Look Down!

 

Former Cummings Coal building | Photo: Ehtan Wallace

Former Cummings Coal building | Photo: Ehtan Wallace

Down below the suddenly hot Reading Viaduct: a small, nondescript building, with only the faint “Cummings Coal” spelled out next to the door (thanks to Lawrence O’Toole’s Ghost Sign Project for deciphering the words).

The Edwin J. Cummings Coal building pictured here appears to be in the same location as the current “Cummings Coal” building. Perhaps a second floor was added at a later date

This is the last vestige from the days when coal yards dominated the landscape along the Viaduct, particularly along Callowhill Street. Coal was essential to the economic success of the Philadelphia & Reading. Indeed, without coal there may not have been a Viaduct–the P&R was specifically built to bring anthracite from the coal region down to Philadelphia.

Coal dealers, north side of Callowhille Street

The treasure trove of tools and coal and railroad memorabilia shown in the photo essay at the top dates back to Cummings Coal days. It’s likely the objects, which were left in the building after the rest of the coal yard was turned into a parking lot decades ago, were collected by the current owners, a family that has owned the land for generations. The family hopes one day to restore the structure for future use as a restaurant or retail space, and incorporate many of these items in the renovation.

Photo: Ethan Wallace

About the author

Ethan Wallace attended Temple University, where he received a BA in Communications. He has always been interested in the forgotten, unknown, or unseen parts of the city and has spent the last several years photographing Philly’s hidden and vanishing locations. He is also involved with the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, Pa. More of Ethan's photography can be seen HERE

Send a message!



No Comments


Trackbacks

  1. Coal History in the Loft District
  2. ABOUT COAL | viaductgreene blog
  3. ABOUT COAL – VIADUCTgreene

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
A Fine And Public Space: Preservationists Revive Philadelphia's Historic Cemeteries As Vibrant Spaces For The Living

A Fine And Public Space: Preservationists Revive Philadelphia’s Historic Cemeteries As Vibrant Spaces For The Living

May 21, 2019  |  Vantage

New life is blooming at Philadelphia's historic cemeteries. Starr Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

Appetite For Deconstruction: North Philly Nonprofit Tackles Three Pressing Issues With One Program

Appetite For Deconstruction: North Philly Nonprofit Tackles Three Pressing Issues With One Program

May 17, 2019  |  News

Philly Reclaim brings sustainability, historic preservation, and job training together with its architectural salvage program. Kimberly Haas has the story > more

Arson & Archway Raise Awareness Of A 19th Century Architect

Arson & Archway Raise Awareness Of A 19th Century Architect

May 14, 2019  |  Vantage

Pauline Miller takes us on a journey from Old City to Mount Moriah Cemetery where the work of architect Stephen Decatur Button struggles for longevity > more

A Fond Farewell To Paley Library At Temple University

A Fond Farewell To Paley Library At Temple University

May 10, 2019  |  Last Light

Paley Library closed its doors to the public on Thursday after serving Temple University for 53 years. Michael Bixler says goodbye to the mid-century modern library with this photo essay > more

In Kensington, Old Textile Mill To Be Revived With Apartments

In Kensington, Old Textile Mill To Be Revived With Apartments

May 7, 2019  |  Vantage

Gotham Hosiery, once the country's most popular pantyhose manufacturer, quickly rose to fame and crashed even faster. Now, the nearly 100-year-old mill at 2nd and Norris is getting a residential makeover. Rob Masciantonio dives deep into the history of the old textile mill and details on plans for redevelopment > more

Al Capone's Cell At ESP Keeps Conservators On Their Toes

Al Capone’s Cell At ESP Keeps Conservators On Their Toes

May 2, 2019  |  News

At Eastern State Penitentiary, layers of history reveal more mysteries inside a famous gangster's old prison cell. Kimberly Haas has the details > more