Sunday, May 16, 2010

Then and Now: Corner of 32nd and Market Streets looking northeast, Philadelphia


At the time of the Second World War, the Market-Frankford Line was fully elevated through West Philadelphia, emerging from the subway tunnel at 22nd and Market Streets. The original photograph shows part of the original "El" station at 32nd Street, completed in 1908. Barely visible in the background of the original photo is the Pennsylvania Railroad's West Philadelphia Station, which at the time was the city's main railroad station west of the Schuylkill River. West Philadelphia Station was demolished after the opening of 30th Street Station in 1933.

During the war, the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Transit Company (PTC) initiated a major project to extend the Market Street subway tunnel from 22nd Street past 40th Street. Furthermore, the PTC's West Philadelphia trolley lines would be rerouted into a subway tunnel below Woodland Avenue, joining the Market Street Subway tunnel at 32nd Street. Due to the relocation of the Pennsylvania Railroad station to 30th Street, the new Market-Frankford Line stations were built at 30th and 34th Streets, neither of which were previously station stops. The transit tunnels opened in 1955, and the obsolete elevated rails and stations were removed the following year.

About a decade ago, Drexel University annexed the block of 32nd Street between Market and Chestnut Streets, and has since developed it into a landscaped pedestrian walkway.

Market-Frankford Line [nycsubway]

Source: Darlington, Peggy, Gregory Jordan-Detamore, and David Pirmann. "Market-Frankford El." 12 May 2010.
Original photo: Quinn. "Department of City Transit-20601-0." 1930. Philadelphia City Archives. Philadelphia Department of Records. 12 May 2010.

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