The history of the site on which 2100 Hamilton is soon to be finished is a short history: the site was part of Springettsbury Manor and then railroad tracks. The tracks were surface tracks on Pennsylvania Avenue from 1832 to 1898 before being submerged into a mostly open subway.
Portion of 1787 map showing the Springettsbury estate.
The curved line just south of the two manors represents the proposed canal to connect the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.
Springettsbury was named for William Penn's first wife and Callowhill Street, the uppermost east-west straight street on the map, was named for his second wife. Penn's land originally encompassed 12th Street to Lemon Hill and from Vine Street to above Girard Avenue.
The hills shown in this image would be leveled out over time. The current Baldwin Park is where the little pond is to the left (west) of Bush Hill.
As discussed in our article "Hidden Creeks," Philadelphia was criss-crossed with creeks that were subsequently covered. In this image there is a creek running through the junction of Pennsylvania Avenue and Hamilton Street, the current site of 2100 Hamilton. Some local observers may recall the high water table at the construction site as they dug the pits for the pilings.
Note Hamilton Street is a through street all the way to the reservoirs atop Faire Mount.
Portion of 1895 map showing locomotive turntable at 21st and Hamilton Streets and adjoining engine house. This map is probably misdated, as the turntable was not moved to this site from one block east until 1898.
Scene from 1895 looking west on Pennsylvania Avenue from the 20th Street.
The freight station seen on the above map is at right.
The Bement machine shops are the buildings on the left.
One block west: scene from 1897 looking west from the 2100 Hamilton site. The wooden structures along the tracks are hoists with pulleys.
Looking east from the tunnel opening on 21st Street in 1899.
The locomotive turntable from Sellers has been installed. The wooden granary beyond the Bement plant is seen on the right. The ramp up to the Knickerbocker Ice plant is on the right edge of this photo.
Laying of keystone in the tunnel opening at 22nd Street. The year "1898" will be carved on the keystone and is still there.
Bigwigs meeting for the first run down the tracks in 1899.
Photo looking west from 21st Street in 1900.
The ramp on left is still there, soon to be hidden.
Looking west at tunnel entrance after clearance for the Parkway.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is under construction in the back left.
Pequea Mills is on the right.
21st Street bridge rebuild in 1958.
The gap between the bridge and the building in upper right, now the police station, is still there.
1958 photo looking east from over the tunnel entrance. The 21st Street bridge is completed.
1955 view looking west from just east of the 20th Street bridge. The gap in the wall on the left was used by neighborhood kids for access to the tracks. This would be repaired when the police station at 20th and Callowhill was built in 1960. The Rodin Museum is in the distance.
In 1960 the parking lot for the new police station would cover half of this open subway, and the ramp and extension of the parking lot would obliterate the open sky above this block-long segment of the Callowhill Cut.
View from 2020 looking east down the tunnel along Pennsylvania Avenue.
The light at the end of the tunnel is the site of 2100 Hamilton.
This tunnel is an amazing space, and surprisingly clean. Sections like the one seen here are well-lit by the vents along the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Closer look in January 2020.
Construction at 2100 Hamilton has been a long time coming. In 2007 a new construction permit was issued for a ten-story building with 44 dwelling units and parking beneath. The contractor was to be PRA Development and Management, but the project progressed in fits and starts after some initial site preparation.
Site preparations being done in 2007.
The pool of water is approximately where the railroad turntable had been. it may be full of water for the reason discussed above: a creek ran through this site.
View in 2019 looking south from the top floor of the Dalian.
A good rule in Philadelphia real estate: don't buy (or rent) for a view. This view is obliterated.
View of the keystone date also obliterated.
authored by Joe Walsh,