Prospective townhouse site once home to North Pennsylvania Railroad Freight Depot

The Old City site where Developer David Perlman plans to build a townhouse development was once home to the North Pennsylvania Railroad.

Perlman told city planners last week about his plans for a 38-unit townhouse development with a green roof, outdoor space for each unit, and a mix of surface-lot and garage parking at 412 N. Front Street in Old City.  Old City Civic Board Member Richard Strange asked the commission whether archaeology might be in order, because the site was an old railroad property, and the earth had been largely undisturbed.

Local historian Harry Kyriakodis, author of Philadelphia’s Lost Waterfront, sent PlanPhilly this image. “It looks like the North PA RR was once at that exact site (before the Reading RR leased or bought the line),” Kyriakodis said in an email.  Kyriakodis points out Willow Street at the extreme right of the image, where the railroad tracks join Front Street.

The North Pennsylvania Railroad was chartered in 1852. The station relocated from Front and Willow streets to Germantown Avenue and Thompson Street in 1864.

At last week’s meeting, Deputy Mayor and Planning Commission Chairman Alan Greenberger said there was nothing about the site that would legally require archaeological work, but he suggested residents get any relevant information to the city historical commission for their input.

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