No-Man’s Land

September 20, 2011 |  by  |  Found  |  , ,

Broad-13th-Walnut-Locust block center

The center of the block bounded by Broad Street, Juniper Street, Walnut and Locust Streets contains a concrete and asphalt “no-man’s land” bounded on all sides by high-rise buildings. Now used as un-metered parking and a place for dumpsters, some Philadelphians maintain that this space was set aside in colonial times as a clearing in the grid for Lenni Lenape to pitch tents when visiting the city. A cursory look at early city maps references no such thing. If nothing else, such an early if forgotten use of this small place is a thought-provoking urban legend.

Detail from the Plan of the City of Philadelphia, 1830

About the author

Mike Szilagyi was born in the Logan neighborhood of Philadelphia, and raised in both Logan and what was the far edge of suburbia near Valley Forge. He found himself deeply intrigued by both the built landscape and by the natural “lay of the land.” Where things really get interesting is the fluid, intricate, multi-layered interface between the two.

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  1. See http://www.scribd.com/doc/39285455/Marble-Court-A-Forgotten-Indian-Camp-Ground-in-Center-City-Philadelphia for the full (very full) story of Marble Court, by Broad and Walnut…

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