Schuylkill View, Manayunk

December 13, 2011 |  by  |  Found  |  , , ,

Photo: Ben Leech

Somewhere around the 3800 block of Main Street in Manayunk, I pulled the car over to take some photos of this endearingly ugly old garage with a roofline like none I’ve ever seen before.  You sometimes see garden walls built this way, capped with sharp upturned stones like something Fred and Barney would have built, but a whole building in this style is a rarity.  Walking around to get a better look at a side wing with a collapsed roof, I noticed a little rock outcropping a ways farther up the hill.  Then I notice the steps and the arch.  I followed them up a cleft in the hillside to discover….

Photo: Ben Leech

Nothing much.  A grassy clearing at the top of the hill, cut off from the rowhouses lining Cresson Street by the Norristown Septa tracks.  But any disappointment I felt at the anticlimax of this empty plot was later soothed by the discovery of what once stood there.  In T.M. Fowler’s 1907 Bird’s Eye View of Manayunk, if you squint, you can see a Victorian mansion on the hill above the warehouses and factories lining the Schuylkill banks.  You can also see a carriage house below it with a roofline capped in little upturned stones, and unless I’m imagining things, a little archway off to the side.

The house was once known as Schuykill View, the picturesque estate of millowner Richard Hey.  It was one of many such mansion “Views” (along with Fairview, Tower View, and others) that once lined the cliffs of Victorian Manayunk.  All are now gone, except for this carriagehouse folly and some steps that lead to nowhere.

View Larger Map


About the author

Ben Leech is the former Director of Advocacy at the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and is a proud dual citizen of Philadelphia and Lancaster (a Philancadelphisterian?). He dabbles in illustration, architectural and otherwise. Some of his extracurricular activities are on display at

Send a message!


  1. What a great find – always one of my favorite Philly things and to think it was a historical holdover. Amazing. Thanks!

  2. I know of the current owner

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.


Recent Posts
Church Demolition By The Numbers: More Questions Than Answers

Church Demolition By The Numbers: More Questions Than Answers

December 9, 2016  |  Soapbox

Since 2009, 28 churches have been demolished in Philadelphia. Is development pressure to blame? Partners for Sacred Places staffer and Hidden City contributor Rachel Hildebrandt says yes and does the math on the unabating trend > more

Hidden City Campaign Passes Halfway Point On Way To $30,000

Hidden City Campaign Passes Halfway Point On Way To $30,000

December 8, 2016  |  Buzz

Needed still to reach must-get goal of $30,000: about 180 readers to give $15, $25, $50, $75, or more! > more

Fade And A Shave: Inside Philly's Black Barbershops

Fade And A Shave: Inside Philly’s Black Barbershops

December 7, 2016  |  Last Light

Contributor Theresa Stigale documents life inside neighborhood barbershops with this photo essay > more

America's Oldest Road Takes Center Stage In New Documentary

America’s Oldest Road Takes Center Stage In New Documentary

December 5, 2016  |  Vantage

The King's Highway, the oldest continuously used road in America, is the subject of an award winning documentary premiering tonight at the Kimmel Center > more

A Moving Monument

A Moving Monument

December 5, 2016  |  News

Nearly four years after Hidden City proposed relocating the forlorn Newkirk Viaduct Monument from the side of the train tracks to the forthcoming Bartram's Mile segment of the Schuylkill River Trail system... that has happened. Brad Maule has the story of the 177-year-old monument's relocation > more

Inside SEPTA's Unused Underground Concourse, To Be Restored

Inside SEPTA’s Unused Underground Concourse, To Be Restored

December 2, 2016  |  Last Light

The Center City Concourse, a network of underground pedestrian walkways, has sat empty and largely unused for decades. But big plans are in the works to reopen and reanimate the dead space. Samantha Smyth and Chandra Lampreich takes us into the abandoned tunnels with this photo essay > more