Revisiting Logan in the Flesh – Part 5/Final

This is the last planned part of recounting my return to Logan at the invitation of The Pew Charitable Trust.  Although the morning began simply as a commitment to have some photos of me taken outside the home where I was born and raised in the ’50s and ’60s, it morphed into something much more as I was prompted to take my own personal tour of many of the areas I walked or biked around as a child.  Our old house is the last one standing above what is now known as the Logan Triangle, representing the homes that were demolished and cleared due to settling in the marsh.

4700 block

My good friend Dr. Daniel Wohlgelernter, whose father was the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Judah on 11th St. between Louden and Rockland, posted the following comment with a very good question:  “These Logan posts are remarkable. The photos are amazing. I envisioned Logan looking like bombed out Berlin. How has it avoided the inexorable urban decay of the inner city?”

Take a look at all the photos I’ve posted, and you’ll notice something incredible.  There isn’t a hint of graffiti anywhere.  In fact, take a look at the western intersection of 11th and Louden, and you’ll note another example of a very clean look that seems at odds with what you’d expect to see based on prior reports of Logan’s appearance.

Louden & 11th



 I believe the answer to Dr. Dan’s question is in this blight and redevelopment report from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in 2003.  In addition to finishing the demolition of the houses in the Logan Triangle in the heart of the marsh, the report recognized that the remainder of Logan had fallen prey to, in Dr. Dan’s words, inexorable urban decay.  Its principal concerns revolved around the loss of tax revenue to the city due to the plummeting property values and abandonment.  On May 20, 2003 (my 51st birthday, by the way) the City Planning Commission adopted a resolution to designate the area bounded by Broad St. on the west, both sides of Ruscomb St. on the north, the RR right of way on the east, and Loudon St., 11th St., Roosevelt Blvd., and Wingohocking St. to the south as blighted areas designated for redevelopment funds.  This was the beginning of the cleanup that so pleasantly surprised me on my personal driving/walking tour.

I’ve seen pictures posted by people driving through in the rain, but the transient engagement isn’t quite the same as getting out of your car and walking around.  In doing so you’ll feel both the ghosts of Logan past and the dream of urban redevelopment for a Logan of the future.  Here are some final unlabeled views of the new old neighborhood beginning with Bennett Hall at Lindley and Camac where Miriam and I began life together in 1973.

Bennett Hall




church 2















B & R











11 r












Addendum March 16, 2021:  Thanks to Alexander Banias for sharing this podcast done by Rick Spector, featuring an interview of Rita Rosen Poley.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Revisiting Logan in the Flesh – Part 5/Final

  1. doctuhdon says:

    Thank you, Len, for this remarkable remembrance of things past. I feel like I have traveled in a time machine back toward childhood. Can you tell your readers more about the demographics of the current Logan population?

    By the way, I would suggest that you submit this series of articles to the Inquirer or to Philadelphia magazine for publication.

    Best wishes,


  2. You’re welcome, Dan. It was a wonderful step-back in time. Thanks for the encouragement to submit it, though in a way I’d rather it be discovered than self-promoted. I’ll give it further thought.

  3. Judith Gittelman says:

    Enjoyed this so much. Hope I get to see all of your blogs. I may have missed a few.

  4. Susan Soorenko says:

    Len, I can’t count the number of times I walked up those steps to your dad’s waiting room – as a patient, and as his receptionist when I was in high school. I remember you well as a teenager!

  5. Alan bennett says:

    About ten years ago, I went in to Beth Judah on a Sunday morning just as church services were ending. A group of worshipers gathered around to hear about the synagogue and its members. It was a very friendly and memorable visit which included my translating the various stain glass windows that remained in place.

  6. Howard says:

    len.. thanks for the time you spent and your comments. i lived on 12th at courtland… some fond memories and friendships from a diverse group of neighbors. i went to logan, cooke, and olney.

  7. I would like to Thank you for all the memories your pictures have brought back. Even though I grew up at 4953 N. 7th Street (between Ruscomb and Rockland) and you didn’t cover that section of Logan, I walked to Cooke and know the area well… I hope someone or something picks this up and makes a TV show on PBS about it.

    • My pleasure, Michelle, and thanks for taking the time to write. I felt conflicted because I had a limited amount of time in which to drive and walk around the old neighborhood before returning home. I would have loved to have gone through every block still standing and photodocument everything. Although I didn’t cover “that side of town”, perhaps someone else will pick up the mantle and drive back to do it. Who knows — since this was so well received I may get around to doing it one day. 😉

  8. Martin says:

    Lenny, thanks for the pics. TV was a big part of driveway talk. Thought you would find this “nostalgic” if you haven’t seen already.

  9. Louis Silverman says:

    What a great set of pictures and memories. If there are more to look at can you send that to us. I find it almost impossible to watch without having mixed emotions of my childhood. Thank you for this posting. I am forwarding to all my friends.
    Lou Silverman

  10. Thank you for the interesting and exciting history lesson on Logan. I grew up at 923 Wyoming Avenue & it was one of the homes in the “Triangle” that was demolished. We were one of the last people to move off of Wyoming Avenue.

