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MOVE bombing site commemoration ceremony this Saturday

Posted on 21 June 2017

West Philly bombing in 1985The Jubilee School, a private K-5 school located at 4211 Chester Avenue, will be hosting a ceremony honoring the site of the MOVE bombing (at the intersection of Osage Avenue and Cobbs Creek Parkway) on Saturday, June 23, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. The event is open to the community and will feature performances from local poets and artists, including scholar Sonia Sanchez.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission approved earlier this spring the placing of a historical marker. Students of the Jubilee School, who have studied the 1985 bombing of the MOVE headquarters at 6221 Osage Avenue for the past two years, approached the PHMC with a nomination, according to the The Philadelphia Tribune Continue Reading

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Lucien E. Blackwell Regional Library reopening after maintenance; Celebration on Saturday, May 20

Posted on 19 May 2017

After being closed for about 18 months for maintenance and renovations, the Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library is set to reopen this weekend. The grand opening celebration will take place on Saturday, May 20, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and will include a block party featuring fun learning activities, balloon art, face painting, giveaways, library card sign-ups, food, and more.

One of the area’s largest libraries, which serves the communities of Cobbs Creek, Cedar Park, Walnut Hill, Mill Creek, Dunlap, and West Park, the Blackwell library has been closed since the beginning of 2016, and its patrons were redirected to other neighborhood branches. The maintenance work at the library, which first opened in 1976 and was the second regional library in the city, included a complete replacement of the building’s heating and air-conditioning system and installation of new ceilings and a new electrical system.  Continue Reading

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Historical Commission designates 420-434 S. 42nd “historic district,” first in city since 2010

Posted on 17 January 2017

The Philadelphia Historical Commission voted Friday to designate the west side of the 400 block of S. 42nd Street (420-434 S. 42nd) a historic district, a significant victory for local preservationists who want to protect historic buildings from the rapid development sweeping many of the city’s neighborhoods.

Named the “420 Row,” the cluster of Victorian row homes is the first historic district to be named since 2010, according to the Historical Commission. Designation means that the Historic Commission must approve any demolition or significant changes to the buildings. The designation comes as plans to convert one of the residences, a former fraternity house, into apartments are before the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee.

Block captain Justin McDaniel spearheaded the effort. Here is the designation application. Here is a list of other historic districts in the city, which include Parkside in West Philadelphia.

Increased development and a reluctance to grant historic status to large parts of West Philadelphia has prompted preservationists, including many members of local zoning committees, to seek designation on a “block by block” basis. Other designation applications are likely to follow.  Continue Reading

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Clickable, mapped history of West Philly live online

Posted on 15 December 2016

historysitePeople’s Emergency Center (PEC) and the Islamic Cultural Preservation and Information Council (ICPIC) this week launched Westphillyhistory.com, a website that includes an interactive map which pinpoints sites of historic significance in the area ranging from the Lenape Indian settlements in the 1600s to Malcolm X and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960’s – up to the present day.

Visitors to the site can take a virtual tour, filter events by categories such as arts and culture or social movements, or walk through history using the timeline.

“West Philadelphia has often attracted national and international attention for its prominent role in our nation’s history. These neighborhoods west of the Schuylkill River have a rich cultural identity unique to the city of Philadelphia, making it a place of significance within a ‘city of firsts’,” reads a statement on the website.  Continue Reading

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Two churches and part of S. 42nd to be considered for historic designation during Dec. 14 meeting

Posted on 13 December 2016

The Philadelphia Historical Commission’s committee on historic designation will consider several West Philly properties, including two churches, during a Dec. 14 meeting. The owners of one West Philly property, on the 4000 block of Chestnut Street, is asking for its designation to be rescinded.

Designation means that a property would be placed on the Register of Historic Places and the Historical Commission would serve as the regulatory body for the property. Every alteration that requires a building permit would go before the commission.

The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at 1515 Arch St., Room 18-029.

Here are the properties. Click on the link to see a PDF of the application.  Continue Reading

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City seeks buyer for 36 MOVE bombing properties on Osage and Pine

Posted on 22 November 2016

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These properties along the 6200 block of Osage are for sale. They were quickly built following the MOVE bombing in 1985 and quickly fell into disrepair (Photo Google Street View).

The city has invited developers to bid on 36 controversial properties on the 6200 blocks of Osage and Pine hastily rebuilt following the MOVE bombing in 1985.

West Philly bombing in 1985A fire began after police dropped a small bomb from a helicopter on a home at 6221 Osage Ave. following a long standoff with members of the black liberation group MOVE, who had barricaded themselves inside. Eleven people, including five children, were killed in the fire that followed the bombing. More than 50 neighboring homes were destroyed.

Only about half of the residences are occupied, and now the city is looking for a builder to buy the properties and either renovate them or demolish them and start over.  Continue Reading

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