphians
Straight down 2nd Street from just south of Erie Avenue all the way to Girard Avenue.
"Tose your timidity aside!"
North Broad Street
Northern part of the greatest axis mundi of the world.
Diamond Street west of Broad Street
See the decaying mini-mansions of a century ago, while they last.
Temple University Main Campus
Great collection of some funky 1960s architecture
Train Ride as Architectural Tour
Take the R8 from Center City to Olney and back
Thesis Semester [blog] 25 years ago
[Dave's ashes are buried in the front church yard of Trinity Lutheran Church, Germantown, Philadelphia.
Just a couple blocks north on Germantown Avenue is the Deshler-Morris House (with large side and back garden), where President Washington and First Lady Martha lived for a short while when Yellow Fever was at epidemic levels in Philadelphia, then Capital of the United States.
Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson stayed a block further north at the (now gone) King of Prussia Tavern--
north (right) of the empty lot, today DollarLand and Risque Beauty Parlor.
If I were to visit Dave via Native American trails, I'd go south on Rising Sun Avenue to its source at Germantown Avenue, likewise the source point of Old York Road, another trail--this point is also site of the major Lenni Lenape camp of the region--and then I'd go the same distance north on Germantown Avenue.
I live at another Lenni Lenape camp site where Roosevelt Boulevard crosses over Tacony Creek.]
[Windows Local Live was working just fine when I started composing this post, but isn't showing the images now. Hopefully this is just a temporary glitch.]
Thesis Semester [blog] 25 years ago
There's now a picture of Dave and Jean K. at (the far right) of mpc/15/1498.htm. I took the picture while we were in MoMA's Sculpture Garden, Spring Break 1977. After that some of us went to Wittenborn Art Books, and I bought several back issues of A+U. Hal Guida told me about Wittenborn after I told him a bunch of us were going to New York City for Spring Break.
On the contents page of Art in America February 2006 is listed:
Back for One Night Only!
Marina Abramovic recently reenacted classic pieces of performance art. --[page] 90
It's nice to see Charles Loomis Chariss McAfee Architects among the finalists of Urban Voids: Grounds for Change. I haven't had dinner at their place in over three years, but it's still interesting that they focused on the quondam streams of Philadelphia while I advocated the quondam "Indian" trails, among other things. --link: wqc/34/3322.htm
Thesis Semester [blog] 25 years ago
I'm still in kind of in shock over the fact that my mother owns a piece of one of the oldest white man settlements of Pennsylvania, and that the men who ultimately became the first three presidents of the United States had actually been there. Did they visit the place because of its historical significance? I mean, how often does one get the chance to visit a 17th century Swedish fort in North America? "Even Edward VII may have stopped overnight on his visits to Philadelphia while he was Prince of Wales, for the Fishers were Loyalists to the Crown. Benjamin Franklin was also a special guest." But it's thinking about the original Swedes that manifests the most 'chills and thrills'. Since I'm now very familiar with the site, I'm pretty sure I know why it was chosen, and trying to imagine living at the fort is not all that difficult--at least I personally know what it's like to see a herd of deer there, or the footprints some of them left in my mother's front garden after they eat her flowers.
Most of the information (so far) about Ury House comes from Fox Chase: 300 Years of Memories by Johanna Frueh Gaupp, 1976, and there is also good informaton about the early Swedish colony and Ury House in Architecture in Philadelphia: A Guide by Edward Teitelman and Richard W. Longstreth, 1974.
"But the settlement of the Delaware Valley had begun over forty years previously [i.e., before William Penn] with the founding of a Swedish trading post at Fort Christina (now Wilmington, Delaware) in 1638. Five years later Governor Johan Printz established a post further up the Delaware at Tinicum, just below the southwest border of present-day Philadelphia [--the Swedish fort at Pennypack Creek, Ury House, is right on a northwestern border of present-day Philadelphia]. Other concentrations of settlers began to form at Upland (now Chester) and Kingsessing, and, although Swedish rule ended in 1655, the people remained and continued to thrive, extending over a fair portion of the region."
Nowadays, on a typical Saturday evening, I leave my home in a 17th century Lenni-Lenape camp and head toward a 17th century Swedish fort for dinner. For most of the way I follow the path of Tacony Creek and then one of its tributaries until I reach the ancient trail that is now Oxford Avenue, and then go a little further on Pine Road until I reach the fort. After dinner, I take my brother for a ride, part of which takes us through Bryn Athyn whose 'center', the Academy of the New Church, is what I call "a little Land of Reenactment"--Mitchill/Giurgola Architects designed the Campus Plan, and the Administration Building and Men's Dormitory in 1962-63.
