In the 1860s, Broad Street formed the western edge of downtown Philadelphia and was little more than railroad tracks and train depots. However, with the building of Philadelphia City Hall in the 1870s, Broad Street rapidly developed into one of the city's premier streets. Rows of mansions sprung up south of Spruce Street, and the area north of Spruce became known as "hotel row." Four-story brownstones lined both sides of North Broad Street, interspersed with the mansions and gardens of the nouveau riche and punctuated by clubs, theaters, schools, churches, and synagogues. Philadelphia's Broad Street: South and North is the first photographic history devoted exclusively to Broad Street in its "gilded age." These vintage images provide a vivid reminder, if one is needed, of how dramatically the street has changed in the last one hundred years.
About the Author
Robert Morris Skaler, a forensic architect and architectural historian, has been collecting historic images of Broad Street for forty years. A past president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Victorian Society and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture, Skaler is also the author of West Philadelphia: University City to 52nd Street.