Explore Bartram’s Mile

One of the big missing pieces in the city’s recreational trail network is a good connection to Bartram’s Garden. Thankfully that’s about to change.

At a series of events in the coming weeks the public is invited to help shape the future of “Bartram’s Mile,” a one-mile long trail segment that would link Bartram’s Garden northward to the Grays Ferry Bride, and southward to the 58th Street Greenway, completing an important piece of The Circuit. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Bartram’s Garden, Schuylkill River Development Corporation, and PennPraxis are inviting Philadelphians to explore this forlorn piece of the Schuylkill River’s western banks, and offer their input about the designs of Bartram’s Mile.  Add your voice to the community dialogue at any of these events:

  • Bike Tour: November 3, 1:30-4pm Meet at Bartram’s Farm
  • Walking Tour: Sunday, October 28 November 4 (rescheduled), 2-4pm. Meet at Bartram’s Garden Trail Head
  • Dinner Conversation: November 5, 6-8pm Bartram’s Garden
  • Design Workshop: November 10, 12-3pm Bartram’s Garden

[RSVP to praxis@design.upenn.edu or by calling 215-573-8720.]

Bartram’s Mile is an important opportunity to connect residents to the river, by converting a portion publicly owned vacant property to recreational use. I highly recommend checking out this underused stretch of the Tidal Schuylkill for yourself.

This spring I traversed different sections of the Lower Schuylkill with my PennPraxis colleague Andrew Goodman, and biked around this area with planners from the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities. It’s an incredibly interesting landscape – if you can access it. In spots it is possible to get really close to the river’s edge, catch cool skyline views, and see hardly-used streets, industrial relics, forgotten rail spurs, and closed pedestrian bridges. It’s a post-industrial jungle, it’s our forgotten river, and it’s really cool.

Not convinced yet? Here’s a peek at some of the fascinating spaces that could be reborn along Bartram’s Mile.

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Will the swing bridge next to the Gray's Ferry bridge be reused to connect Gray's Ferry Crescent with Bartram's Mile?
(Will the swing bridge next to the Gray's Ferry bridge be reused to connect Gray's Ferry Crescent with Bartram's Mile?)

 

Picture a trail running here, along the western edge of the Schuylkill from Gray's Ferry Bridge to Bartram's Garden
(Picture a trail running here, along the western edge of the Schuylkill from Gray's Ferry Bridge to Bartram's Garden)

 

Where does that seemingly well-paved pathway take me? Under a rail bridge? Cool! Is the river over there?
(Where does that seemingly well-paved pathway take me? Under a rail bridge? Cool! Is the river over there?)

 

You can fish near Bartram’s Garden?
(You can fish near Bartram’s Garden?)

 

Holy cannoli, is that the Woodlands? That’s super close!
(Holy cannoli, is that the Woodlands? That’s super close!)

 

I hear the 58th Street Greenway is under construction. What's it look like?
(I hear the 58th Street Greenway is under construction. What's it look like?)

 

That's an awesome view of Center City. Where can I get that close to the river without being yelled at?
(That's an awesome view of Center City. Where can I get that close to the river without being yelled at?)

 

Where is this stretch of historic cobblestone street?
(Where is this stretch of historic cobblestone street?)

 

 

I've heard of Bartram's Garden, but there's a farm and orchard too? Neato!
(I've heard of Bartram's Garden, but there's a farm and orchard too? Neato!)

 

Is that a lost pedestrian only bridge at Bartram’s? Can I go on it? Where does it lead?
(Is that a lost pedestrian only bridge at Bartram’s? Can I go on it? Where does it lead?)

 

Look at that opening in the fence. Sure would be nice to explore the old National Heat and Power site…
(Look at that opening in the fence. Sure would be nice to explore the old National Heat and Power site…)

To witness this mysterious area for yourself, head out on on the walking tour this Sunday November 4 or the bike tour on November 3.

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