Look Down!

 

Former Cummings Coal building | Photo: Ehtan Wallace

Former Cummings Coal building | Photo: Ehtan Wallace

Down below the suddenly hot Reading Viaduct: a small, nondescript building, with only the faint “Cummings Coal” spelled out next to the door (thanks to Lawrence O’Toole’s Ghost Sign Project for deciphering the words).

The Edwin J. Cummings Coal building pictured here appears to be in the same location as the current “Cummings Coal” building. Perhaps a second floor was added at a later date

This is the last vestige from the days when coal yards dominated the landscape along the Viaduct, particularly along Callowhill Street. Coal was essential to the economic success of the Philadelphia & Reading. Indeed, without coal there may not have been a Viaduct–the P&R was specifically built to bring anthracite from the coal region down to Philadelphia.

Coal dealers, north side of Callowhille Street

The treasure trove of tools and coal and railroad memorabilia shown in the photo essay at the top dates back to Cummings Coal days. It’s likely the objects, which were left in the building after the rest of the coal yard was turned into a parking lot decades ago, were collected by the current owners, a family that has owned the land for generations. The family hopes one day to restore the structure for future use as a restaurant or retail space, and incorporate many of these items in the renovation.

Photo: Ethan Wallace

About the author

Ethan Wallace attended Temple University, where he received a BA in Communications. He has always been interested in the forgotten, unknown, or unseen parts of the city and has spent the last several years photographing Philly’s hidden and vanishing locations. He is also involved with the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, Pa. More of Ethan's photography can be seen HERE



No Comments


Trackbacks

  1. Coal History in the Loft District
  2. ABOUT COAL | viaductgreene blog
  3. ABOUT COAL – VIADUCTgreene
Recent Posts
At Pier 68, New Ways To Connect To The

At Pier 68, New Ways To Connect To The “Working” River

August 22, 2014  |  News

With construction on the South Philadelphia pier park set to start this fall, Nathaniel Popkin talks to landscape architect Bryan Hanes and his design team about their inspiration > more

The Obstacles To Preserving Joe Frazier’s Gym

The Obstacles To Preserving Joe Frazier’s Gym

August 22, 2014  |  Morning Blend

A look at the tough road ahead to preserve the North Broad treasure, Giovanni’s Room to become AIDS charity thrift store, Drexel health center doubling capacity, and how the PNB letters “slipped through the cracks” > more

$30 Million Mixed Use Project Finally Set To Begin In Chestnut Hill

$30 Million Mixed Use Project Finally Set To Begin In Chestnut Hill

August 21, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Grocery Store and condos coming to Germantown Ave, a look at Sugarhouse’s phase 2, Awesometown living up to its name already, and an exhibit of upstate woodland scenes > more

Taking Back Taney: All-Star Little Leaguers Make Good A Sullied Name

Taking Back Taney: All-Star Little Leaguers Make Good A Sullied Name

August 20, 2014  |  Vantage

Taney Dragon fever is boiling red hot and we couldn't be prouder. Ryan Briggs looks into the name behind the team behind the street behind the gang behind the man. > more

Stay Of Execution For Furness Church On 47th

Stay Of Execution For Furness Church On 47th

August 20, 2014  |  Buzz

The West Philadelphia Church, designed by the firm of Frank Furness, was feared lost this June. But a concerted effort to save it has paid off, sources say > more

Smokin' Joe Almost Ready For Bronzin'

Smokin’ Joe Almost Ready For Bronzin’

August 20, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Boxing champion's memorial statue to be ready for April unveiling, partial building collapse in Queen Village, Roxborough residents question the viability of a Wendy's on Ridge Ave, and a talk tonight on neon signs in Philly > more