Walking through Walnut Hill and Garden Court was, well, strange.
I learned from my research that both neighborhoods were originally designed as a streetcar suburb. Yet, the idea of a modern suburbia in the middle of West Philly was just a little hard to fathom.
I figured that by today, the area was probably overcrowded and rundown. Or perhaps Penn had already gotten it’s “revitalizing” hands on it and it would look like an extension of University City in-progress.
My assumptions were wrong.
The unique array of houses and apartment complexes look like they’ve gone relatively untouched. By “unique” I mean gorgeous houses (on tree-lined streets) that all have deep-red brick, Spanish-style roofs, sun rooms, and chimneys. As far as the apartments, I’m specifically referring to the two buildings which looked like fake little castles.
But of course, it was not all picture perfect. I got the sense that there was something more to these quaint little neighborhoods. The closer I got to 50th and Market, the more the surroundings seemed to deteriorate. And the only real sign of life I saw in the area appeared to be Penn students.
The area was so quiet, it was somewhat unnerving.
-Nicole Finkbiner and Candice Walker, Group 23, Walnut Hill/Garden Court