At The Traditional Start of Summer, Good-Bye To A Pool Full Of Tradition

 

Last month, PlanPhilly reported that US Construction plans to demolish the Fante Leon pool, located at the northwest corner of Montrose and Darien Streets.

Demolition is now well underway, and all that remains of the pool is a fragment of the facade and a rubble-filled basin. Once demolition is complete, US Construction will erect three townhouses, complete with street level parking garages.

The century-old pool represented a critically important moment in the history of the Italian Market neighborhood, but because it was not on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, it was not protected from demolition.

The Fante Leon pool is one more casualty of a city that is powerless to protect its heritage and resigned to allow developers shape its future. Although it seems obvious, city government remains oblivious to the facts that intangible qualities, such as sense of place and character, drive growth, and that old buildings are the infrastructure of place.

About the author

Rachel Hildebrandt, a recent graduate of PennDesign, is a native Philadelphian who is passionate about the changing city she inhabits. Before beginning her graduate studies in historic preservation with a focus on policy, Rachel obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College and co-authored two books, The Philadelphia Area Architecture of Horace Trumbauer (2009) and Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan (2011). She currently works as a program associate at Partners for Sacred Places.



4 Comments


  1. can’t save everything

    things change

  2. I have mixed feelings. I loved the front facade of the pool. The pool itself was a mess causing leaking in neighbors basement. It was in disrepair, outside it was a magnet for dumping. I don’t think there was any realistic way to save this as a pool. I do think they could have saved some of the beautiful stone and brickwork.

  3. Thanks for this note, Rachel

    A new wave of demolition is making its way across Philadelphia, as various Hidden City postings demonstrate. Perennially on the ropes, the Historical Commission barely manages to survive, let alone produce new nominations, as Ryan Briggs has shown us.

    And then, of course, there is the mindless response Philadelphians know so well: “Things change. Can’t save everything” (see above). Indeed, it is becoming the ONLY response Philadelphians know.

    But what if we took another approach. What if we took a building like Willis Hale’s Keystone National Bank ( http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/pj_display.cfm/12393 ) and treated it the way Bostonians have treated their Hayden Building ( http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/06/02/hayden-building-historic-gem-combat-zone-restored/8yVcZz1OxWoXyYXS9CqnQN/story.html )? Shocking.

Recent Posts
Preservation Alliance Launches

Preservation Alliance Launches “Places To Save” List

October 20, 2014  |  Buzz

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia reboots their annual "Endangered Properties" list with new "Places to Save" announcements > more

Bless Our Beer Gardens, Past and Present

Bless Our Beer Gardens, Past and Present

October 20, 2014  |  Behind the Facade

Drinking al fresco reached new heights this summer as brilliantly designed beer gardens popped up all over the city. This isn't anything new though, says Nic Esposito. Philadelphia has been publicly drunk since 1671 > more

Old City Orange Façade To Be Preserved

Old City Orange Façade To Be Preserved

October 20, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Historical Commission okays Old City development, the emblematic stairway at the Barnes, Blatstein serious yet anxious about The Provence, 10 homes for NoLibs, and a salvaged cornice delights in Fishtown > more

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

October 17, 2014  |  Vantage

With October at hand and Halloween on the way, we thought a series on historic cemeteries was most appropriate. Our first story presents the strange tale of thirty tombstones that sit embedded in the back wall of the Presbyterian Historical Society > more

Existential Tug-Of-War Along West Cecil B. Moore Avenue

Existential Tug-Of-War Along West Cecil B. Moore Avenue

October 17, 2014  |  Morning Blend

The identity crisis of TempleTown, Family Court opens, artist space coming to Grays Ferry, mixed-use for Ridge, inside the Bok storage facility, and PhillyU collects $60M > more

Improvements Possible For The Schuylkill Boardwalk

Improvements Possible For The Schuylkill Boardwalk

October 16, 2014  |  Morning Blend

How to upgrade the successful trail extension, Temple investing in its athletic programs once more, developer slowly selling houses in Somertown, and lackluster restriping plans for Washington Avenue > more