The Port Richmond of the early 1990s had working-class charm.
Neighbors traded Crock-Pot recipes. They knew every kid by name. They scrubbed their steps with bleach and prettied their stoops with marigolds and mums.
Then came the invasion of Robert N. Coyle Sr.
Coyle, a real-estate investor who already had a stronghold in neighboring Kensington, swept into Port Richmond with fistfuls of cash. One by one, Coyle bought homes, some as cheap as $7,000, until his housing empire ballooned to hundreds of properties.
“Just picture a shadow moving across the area like an army,” said state Rep. John Taylor, R-Philadelphia, who represents Port Richmond.