Wednesday, June 4, 2008
After a week of just being in the neighborhood, people started to get used to our presence. And the more we talked to the residents in Strawberry Mansion area, the more we get to know about it, and its past.
Strawberry Mansion used to be one of the richest area in Philadelphia until 1960s. By chance our group get in touch with Sandra Asher, now a book writer living in Lancaster, Pa., who used to live in the area during that time. Asher lived and grew up in a house at Diamond and 30th streets. Her part of Strawberry Mansion consists the wonder-smelling bakery on the corner and the Park Theater, where her family spent almost every Saturday watching movies. She also said there used to be a magazine and newspaper store, a dancing school and a food market in the area. Her father, who was a doctor, had an office in the area.
Indeed, residents who have lived in the neighborhood long enough said similar things. They said there were shoe stores, egg stores and other types of businesses around the area. But they were all torn down after the 60s. Today, the only stores left are some corner stores and take-out restaurants. On the streets, there are vacant houses and trashes.
Despite of the fact, many institutions are sticking around. They are centers for after-school programs, churches and schools. Our group noticed many churches around the area. Four churches on one block is not really surprising.
We also talked to a lady who runs an after-school program across James Blaine Elementary School. She said the program is the first after-school program in Philadelphia to have the children grow food. In this coming few weeks, we plan to talk to more people and get to know more about the neighborhood. As for now, we are still intrigued by Strawberry Mansion's history and its past.
- Group 2
Posted by Esther Castillo at 9:57 PM