Searching for Philadelphia utilizes photographs to bring awareness of the many largely hidden and unexpected architectural treasures the city has to offer. Most of these would likely be missed except by the curious and alert pedestrian. The book is made up of seven distinct sections.
In “Alluring Entryways,” memorable doors and portals are featured in various locations, including Pemberton, Smedley and Camac Streets.
In “Narrow Streets,” one of Philadelphia’s specialties—walkable blocks practically inaccessible to car traffic—is the principal subject. Included in this section are scenes showing Cypress, Delhi, Iseminger, Fitzwater, Addison, Irving, Jessup, Manning, Waverly, Bonsall and Quince Streets, as well as St. Mark’s Square.
In “Walkways,” small passages are given special attention, including St. Joseph’s Way, the English Village, St. Alban’s Place and Madison Square.
In “Hidden Courtyards,” Philadelphia’s architectural hideaways are showcased. These include Loxley, Addison, Bladen’s, Bell’s, Green’s and Drinker’s Courts, as well as picturesque Lantern Square.
In “Secret Gardens,” some of the least known and most beautiful little verdant precincts are featured. Among others, the plots at Powell House, Physick House, the College of Physicians and the Society of Colonial Dames are wonderfully revealed.
In “Tiny Parks,” recreational spaces both small and quaint are the focus. Included are sites ranging from Fitler Square, known by some, to places known by very few, such as Daniel Michaux Coxe Park, Bardascino Park and the Palmer Burial Ground.
Finally, in “Unnoticed Buildings,” structures unique to Philadelphia are brought to light. These include two fine carriage houses, a Romanian Orthodox church, other intriguing Christian places of worship, a most unusual old shot tower, two notable synagogues from past and present, structures once housing a classic bank and firehouse and residences only to be found in the Quaker City.
A photographic collection to be enjoyed for many years to come, Searching for Philadelphia gives recognition to the overlooked views that lend exceptional character and a human dimension to a great American city.
About the Author
David S. Traub studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania under Louis I. Kahn. He has been an architect in private practice since 1974. The author of many articles concerning architectural preservation, he is also the cofounder of the Philadelphia preservation organization, Save Our Sites (SOS).