Preserving Fairmount Avenue Before Development Surge


Built in 1929 by Samuel Brian Baylinson, the Overseas Motor Works building was placed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places last year | Photo: Michael Bixler

  • PlanPhilly preservation reporter Alan Jaffe looks at the state of Fairmount Avenue, already the proud beneficiary of two reused cultural legacies—the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building and Eastern State Penitentiary—as it prepares for the wave of development pressure expected some time after Eric Blumenfeld’s delivery of the Divine Lorraine to market at the avenue’s intersection with North Broad. To that end, the Fairmount Community Development Corporation is spending the year drafting a “Lighter Quicker Cheaper Plan” meant to initiate small scale, at-times pilot, interventions to improve Fairmount Avenue. As a sense of corridor identity takes hold, and pedestrians increasingly find their way to its eastern end, a test case for retaining the built legacy of Fairmount’s auto industry has been found in the proposed redevelopment of the Overseas Motor Works building at 15th & Fairmount, argues Patrick Grossi, advocacy director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.
  • NewsWorks’ Elisabeth Perez-Luna considers “Happiness, Liberty, Life? American Art and Politics,” an exhibition of two centuries of American political art, now on display through September 18 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. “From the first step into the academy, a sense of respectful irreverence is apparent in the works selected to tell the uneasy story of where arts and politics intersect. Works of protest and dissent take up a large part of the galleries.”
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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