Jan First July 12 - Aug 2, 2014 @ The iMPeRFeCT Gallery

It's a cold January on New Year's day morning, in the early 60’s. An African-American father and his young son wait for the 54 bus that takes them to the Broad Street Subway Line. This will transport them to City Hall station located in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

 

After twenty minutes the father and son finally arrive at thstation. As the train roars off to the next stop the sounds of music and the roar of a crowd has replaced the sound of trains.  The sounds frighten his young son. His father comforts the boy with hug and reassuring words of encouragement. The father embraces his son and begins to carrying him up the long stairway to the exit.

 

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The Max Levy Building

The Max Levy building

On Saturday the 26th, myself a group of interested community supporters was invited by Gray Area Philly to explore the Max Levy Building. The build is located in lower Germantown near the Wayne Junction train station. Constructed in 1902 at 240 Roberts Avenue, when Max Levy moved from Arch Street in center city Philadelphia. In 2005 Max Levy Autograph move to a new building in Byberry East Industrial Park.

Max and his brother Louis are credit with developing a method of producing a permanently etched glass screen for use in half tone printing in 1875. The process is still used by some companies the printing industry.

 

 

Germantown Town Hall

Germantown Town Hall

In the summer of 2013 the long neglected Germantown Town Hall received a temporary breath of life from Hidden City.  For at least one month the building would be opened to the public. The people have returned! For many years the general public had been banned from entry. Now they have returned to relive memories and satisfy their curiosity. The most overarching question was WHY such a great building had been left neglected for years by developers and the city of Philadelphia. One might think that part of the issue is the location in what many consider a low income area. If that is the case then the developers and city are clueless.

Town Hall, by virtue of its location, could be a community and economic center for Germantown. It is easy to reach by mass transit in a walkable community. The building design lends itself well to be a business incubator, or a place for co-op workspaces, and community gatherings. Any investment in this building would pay for itself. Sadly we live in a time when it is difficult for developers and our government to see the big picture on a long-term basis.

 

On June 30th, 2013 the building was locked and later resealed by the city and placed in the hands of the Fairmount Parks agency. Even with the closing, many in the Germantown community have taken the task of creating and maintaining a garden on the south side of the building. A new community-based group, Germantown Town Hall Collaborative, has been formed to explore ways to develop the building. Hopefully, with the renewed interest by the community, Germantown Town Hall will once again return to life.