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 student at the University of Pennsylvania, is a native Philadelphian who is passionate about the ever-changing city she inhabits. Before beginning her graduate studies in historic preservation planning, 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), both published by Arcadia Publishing.