Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
mantua_garofalo

mantua_garofalo

Ratings: (0)|Views: 11 |Likes:
Published by Tom Mount

More info:

Published by: Tom Mount on May 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

12/13/2013

pdf

text

original

 
Garofalo 1Mantua: A History of a West Philadelphia NeighborhoodBy Michael GarofaloThe modern boundaries of the West Philadelphia neighborhood of Mantua aregenerally described as Hamilton Street and Lancaster Avenue to the south, MantuaAvenue to the north, 31
st
Street to the east, and 40
th
Street to the west (see Figure 1 inAppendix). As Mantua was never officially its own political entity, but rather simply aneighborhood in Blockley Township and later the City of Philadelphia, the extent of Mantua’s recognized area has changed over time. Originally, the Mantua landdevelopment was planned to extend north all the way to Girard Avenue, north of thePhiladelphia Zoo, which now sits just north of Mantua’s current boundaries. Over thecourse of the first half of the 19
th
century, Mantua expanded to the south, so that by thetime of Philadelphia’s Consolidation Act in 1854, the neighborhood reached south all theway to just north of the Permanent Bridge at Market Street. At that time, the westernboundary extended along Lancaster Avenue to where Lancaster intersects withWestminster Avenue near 45
th
Street.
1
Though Mantua’s current size does not nearlymatch its former extent, it remains a landmark neighborhood in West Philadelphia.Judge Richard Peters (1743-1828) played an integral role in the founding of Mantua.Peters is an interesting figure in West Philadelphia history. Born in the family countryestate of Belmont in what is now Fairmont Park, Peters became a prominent Philadelphialawyer like his famous father, William. During the American Revolution, Peters servedas secretary of the Continental Board of War and later was a representative at the
1
 
Leon S. Rosenthal, A HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA'SUNIVERSITY CITY, http://www.uchs.net/Rosenthal/mantua.html
West Philadelphia Community History Center
 
Garofalo 2Continental Congress. Later, Judge Peters would become Speaker of the PennsylvaniaSenate and a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania.
2
Peters inherited the sprawlingBelmont estate from his father, and in 1809 he decided to divide and sell a portion of hisland as a new real estate development. According to Leon S. Rosenthal, he chose to namehis new development after the Italian city of Mantua, where Virgil, one of the Judge’sfavorite authors, lived in antiquity. Peters began offering his land in large plots, but foundlittle success selling property in the still sparsely populated Blockley Township.During the revolution, Judge Peters was involved in the construction of the originalpontoon bridge crossing the Schuylkill. Later he was an active promoter of theconstruction of that bridge’s successor, the 1805 Permanent Bridge at Market Street.Judge Peters’ efforts to improve Blockley Township’s accessibility to Philadelphia properincreased the appeal of his Mantua settlement, but sales did not take off in earnest until1812, when the Spring Garden Street Bridge opened, providing a direct thoroughfare toPhiladelphia from Mantua. The early residents of Mantua began building homes of considerable size, and by 1850, when West Philadelphia’s total population had reached13,265
3
, the Mantua community was sizeable enough to house a Sunday School (1837)and the First Presbyterian Church of Mantua (1846).
4
The large suburban dwellings of the first half of the 19
th
century persisted into the 1860’s and 1870’s when the advent of West Philadelphia as a so-called “streetcar suburb” again changed Mantua drastically.
2
 
http://www.archives.upenn.edu/people/1700s/peters_rich_hon.html
 
3
 
http://www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/features/wphila/stats/census_lloyd.html
 
4
 
Leon S. Rosenthal, A HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA'SUNIVERSITY CITY, http://www.uchs.net/Rosenthal/mantua.html
 
Garofalo 3Trolley lines first extended into West Philadelphia in 1858, with the Market Streetline, and in 1866 at Chestnut Street.
5
The rapid transportation afforded by the trolleyshelped change West Philadelphia into a true suburb, as residents now could travel to andfrom their jobs in Center City with ease. West Philadelphia’s population grew from13,265 in 1850 to 69,404 in 1880, a tremendous period of growth largely attributable toadvancements in transportation.
6
In Mantua, the era of suburban houses came to an endduring this period. The large lots dating back to Judge Richard Peters’ day weresubdivided, making way for the row houses that came to characterize the area.The former property of Adam Everly provides an excellent example of Mantua’stransformation. Everly made his fortune in real estate in 19
th
century Philadelphia, and in1831, he bought twenty-four acres of land to build his country estate in what today isMantua. Everly’s estate was known as “Emlenton” after the Emlen family that previouslyowned the land. Everly’s manor is believed to have been situated near what is todayHaverford Road and 33
rd
Street (see Figure 2). Everly died in 1865, and in his will hespecified that his estate should not be sold until at least fifteen years after his wife’sdeath. Mrs. Everly died in 1870, and in 1885, the Emlenton estate was sold to aspeculator. Emlenton’s twenty-four acres soon housed over 140 row houses. Thesituation visible at Emlenton is representative of what occurred in the rest of Mantuaduring this period. Indeed, by 1916 nearly every block in Mantua was covered in rowhouses (Figure 4 shows a few blocks of Mantua completely developed in 1910).
7
 
5
 
http://www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/features/wphila/history/history2.html
 
6
 
http://www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/features/wphila/stats/census_lloyd.html
 
7
 
http://www.brynmawr.edu/cities/archx/05-600/proj/p1/jcac/emlentonpre1863.html
 

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->