    It’s nice to know that so many people actually grew up and cared about a neighborhood in which many people forget about. Although, I do have a question: Was Dr. Turner’s office open in the 60s & 70s? His doctor’s office was on Courtland Street near 9th

  11. David Pastor says:

    This is amazing Was your father Israel Press. I have a class album from Central High School from 1937 the year my father graduated.In it is i believe a photo of your father. I was born in Logan in 1954 and lived at 4950 Hutchinson.

  12. John Fleming says:

    Where do I begin with comments on your pictures? Most are from my neck of the woods of Logan in the 50’s.
    Allow me to start with Bennett Hall. As kids that were looking for a little excitement, we used to like to ride the elevator to the rooftop. Loved seeing the view. Ended when we were caught by a black gentleman. Probably the super. Politely but firmly told us, that we were not welcome. I believe in back of Bennett Hall was the Lindley Court apartments. I believe that Michael Medved once lived there as a child.

    Too many memories to list with the pictures around Lindley, Old York Road, Rockland and Broad Street. Truly a magic time and place to grow up in Philly in the 50’s.

    • Great to share the memories with you John! You’re right, that was Lindley Court Apartments in the back. There as another big apartment building in the area – I think it may have been called the Shelbourne. A kid who taught me how to excel at handball (which out of Philly was called “fist ball” (with a pimple ball) was Richie Blumberg, who lived there.

  13. Mark Goodman says:

    Don’t know if you’re still seeing comments to your posts, but thought I’d try.
    I also grew up on the 4800 block of 10th Street. Born in 1948, I’m a few years older than you. I remember so many of your references. The Ackerman’s hardware store with owners Phil and Lil may have been part of the start of my career as an electrical engineer. They had a TV tube testing machine that I used to repair our TV. It’s funny what you remember. The Hutch pinball machine was “Flying Circus”. I later found a copy which I still have today. We were Temple Rodeph Zedek members. I could go on and on, but that’s probably enough for now.
    Thanks for the memories.let me know if this gets to you.

  14. Yes, Mark. I still am seeing comments – and thanks so much for adding yours. I seem to recall that in addition to the Ackerman’s small store they had on the North side of Louden next to Malmud’s Pharmacy, they had an even smaller little place on the south side Louden, between Benny’s Fruit Store and a kid’s clothing shop (Sally’s?) that they used for storage. So when Phil couldn’t find what you were looking for in the store, he’d saunter across the street before he’d let you go and magically come up with what you needed in the disorganized chaos of that little unofficial annex. It was the original version of a convenience store for hardware, and if you needed something major you’d have to hike up to Logan Electric on Broad St. What year did you leave Logan, and where did life take you after that?

  15. Paula Epstein says:

    I have been spending the day on the phone with my 95 year old mother listening to her memories of growing up in Logan and was so thrilled to find your articles to share with her. We are both hunkered down in our houses due to Covid and are keeping our distance from each other but speak at least a dozen times a day. Today she was asking about this store and that and of course, the schools she went to including Birney and Cooke. My research led me to your site which made our day! For me, I couldn’t believe the description of your sister’s education in that I, too, went to Girls High (we lived in Overbrook Park so it was a schlep) and Gratz College. Anyone in your family go to Camp Ramah? I plan to visit Philly one day in the future, post pandemeic, since my granddaughter is now at Penn. I am sure I will be shocked by all the changes. I love Proust- to dip my spoon in a Barson’s cherry ice cream soda one more time (in my dreams).

  16. Note the addendum to this wonderful YouTube podcast, shared by Alex Banias:

  17. alan bennett says:

    Just checking in again from California. Logan, Even after having left Philadelphia almost 60 years ago, Logan still seems to me to have been a remarkable place. The images of your father, Rabbi Wohlgelernter, Mrs Pitlick, Cantor Mandel and many others all periodically rattle around in my head. When I look at the Logan FB group, I’m reminded how we lived to a large extent in parallel and sequential non-touching tracks. The lives of the kids from the parochial schools that I knew little about and the waves of Jewish, Ukrainian, Black Hispanic residents all seem like textbook examples of urban sociology.

    • Well put, Alan. It’s interesting to listen to Rita Rosen Poley’s interview. Even though we knew obviously that there were others in Logan who weren’t Jewish, and that there were quite visible churches, it felt like everyone was Jewish or at least an honorary Jew. It was, by and large, a very successful example of urban sociology. Toward the end it could get uncomfortable, as “less desirable elements” who had no regard for what made the melting pot successful predominated.

      • alan j bennett says:

        By the time I left though, I had begun to think of that characteristic church architecture as what a synagogue should look like! Judging from some of the names in the Logan FB group, the “religous segregation” issue, for better or worse, has been somewhat resolved by intermarriage. I also remember that the origin of some of the synagogue proliferation was due to squabbles hinted at in the names of the new ones e.g. Rodef Tzedek.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s