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10 Photos of Old City from Before You Were Born

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This will be a semi-regular series where we show you some photos of the Philadelphia area from way back, like before you were even born. And if you were born when these shots were taken, more power to you and thanks for reading Curbed! Have any suggestions or know a little more about the history of the photograph? Hit us up in the comments and drop some knowledge on us!


↑ Here's a cool photo from all the way back in 1895. It depicts an elevated shot of 4th and Chestnut Street, and it's glorious. See that ornate building fifth in from the right? That's the Provident Life & Trust Company, designed by Mr. Frank Furness himself. Today, you'd be looking straight at The Omni Hotel.


↑ Just up Chestnut Street a smidge is where you'll find the location of our next picture. It's looking west from 6th and Chestnut in 1889. See that large statue on the left? That's Benjamin Franklin. It's attached to the equally impressive Public Ledger Building, which was a daily newspaper that ran from 1836 to 1942.


↑ Here is a shot of Market Street and Delaware Avenue from 1894. It's the site of an old railroad ferry to Cape May and Atlantic City. Check out that dapper gentleman in the bottom right corner!


↑ Here's when the widened Delaware Avenue in 1899. You remember that, don't you?


↑ This is the original Franklin Institute, now known at the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent on S 7th Street. The photo is from 1895.


↑ Here's an exterior shot of Independence Hall in 1896 prior to undergoing some renovations.


↑ And here's a shot from the interior of Independence Hall in 1896 prior to the aforementioned renovations. Yes, that is the Liberty Bell and, yes, that is awesome.


↑ go back to Market Street and Delaware Avenue for a minute. This is a shot of the trolley turnaround from 1900. It seems that this spot was always destined to be a congested mess.


↑ Here's a shot of Dock Street at Walnut Street from 1890. The old signs are great in this one. Kitch's Hotel is prominently displayed as well as Geo. Williams Dining and Saloon. We're glad they decided to keep that bumpy cobblestone street. It's bad enough in a car, can you imagine riding on it with a horse and buggy?


↑ Lastly, this photo shows you what life was like on the old Arch Street Pier. You'll also notice that the spire of Christ Church is visible in the background.

· Historical Photos of Philadelphia [Philly History]

Independence Hall

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