Stories In The Ash


ABC Auto, which burned on Saturday | Photo: Peter Woodall

ABC Auto, which burned on Saturday | Photo: Peter Woodall

The 19th century warehouse at 1815 Sedgely Avenue, which burned on Saturday, was one of the last remnants of a massive industrial zone that extended northwest from the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks west of Broad Street in North Philadelphia. So many of these old manufacturing buildings have been lost, it seems to us, because of their proximity to the railroad, which isolated them from the fabric of the neighborhoods around. This building, where E.J. Rickler manufactured soap at the turn of the century, was the original home of the Weidemann Machine Company, which was established in Philadelphia in 1916. The company developed the “world’s first turret punch press” at a machine tool show in Chicago in 1955.

The building had most recently been occupied by ABC Auto, which remanufactured front wheel drive axles as well as other auto parts. ABC operated there into the 1990s.

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


  1. Danggggg. How did no scrappers get in there and clean that place out? They would have made a fortune.

    • I had the same thought!

    • Iron and steel and usually not even worth the effort to cut and haul away. I’m sure scrappers carried off all the copper pipes and wiring long ago.

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