This photo was taken in September 1999, looking south on 10th Street from Wyoming Avenue towards the Roosevelt Boulevard. Though it's unimagineable today, not long ago this had been a beautiful residential street lined with mature sycamores and high-end brick rowhomes accented with Philadelphia's characteristic wissahickon schist.
Nine hundred and fifty-seven rowhouses on seventeen square blocks in the Logan section of Philadelphia have been demolished -- with more to follow -- as their settling foundations caused collapses and gas leaks. A corrupt city administration eighty years ago set up this disaster, by ordering all coal ash in the city to be hauled to this site. The land happened to be owned by real estate developer friends of the then-mayor. The marshy flood plain along Wingohocking Creek was filled with as much as 40 feet of ash, and the townhouses built on this unstable fill began settling almost as soon as they were completed. The political scandal surrounding the construction of these homes (eighty years ago) is detailed in Harold E. Cox's book "Utility Cars of Philadelphia."
Click on the photo for a June 2000, in-depth New York Times article about the sinking homes in what's come to be called the "Logan Triangle."
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