Last week we published an article (which also appears in this month’s Grid Magazine) about the campaign to put an Overbrook Farms Historic District on the Philadelphia Historic Register, a move opposed by some neighbors. And then we realized it might be a good idea to give you a feel for what’s at stake by creating a portrait of the neighborhood’s architecture. The 20 photos in this essay are impressionistic rather than comprehensive, and probably lean towards the prettier or more unusual examples. However, some houses in the neighborhood are dilapidated, and a few have lost major architectural features, such as porches, so we’ve included a couple shots that show this aspect as well.
The neighborhood’s architecture is worth a look in its own right, politics aside. A stellar lineup of Philadelphia architects, including Horace Trumbauer, Mellor & Meigs, Willis Hale and Walter H. Thomas, designed the homes, and it shows. The architecture is primarily revivalist–Colonial, Tudor, Gothic and Federal, along with Italian Villa, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts–and mostly avoids late Victorian frippery, relying instead on bold rooflines to create visual interest. The result is West Philadelphia’s answer to Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.
For our analysis on the economic impact of historic districts, click HERE.
All photos by Peter Woodall
Peter Woodall is the co-editor of Hidden City Daily. He is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, and a former newspaper reporter with the Biloxi Sun Herald and the Sacramento Bee. He worked as a producer for Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane and wrote a column about neighborhood bars for PhiladelphiaWeekly.com.