This part weekend it was my thinking about the position of the Academy of the New Church Administration Building along Huntington Pike, which is the northern extension of Oxford Avenue, that got me to read Fox Chase: 300 Years of History on Sunday night. Saturday morning I was reading some of Chistian Norberg-Schulz's "The Genius Loci of Rome" in Architectural Design Profiles 20: Roma Interrotta.
My parents moved to Fox Chase mid-May 1981, a couple of weeks after my thesis jury. I never particularly liked where my parents moved because of the undeniable bland design of the 1970s housing development. Now, suddenly, there is even a reason for me to consider becoming a real architect again.
"Ury House: Perhaps one of the oldest surviving structures in the city. It is now wrapped in a Regency "Grecian Villa" somewhat reminiscent of the residential commissions of John Haviland."
Archiencters and their material posessions
Part of a Lenni-Lenape camp site, and, by proxy, part of a seventeenth century Swedish fort site (which is where I'm headed right now) where there was once a peach tree grove, and during the 1980s and 1990s there was again a small peach tree grove--I've cut down over a dozen peach trees in my life, after they stopped bringing enough peaches, that is. There were a few peach trees at the Lenni-Lenape camp site as well.
Plus my eBay account and Anonymous Saint in Bikini Whie Jesus is Walking on Water and No Doubt the Artist Suffered as Well.
Any archinecters from Philadelphia?
The first virtual museum of architecture online started from a rowhouse basement in Philadelphia's neighborhood of Olney on 21 November 1996. Another Philly First, like ENIAC--there was a time, almost 20 years ago now, when I used to occasionally DSC (disk save and compress) a VAX in the building where ENIAC was.
I found out recently that I started living in the rowhouse where the first virtual museum of architecture began on 21 November 1958. I stopped living there 18 October 2006, and the last time I was there was 18 December 2006, a couple hours before I handed over the keys to the new owner, a Haitian man from New York City. In early 2002 I found out that place was once in the midst of a Lenni Lenape camp site, and sacred burial grounds if the vibes I picked up there all those years are true.
The first virtual museum of architecture online still emanates from Philadelphia, now from a twin home on the site of a 1645 fortified Swedish settlement. At the turn of the 19th century this place was the country estate of Miers Fisher, a prominent lawyer you did interesting things like collect rent from President Washington when Philadelphia was Capital of the United States, and act as agent for John James Audubon's father. By the early 20th century this place was the old family home of the man that "built" the first railroads of Japan.
What I've grown to like most about Philadelphia is that the place is so quondam.
...and speaking of random tangents
Miers Fisher's Ury journals (1804-1819) are voluminous. Quite overwhelming. I might go blind. But, if you want to know what direction the wind was blowing where I live on any given day two hundred years ago, I can now tell you. We're at a high point here, 200 to 220 feet up. I have a feeling the winds are blowing the same way again.
1804, some day in January: "Killed 12 stags." I told you there're lots of deer around here, still.
Miers' last year at Ury, 1818, was fairly equally split between living at Ury and living in the City--108 Arch Street--back and forth very often. I'm pretty sure I know the route he took; I take it pretty often myself now. I love 'Indian' trails.
23 Dec 1818 "Left for Ury." 30 Dec 1818 "headed back the City."
Miers' last Christmas was spent at Ury, and he never made it back. He died mid-March 1819 at Arch Street, and kept his journal until his antepenult day.
Did you ever wonder why the even house numbers are on one side of the street and the odd house numbers are on the other side of the street? Well, as far as Philadelphia is concerned, it's because Miers Fisher made the suggestion while he was on the Common [City] Council 1789-1791. So 108 Arch Street in on the south side of the street and was back then between 5th and 6th Streets. That's right on axis with Independence Hall, and if the house were still there today, it would be right across the street from the U.S. Constitution Center. Location, location, location.
Held a letter in my hands today that was written in New Harmony, 11 August 1826. Helen Gregoroffsky Fisher had remarkably nice penmanship, as remarkable as her command of the English language. She was quickly responding to Redwood Fisher's letter that she received the day before. Held several of Redwood's letters in my hands today too. Specifically his supercargo letters--from Batavia, from Isle of France, from Cape of Good Hope.
I wonder if Miers Fisher ever though his journals would return to their location of origin.
Look what else I found in the Way Back Machine. How quondam can you get?
...and speaking of random tangents
10:43 EST Some sort of hawk or eagle gliding over Quondam Ury.
Remember to look for any references to John James Audubon in Miers Fisher's 1804 journal.
Coincidental reading this morning: "Female separatists want to destroy the social contract between men and women and replace it with nothing; they seem to believe that all penetrative sex is rape, if a wife loves her husband she's exhibiting a slave mentality. How do you cope with that sort of fanaticism? Satire seems one way."
