Walking the Eraserhood: Broad and Callowhill Streets

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“Walking the Eraserhood” represents an ongoing street-level exploration of the Callowhill district and surrounding environs, a sort of virtual walking tour of the neighborhood.

The architecture on this corner masks the trench known as the Reading Viaduct City Branch, the remains of a former freight rail line that delivered goods to the neighborhood until the early nineties. To the northwest stands the majestic white tower of the 1889 James Elverson Building, the former home of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, also known at the time as Philadelphia Newspapers Incorporated (PNI). Originally trains traveling directly under this building delivered boxcars filled with rolls of newsprint for producing newspapers. This practice continued into the early nineties, when PNI moved their printing plant to a newer facility in Conshohocken. (Currently Elverson is owned by developer Tower Investments. Potential uses include a casino, a hotel, or apartments, depending on approvals.) Rails originally continued under Broad Street Bridge, here, and into the basement of the William Steele & Sons designed Terminal Commerce Building on the northeast corner. Terminal Commerce used to house the headquarters of the Reading Railroad. It was so large and busy that, to this day, it occupies its own 5-digit Zip Code. Currently it houses Sunguard, a computer server co-location service.

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