The perfect square: a history of Rittenhouse Square by Nancy M. Heinzen

By Nancy M. Heinzen

Nice towns and neighborhoods upward thrust and fall, but Rittenhouse sq. in Philadelphia has seized the mind's eye and envy of social climbers, city planners, and novelists alike for 2 centuries. In "The excellent Square", Nancy Heinzen - a resident of Rittenhouse sq. for over forty years and an activist devoted to its renovation - presents the 1st full-length social heritage of this public city house. one of many 5 squares William Penn validated whilst he based the town, the southwest-situated Rittenhouse sq. has reworked from a marshy plot surrounded through brickyards and employees' shanties into the epicenter of Philadelphia excessive society it's this present day. A keystone of heart urban Philadelphia, it was domestic to nice dynasties, based mansions and grand dames of the Victorian period. this day it really is coated with million-dollar high-rise condominiums, the place nouveau-riche marketers and descendants of ethnic immigrants reside side-by-side. Heinzen lovingly chronicles this city space's improvement and progress, illustrating that not just is Rittenhouse sq. designated, yet so is the mix of human occasions and relationships that experience created and sustained it. Painstakingly researched and generously illustrated with black-and-white images from public data, "The ideal sq." will attract lay readers attracted to heritage, to expert historians and concrete planners, and to the hundreds of thousands of latest citizens who've settled on or close to Rittenhouse sq. because the sunrise of the twenty first century.

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Unlike Physick and Powel, Harper was investing in a community that was already his own and where he planned to remain. He also reserved a lot next door to his own house for his married daughter Annie and her husband, George Peabody. ” But like the Physick house, Harper’s house contained white marble elements in a Greek revival style on its front portico. 7 James Harper, brickyard owner on the north Harper’s narrow lot was smaller than either Physick’s or Powel’s side of Walnut Street, between (twenty-eight feet wide, compared to a hundred feet for Physick’s), Eighteenth and Nineteenth it was large enough for a two-story coach house and a five-horse stastreets.

As the city’s population shifted west, these public conveyances increasingly extended across Broad Street to the western outskirts of the city, including Rittenhouse Square. These vehicles shared the road with wagons delivering bread and peddling produce and oysters. In a growing city, the speed, comfort, and convenience of a private carriage increasingly appealed to those who could afford it. By the late 1850s, horses probably occupied more space around the Square than people did. James Harper had five stables and a two-story carriage house behind his Walnut Street home.

40 The Sturgis family was just the sort James Harper had envisioned on Walnut Street when he fi rst bought up the block a generation earlier. 8). Like the Sturgises, Mrs. Hale came from Boston, where she had edited the Ladies Magazine and achieved some fame as the author of the children’s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb” as well as the first person to propose Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. When the Ladies Magazine merged with Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1837, she moved with it to Philadelphia, and over the next forty years she built Godey’s into America’s leading women’s literary and fashion periodical, with 150,000 subscribers nationwide.

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