From Above: Old City and Society Hill waterfront, 1925

Our last two From Above aerial selections have showcased the Central Delaware Waterfront in the 1920s, checking in on bridge construction in 1924 and catching a bird-eye view of waterfront life in 1920. Today we stay on the Delaware waterfront, but head inland for a look at Old Dock Street and the blocks of Society Hill and Old City near the river back in 1925. 

Dock Street, the meandering cobbled road that winds from the Delaware River up toward Walnut and 3rd streets, was the city’s wholesale food hub well into the mid-20th century when the food distribution center was built in South Philadelphia. In this view Dock Street’s curves (seen lower left) are easy to pick out against the orderly grid, framed by large warehouses near the piers. Look closer and you can see that the buildings on Dock are lined with a steady canopy of shop awnings. In this view you can also make out the Frankford Elevated Railway running along North Front, which officially opened as an elevated line in 1922, as well as an elevated spur along Delaware Avenue, connecting riders to ferry terminals at Market and South streets.


At first blush the Benjamin Franklin Bridge looks like it does today, but look closer and you quickly notice that it’s still being constructed. The bridge wouldn’t open until the following year. Here we see the bridge abutment along Race Street as it is being built, and the block between 2nd and Front has been cleared to make way for the bridge’s eventual path.

Click to enlarge the photo and get lost in the past for a while.

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This image is part of the Free Library’s Print and Picture Collection, and is used by PlanPhilly/Eyes on the Street with the express permission of Aerial Viewpoint, which owns these aerial images. For reproductions contact Aerial Viewpoint.

To learn more background about these aerial photographs, head over here.

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