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
Come Swing Away On The Porch

Come Swing Away On The Porch

August 31, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Leisure swings at 30th Street Station’s Porch, why it is Philly's duty to stay in town and welcome the Pope madness, a festival seeks to make the Schuylkill a community gathering space, and City of Brotherly Love rated 3rd best host to tourists > more

Renovations Furnish Lawsonia Building With Good Fortune

Renovations Furnish Lawsonia Building With Good Fortune

August 31, 2015  |  The Shadow Knows

The old Lawsonia furniture factory in Callowhill is being renovated for commercial and residential reuse after 13 years of false starts and vacancy. The Shadow plates up this little slice industrial heritage on Spring Garden Street > more

Reviving The Potential Of Broad & Washington

Reviving The Potential Of Broad & Washington

August 28, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Another development set for Broad & Washington, Old Navy flagship coming to Chestnut, Wawa to open early for Pope, Philly traffic numbers looking good, and some help on deciding which Fringe Fest events to attend > more

Courtyard Compass Reveals A City Off Axis

Courtyard Compass Reveals A City Off Axis

August 28, 2015  |  Walk the Walk

If you've ever feel like the city is just a tad off we have validating news for you. Philadelphia was built a few degrees left from its true north axis point. Contributor Joe Brin talks cartography and William Penn's city plan with Frank Morelli, Survey Bureau manager of the Streets Department > more

Fall Lighting Expected For North Broad Light Masts

Fall Lighting Expected For North Broad Light Masts

August 27, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Nutter and Clarke discuss the $8.7 million lighting of North Broad Street, committee okays further discussion on 2nd & Arch proposal, Francis Festival Grounds a more welcoming phrasing than Green Zone, and The Fillmore gets ready for October unveil > more

Global Media’s Tour Of Philly To Draw Connections With Pope, Church

Global Media’s Tour Of Philly To Draw Connections With Pope, Church

August 26, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Preeminent tour guide preparing for global media, the Commerce Department coming through with kiosks on 52nd Street, lackluster infill by Clark Park, and life after the Fringe Fest > more