Enter the Skeleton Garden, 5th And Chestnut

photo: Lauren Drapala

In what is clearly a nod to Charles Willson and Rembrandt Peale’s 1801 mastodon skeleton, once displayed across the street in the Peale Museum, architect Jenny Sabin and the APS Museum have given us “Greenhouse and Cabinet of Future Fossils,” a 52 foot glassless greenhouse for 110 translucent colored mini-greenhouses, urban farming of the future.

The Peale mastodon, dug up in Newburgh, NY, was reassembled in the museum, and offered as a symbol of the greatness of Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic Pary. One night, a dinner was served for 13 guests inside the skeleton, a gesture the Federalist Port Folio mocked:

photo: Lauren Drapala

In the far famed Museum of Mr. Peale,
Behemoth, biggest born of earth
Upheaves his vastness
And thirteen democratic Virtuosi have decided that
even the dry bones of the Mammoth afford very
little picking.

C.W. Peale, incidentally, was the prototype urban farmer, working at Belfield, in Germantown, where he built his greenhouses himself.

About the author

Nathaniel Popkin is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and author of three books of non-fiction, including the forthcoming Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple Press) and a novel, Lion and Leopard (The Head and the Hand Press). He is the senior writer of the film documentary "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."



Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
Philadelphia Far Behind Peer Cities Says National Trust

Philadelphia Far Behind Peer Cities Says National Trust

January 19, 2018  |  News

Mayor Kenney's Historic Preservation Task Force convened last night for their seventh official meeting. Starr Herr-Cardillo reports > more

SEPTA Spruces Up The Underground With Downtown Link

SEPTA Spruces Up The Underground With Downtown Link

January 18, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a tour of the city's extensive pedestrian underground concourse network, soon to be rebranded by SEPTA as the "Downtown Link" > more

The Vanishing Of Northeast Village

The Vanishing Of Northeast Village

January 16, 2018  |  Vantage

David Coyne traverses bramble and broken blacktop along Roosevelt Boulevard to reveal a military housing community that was evacuated and demolished in the 1960s > more

A Field Guide To Demolition

A Field Guide To Demolition

January 12, 2018  |  Vantage

Peter Woodall spotlights specific building types facing the most development pressure in four high-profile neighborhoods > more

From Prints To Trivets, Art Imitates Life Of Manhole Covers

From Prints To Trivets, Art Imitates Life Of Manhole Covers

January 11, 2018  |  Vantage

Contributor Jonathan Schmalzbach talks with a designer and a printmaker about their obsession with manhole covers and public utility as creative muse > more

Little Corner at 10th & Market Reveals Big Legacy

Little Corner at 10th & Market Reveals Big Legacy

January 8, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

Reading Terminal, Philadelphia Mint, Drexel Institute--all prominent landmarks built by contractor Charles McCaul. The Shadow uncovers the little-known legacy of the big time builder at a nail salon on 10th Street > more