--J.G. Ballard, KGB (1995).
So it turns out that Miers Fisher did know William Penn IV--a great grandson of Philadelphia founder William Penn. All I know so far though is that Miers shared a coach with Penn and his wife between Doylestown and Abington mid 1812. Perhaps a great-grandson or two of founder William Penn were once at Ury after all.
Finished digitizing a 1839 map of what is now Northeast Philadelphia. There are more 'Indian' trails around here than I prevously thought, and I hadn't realized before that Indian trail-Oxford Ave is a fairly consistant exact north-south trajectory. And Cottman Ave. and Castor Ave. correspond directly to lines on the 1687 map of Pennsylvania--their orthagonal intersection even makes a kind of cardo and decumanus. There's an aerial view of Cottman and Castor in Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping, p. 780 toward the upper left, Bustleton Avenue along the botton of the page is an old Indian trail.
Once you study them, you find that the "Indian" trails within Philadelphia are not random tangents at all. Certainly not as random as the lines on the 1687 map of Pennsylvania. (Cottman Ave. is the parallel line to the left of the planned Susquehanna Road.)
Featured Discussion: Volume
It seems to make sense that de-territiorialization ultimately registers a re-territorialization, but it is the effect of de-territorialization (on one's thinking) that is the most important aspect here. And I guess you could say that new mode of thinking is what then shapes the new "territory".
I have no idea if this is so, but I wonder if this composition might be an example of de-territorialized architecture.
Featured Discussion: Volume
Firminy church by Le Corbusier
Hurva synagogue by Kahn
composition 1a : the act or action of composing : the formation of a whole especially by different things being put together
To confuse or not to confuse, that is de-territorialization?
The church/synagogue composition came as a result of seeing how the plan of the church fit almost perfectly within the sanctuary(?) of the synagogue. And, since I had a model of both buildings, I just wanted to see the superimposition in 3D. And upon seeing that I thought, "Gosh, that kinda looks like a mosque." Trust me, de-territorialized thinking isn't necessarily brilliant, although for the most part uninhibited.
Anyway, back to Volume....The reporter on the radio just said, "Heavy volume on Passyunk Aveune..." Hey, traffic would make a great theme for a heavy issue. Trafficking in Architecture--I wanna write about stolen goods.
I think Passyunk is an old 'Indian trail'. Wow, Philadelphia's Indian trails, talk about de-territorialization.
In Goldhagen's Louis Kahn's Situated Modernism we read:
"In 1951, the [Adath Jeshurun] synagogue's leaders purchased a large polygonal site in Elkins Park, where many of its members were moving. The short end of the lot faced a major thoroughfare, and the remainder sloped back into a more pastoral setting that was bisected diagonally by a small stream (Fig. 4.1)."
And the caption of Fig. 4.1 reads: Sketch of the Elkins Park site for the Adath Jeshurun synagogue, 1954. From the Kahn Collection.
These citings convey misinformation. Kahn's design for Adath Jeshurun was sited on Old York Road within Philadelphia. Kahn's design was never executed, but Adath Jeshurun did ultimately build a new synagogue on a site (within a more pastoral setting) further north up Old York Road in Elkins Park. [This site misinformation is also conveyed within Louis I. Kahn: Complete Works 1935-1974.]
Goldhagen also mentions Wright's Beth Shalom [sic] synagogue. Beth Sholom is about a mile further north up Old York Road from the current Adath Jeshurun and about two miles north of Kahn's site for Adath Jeshurun.
Just coincidently, Kahn's first independent build work, the quondam Ahavath Israel synagogue, is about a half mile away from the Philadelphia site of Adath Jeshurun. And Kahn's Oser House is practically across the street from the bult Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park. And Trumbauer built three Elkins' mansions for which Elkins Park is named. It's like a little architectural mecca along an ancient Indian trail.
"Sell" much of North Philadelphia back to the Lenni Lenape, who could open a few casinos, and sell the rest of "their" land to Mexico on the condition that Mexico use the land as farms, hence employing and giving legal residence to their own citizens who actually know all the work involved with farming. Call it de-colonialization.
Let's be contemporarily honest, isn't that close to what's already happening anyway?
Ury, now quondam, exactly 200 years ago
Collected virtually all the Circus of Hadrian data. Pat called and asked if I would come look at her seemingly broken garage door--one of the springs snapped. Dinnertime as usual. Accuweather forecasts a high of 57° tomorrow. Took George to see Warhorse. Our dad was a cavalry soldier, the whole of WWII, both fronts even. I’ve only seen him on a horse once though, at a large 4th of July picnic on a farm in South Jersey, back in the late 1960s. After an afternoon of playing cards, some of the men decided to try out some horseback riding. So pretty much the whole rest of the picnic watched as the various, probably slightly tipsy fathers, got up on horses and started stepping around here and there. Then my father made this sound and suddenly he and his horse charged clear across the field. I and everyone else just gasped in amazement.
