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

 

clean

 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

BH

Marvine

Church

church 2

OYR

OYR 2

 

OYR4

 

 

OYR3

 

Broad

 

Subway

 

Triangle

 

B & R

 

Ruscomb

 

fork

 

Warnock

 

 

nice

 

11 r

 

driveway2

 

driveway3

 

8L

 

house2

 

new

 

 

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.
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24 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,

    Dan

  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.

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