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
Historical Commission To Consider Protecting Blue Horizon Exterior

Historical Commission To Consider Protecting Blue Horizon Exterior

February 27, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Developers still looking for funds for historic boxing venue’s reuse, the benefits of “loose” playgrounds, construction underway for W Hotel, and arts studio to open on S. 11th Street > more

Seeing Between The Ci-Lines: St. Andrew's Chapel Awakened With Art And Geometry

Seeing Between The Ci-Lines: St. Andrew’s Chapel Awakened With Art And Geometry

February 27, 2015  |  Last Light

Temporary art installation Ci-Lines opens this Saturday inside the ornate, vacant St. Andrew's Chapel on Spruce Street in West Philly. We spoke with the project's artist Aaron Asis about community engagement, vacant and abandoned site activation, and urban preservation > more

Mayor’s Office Awards $60K For Performances In Public Spaces Program

Mayor’s Office Awards $60K For Performances In Public Spaces Program

February 26, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Pilot program will bring the arts to 23 public spaces throughout the city, Grays Ferry park to be renovated, Nebinger to install new gateway, microgrants for Newbold, and stained-glass on the Avenue of the Arts > more

Committee Approves 3D Signage For Center City

Committee Approves 3D Signage For Center City

February 25, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Council counters Planning Commission’s recommendation, a petition to save and redevelop the Germantown YWCA, connecting communities in West and North Philly, and more cultural grants this year > more

Under Inspection: Five Residential Projects Currently Breaking Ground

Under Inspection: Five Residential Projects Currently Breaking Ground

February 25, 2015  |  Vantage

Boon times for our evolving skyline as large-scale construction projects pop up all over the city, but how the designs hold up when the buildings are complete? Hidden City contributor and urbanist inspector Stephen Stofka puts an eye on five big residential projects about to begin > more

Close Call For Bromley Carpet Factory After 3-Alarm Fire In Neighboring Building

Close Call For Bromley Carpet Factory After 3-Alarm Fire In Neighboring Building

February 24, 2015  |  News

Crisis averted for Bromley Carpet Factory in Kensington after 3-alarm fire breaks out along Front Street. > more