We go to the Hiway theater in Jenkintown almost every time there’s a new movie playing. I go down the valley to Shady Lane to Fox Chase Road to its end at Meetinghouse Road then a little bit of Jenkintown Road and turn into the first block and we’re right behind the theater. Where Fox Chase Road ends at Meetinghouse Road is Abington Friends; that’s where Miers Fisher went to Meeting practically every Sunday, and even sometimes during the week. By the looks of it, the Meetinghouse there now may indeed still be the same one Miers went to. I don’t think Miers took the Shady Lane route as you have to go down 175’ and then up 175’, but I have no doubt that he and I follow(ed) the same exact path when on Fox Chase Road. Today, there’s still a small but sizable horse farm at Fox Chase Road and Cedar Avenue, where, weather permitting, practically any day of the year you can see about ten horses grazing in the field.
Morning clear, wind draws to SW, therm. 27°. I go to town this forenoon. The wind continues from SW. The air moderated, the street in the sun thawed. I dined in Mulberry Street [today’s Arch Street], paid many visits. Saw J, Winthrop, he is better, but yet very ill. Drank tea at D. Russer[?], had a pleasant conversation with his son James; he is acquainted with James McRac__ who sent me a Copy of his Bible by him.
I’m pretty sure I know how Miers got to town--just two roads: Oxford Road (now Avenue which terminates at what was the Fox Chase Inn) all the way to its beginning at Frankford Road (now Avenue) and then down Frankford to its beginning at the Delaware River (right at Penn Treaty Park) and then a short bit along the river to Olde City where Miers still had a house on Mulberry Street (today Arch Street--I believe Miers’ house was on the same block as today’s Constitution Center). Before the first European settlers here 360 years ago, Frankford Road and Oxford Road were “Indian” trails, hence pathways now who knows how old.
Narrow Streets Los Angeles
I wouldn't call Yoon's project an exercise in fiction, rather an exercise in virtuality. Unfortunately, "Narrow Streets Los Angeles" follows the all-too-common notion of blurring the real and the virtual. After finally looking at the selection of narrowed streets, I understand what Eric means by "make it all seem cute"--there is indeed a distinct Los Angeles urbanity lost when the streets are no longer the width of almost rivers. The intersection of Cottman and Bustleton Avenues in Northeast Philadelphia actually reminds me a lot of LA (pictured on page 780 of The Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping), and, while surrounded by a plethora of narrow domestic streets, the busy intersection has a quite comfortable large scale fitting to its current nodal function.
Incidentally, Bustleton Avenue has its origin as an 'ancient' Indian trail, while Cottman Avenue started as a straight property line on the 1687 map of Pennsylvania.
Cottman Avenue is the line parallel and left of the red line above. The blue dot is where I'm sitting right now, and the meander either side of the red line is Pennypack Creek.
Regarding exercises in virtuality, I prefer it when the virtual is held more distinct from the real. For example, taking LA streets and mixing one side of a street with the side of another street, and either playing with the width or not, seems more interesting.
Street naming logic
The older parts of Philadelphia (streets) have the most logic.
The original plan, today's Center City, has north-south streets numbered going east to west starting at the Delaware River: the river at Water Street, Front Street, 2nd Street, 3rd Street, etc., going at least into the 60s in West Philadelphia. The (major) east-west streets are named for trees, from north to south: Vine Street, Sassafras Street (now Race Street), Mulberry Street (now Arch Street), Cherry Street, Chestnut Street, Walnut Street, Locust Street, Spruce Street, Pine Street.
The number streets extend north and south to the city limits. The (mostly major) east-west streets of North Philadelphia are named for Pennsylvania counties: Columbia, Berks, Susquehanna, Dauphin, York, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Lehigh, Somerset, Cambria, Indiana, Clearfield, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Tioga, Venango, Erie, Butler, Pike, Luzerne, Lycoming, Wyoming.
Philadelphia's land also reaches northeast, and those north-south streets east of Front Street are alphabetical, going west to east: A Street, B Street, etc.
Many of the 'destination' streets are also original 'Indian' trails: Germantown Avenue, Frankford Avenue, Oxford Avenue, Old York Road, Baltimore Pike(?)
There is even a book: Mermaids, Monasteries, Cherokees and Custer: the stories behind Philadelphia street names (1990).
27 June mp6609c
Nonscandinavia: an open-source, image collection for the rest of the world
Of course, several centuries ago, this street was a Lenni-Lenape burial site between the solstice site just up the hill and the camp site further down the valley toward Tekene.