Committee Recommends 19 Properties For The Philadelphia Register

June 15, 2016 | by Michael Bixler


Delaware Generating Station | Photo: Michael Bixler

Delaware Generating Station at 1325 Beach Street | Photo: Michael Bixler

The Philadelphia Historical Commission’s Committee on Historical Designation today gave a thumb’s up to 19 of 20 nominations to the the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. The next step for the nominations is a public hearing and then review by the full Historical Commission. Citing insufficient documentation, the Committee turned down the nomination for the Nation of Islam Unity/Fruit home on 25th and Oxford Streets where Civil Rights leader Malcolm X is believed to have stayed in Philadelphia during his four-month period as acting minister of Nation of Islam’s Temple 12.

Nominations Recommended for Placement on the Philadelphia Register Of Historic Places

PECO Delaware Generating Station | 1325 Beach Street
Nominator: Stephanie Haller and Jill Betters

Robinson Store | 1020-24 Market Street
Nominator: Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia

Ott Camera | 6901 Caster Avenue
Nominator: Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia

Penn Fruit | 5129-35 Frankford Avenue
Nominator: Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia

Mutual Burial Ground of Kensington | 1834-48 Frankford Avenue
Nominator: Ken Milano

Engine 16 Firehouse | 1026-28 Belmont Avenue
Nominator: University City Historical Society, Andrew Cushing, and Oscar Beisert

Garsed-Bromley Mansion (Frankford YWCA) | 4704 Leiper Street
Nominator: Joseph Menkevich, Debbie Klak, and Diane Sadler

Wister Gardens | 339 E. Wister Street
Nominator: Oscar Beisert and J.M. Duffin

Columbia Singing Society | 2007-13 North 2nd Street
Nominator: Staff of the Philadelphia Historical Commission

Coates Street Row | 81-95 Fairmount Avenue
Nominator: Staff of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission

Dougherty Bonded Warehouse | 1132-40 North Front Street
Nominator: Kensington and Olde Richmond Heritage, LLC and Oscar Beisert

St. Mary’s of Assumption | 176 Conarroe Street
Nominator: John Manton

Sloan House | 1527 North Front Street
Nominator: Kensington and Olde Richmond Heritage, LLC and Oscar Beisert

West Philadelphia Italianate Row | 4046, 4048, 40504052, 4054, and 4056 Chestnut Street
Nominator: Aaron Wunsch, Elizabeth Stegner, and Oscar Beisert

Nominations Not Recommended for Placement on the Philadelphia Register Of Historic Places

Malcolm X House | 2503 West Oxford Street
Nominator: All That Jazz Philly, Faye Anderson, and Oscar Beisert
Reason: Insufficient documentation
Suggestion: Explore the potential nomination of the Nation of Islam’s former Temple 12 at 1643 North Bailey Street as a better representation of Malcom X’s presence in Philadelphia


About the Author

Michael Bixler is a writer, editor, and photographer engaged in dialogue and documentation of the built environment and how it relates to history, culture, and the urban experience. He is the editorial director and chief photographer of Hidden City Philadelphia.


  1. pete hart says:

    thank you to the people who took the time and effort to nominate these irreplaceable pieces of Philadelphia’s unique past…thanks again

    1. Alec says:

      I second that! It brings a smile to my face to see that these places will be preserved and Philly will be a better place because of it. And thank you to Hidden City for all the wonderful work you do as well!

  2. Alec says:

    Question… I thought 4046-4048 and 4050-4052 Chestnut are currently slated for demolition. Considering that the properties are now being considered for designation, does this mean that they are at least safe for now?

  3. Jim Clark says:

    Penn Fruit on Frankford Ave., my mom use to shop there! Remember it well. I am glad they are not tearing everything down.

  4. Davis says:

    God bless those who are so vigilant and determined to help save this city from itself! This is truly the work of civilization.

  5. CMS says:

    While I totally love DPS (PECO Delaware Power Station), I can only imagine it would be a small fortune to keep the structure. The property always has water on ground level and sub level. I would also think that if the stacks were to remain in tact they would also need to leave certain structures in tact inside the building also, leaving much room taken up and not being useful for future use of the property.
    I vaguely recall reading a story that the first structure had an issue and they built the second directly on top of it, so how sound is the building and is that why it retains so much water ?
    I have a great love for the city’s history in her buildings, but safety may be a issue here. would Blatstein have bought the property if he knew it was becoming historical ? Will it sit abandoned as a playground in the mean time until her fate is decided? if it becomes historical will he abandon her ?

    1. Rob M says:

      They had problems building it not because of any structural issues but because the cost of labor and materials went through the roof in 1917 when work began because of WWI. Once the war ended the structure was completed with no issue and is strucurally sound.

      There is sitting water on the sublevel but that is common for many old buildings, especially when they are located below sea level so close to water. The Chester Power Station had similar problems and has since been completely renovated.

  6. Dotty says:

    My cousin lived next door to the firehouse for many years.
    I remember belonging to the Y oln Leiper St. We had many functions there and I learned to play croquet there also. I remember the penn fruit market. My mom use to shop there and they had a conveyor belt where there boxed up for your food for delivery to your home later for a fee. We did not have a car in those days.

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