Ronald McDonald house as perfect reuse, billboard rumble on Moyamensing, deepening the Delaware, Temple’s Philly civil rights archive

A 19th-century Romanesque mansion at 39th and Chestnut was reused as the Ronald McDonald House in 1981. PlanPhilly’s Alan Jaffe looks beyond the clown, and sees a perfect reuse. The grand house was designed by architect William H. Decker, and built in 1893 for William James Swain, editor of the Philadelphia Public Ledger. It is graced with carvings of children’s faces inside and out that are purportedly modeled on Swain’s children.

Sign controls are sure to be a hot topic this year as new zoning rules are developed for signs and the city contemplates selling ad opportunities on public property. Naked City reports that a billboard over Moyamensing Avenue is about to get bigger and brighter, and neighbors are not happy. The Zoning Board of Adjustment will rule on the proposed changes on Wednesday.

Could a deeper Delaware channel from the ocean to Philadelphia be on the horizon? Congress approved a spending plan that includes navigability improvements to rivers, and dredging the Delaware to deepen it to 45 could be in the offing, reports the Inquirer. “In the region, you have approximately 250,000 people out of work. So this is a big job issue – both direct and indirect jobs, short-term and long-term,” said Senator Bob Casey who has been working on securing federal funding for the dredging.

Temple University has created an online archive of Philadelphia’s civil rights history, NewsWorks reports. Civil Rights in a Northern City: Philadelphia hosts more than 1500 primary source documents and photographs from Temple’s collection.

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