Exhibit offers rare look inside Philadelphia rowhouse living

Andrew Kramer
June 08, 2019 - 8:42 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) - Walk into Cherry Street Pier along the Delaware Waterfront this month and bear right, you'll see what looks like a mini replica of rowhouse blocks that you would find while taking a stroll through Philadelphia.

There are actual stoops, and photos of the outside of rowhomes.

"The traditional Philadelphia rowhouse blocks are a real treasure," said Brian Phillips. "They're delicate."

Phillips is the curator of this new exhibit called "Rowhouse Workshop."

"'Rowhouse Workshop' is a project I wanted to dig a little deeper into the rowhouse block fabric of Philadelphia." he explained. "Really look at the creativity and innovation, social connections and history of rowhouse blocks."

Rowhouse Workshop
Andrew Kramer | KYW Newsradio

There are 400,000 rowhomes in Philadelphia on thousands of blocks. A small handful of those blocks were chosen for this exhibit.

"(We) were able to gain the trust of four blocks to share intimate stories and details of their lives and to be able to record it here at this exhibition," said Phillips.

You can read about the people who used to live there and live there now, watch videos of residents talking about what means a lot to them and even sit on the stoop and listen to a music playlist created by the residents.

Rowhouse Workshop
Andrew Kramer | KYW Newsradio

If you live on a rowhouse block in the city that isn't represented in this exhibit, walk on over to the MY BLOCK IS.... board.

"That's an opportunity for anybody that comes to Cherry Street Pier to write down a word or phrase and be able to be a part of the collective story of the city," said Phillips.

The four blocks in this exhibit are:

  • 900 N Orianna (Northern Liberties)
  • 4000 Cambridge (West Philly) 
  • 1900 S Jessup (South Philly) 
  • The S 13th Street block that does the Miracle on South 13th Street Christmas light display (South Philly)