Military in the Neighborhood

St Helena


Malcolm III

Joan of Arc

Civil war memorials: pennypacker, parkway

WWI: aviator park, aero, doughboy


The angel Moroni balances atop the steeple of the Church of the Latter Day Saints at 17th and Vine, just north of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. The Moroni statue is visible from Baldwin Park.
In 1823 17-year-old Joseph Smith had his first of many visions of the angel Moroni, who directed Smith to a buried book of golden plates. Smith dutifully translated the plates and published the Book of Mormon in 1830. Smith had several run-ins with the law and his neighbors before being shot to death in 1844 (photo credit). 
Joan of Arc, whose gilded monument glitters north of the Philadelphia Museum of Art between Pennsylvania Avenue and Kelly Drive, did not see Mary in her visions, but I include her here because Baldwin Park neighbor Hallahan High School has her name carved on its facade. In 1429 the 17-year-old Joan saw visions of Saints Michael, Catherine, and Margaret, which inspired her to lead French troops late in the Hundred Years War. French victories resulted in the coronation of Charles VII. At age 19, Joan was captured by the English, convicted of blasphemy, and burned at the stake. The carving on Hallahan, which was built in 1911, gives the title "blessed" to Joan of Arc as a result of her beatification (a step towards full canonization) in 1909, but also anticipates her canonization in 1920.

Portion of 1780 map showing the British defenses after capturing Philadelphia. The emplacements run along what is now Spring Garden Street, protecting our neighborhood from invasion by Fairmounters.

Per Cent for Art on the Community College of Philadelphia campus.
The Lenni Lenape are prominently mentioned on this "petroglyph" just off 18th Street across from Baldwin Park. Gloria Dei, or Old Swede's Church, is also mentioned, so that is one Swede reference in the neighborhood.

Portion of 1861 map showing the neighborhood facilities supporting the war.

Advertisement for the Bush Hill Iron Works from around 1853.

As discussed in our article on Oliver Evans, a foundry under various owners was at the southwest corner of 16th and Spring Garden Streets from 1819 to 1870. James Neall retired in 1854 and Matthews was joined in partnership by James Moore.

For the years 1975 to 1981 the neighborhood had an easily recognizable military memorial.

In 1920, the citizens of the sixth, eleventh, and twelfth wards of Philadelphia (Northern Liberties area) raised funds for a memorial to their neighbors who fought, and died, in World War I (WWI). This memorial was placed at 5th and Spring Garden Streets in a small park called Union Park. When the Vine Street Expressway was put through that area in the 1970's, the statue, officially titled Over the Top, colloquially called The Doughboy, was moved to the median strip on the 1700 block of Spring Garden Street. The river ward neighbors objected to this relocation, and fought to have the statue returned, led by NoLibs defender Mary Dankanis. In 1981 the City paid to move the statue back to 2nd and Spring Garden Street.

If the statue looks familiar, it may be because variations of this soldier in action were made for many cities throughout the United States. Artist John Paulding patented his 7-foot tall soldier statue in 1920 and sold the bronze memorials throughout the country. Fellow artist Ernest Moore Viquesney designed a very similar statue and sold even more. Each artist's models have the option of slightly different poses, but on quick glance they look very similar. see more on this at outside link here.

Photo of Mary Dankanis and her family looking at the Doughboy in 1981 before it was returned to its rightful home at 2nd and Spring Garden Streets. Masterman High School is seen in the background. Photo credit Mary Dankanis.

Photo of Midvale Steel product

Matthias Baldwin Park 

423 N 19th St 

Philadelphia, PA 19130

Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to preserve the Matthias Baldwin Park

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