Dough Boy Advances

Photo: Peter Woodall

Call it the Second Street  Connector. In about a month the slim triangle at Second and Spring Garden will be a wedge park and a trail, designed by DIGSAU Architects, leading from the NoLibs core toward the Delaware Waterfront with Delilah’s along the way.

Photo: Peter Woodall

The spot is known for its statue of a WWI soldier or “dough boy.” Dedicated “IN MEMORY OF OUR BOYS OF THE SIXTH, ELEVENTH AND TWELTH WARDS WHO SERVED IN THE GREAT WAR OF NATIONS, 1914-1918,” the cast bronze statue is one of dozens of memorials produced in the 1920s by sculptor John Paulding. The statue, titled “Over the Top,” is sometimes misidentified as the work of E.M. Viquesney, who produced hundreds of extremely similar statues titled “Spirit of the American Doughboy.” They were so similar, in fact, that Paulding’s foundry sued Visquesney for copyright infringement.

The park will be excavated and sunken in to give the dough boy a proper backdrop and so that the space can serve as a rain garden. DIGSAU partner Jeff Goldstein says the park will have a bridge for those who normally use the park as a shortcut to the EL.

This one node is part of an interwoven chain of projects meant to better connect waterfront neighborhoods to the river.

Planning for the park began back in 2009 with a grant from the William Penn Foundation. The design was informed by intensive community input, synthesized by DIGSAU, and collaboration with the Philadelphia Water Department and the Morris Arboretum.

For the city’s stormwater management plan, click HERE.

Anna Berezowska and Peter Woodall contributed to this story.

About the author

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is the novel Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press). He is also the author of Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books) and The Possible City (Camino Books). He is senior writer and script editor of the Emmy-winning documentary series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine. Popkin's literary criticism appears in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, The Kenyon Review, and The Millions. He is writer-in-residence of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

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