VIADUCTgreene » Awareness of History, Baldwin, by Paul vanMeter, Frank Furness, Franklin Gowen, Genius, New York, Philly, Railroad, Reading Viaduct, Spring Garden » Spring Garden

our last chapter was the ‘Royal Blue’ side of VIADUCTgreene.  this one’s Green.  or greene.  Spring Green.  Spring Garden Green and Green Street green.

June.1832 (!). the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad (PG&N) began rail passenger service between this colonial building at 9th and Green Streets in Philadelphia and Germantown. the cars were pulled by horses. the rails were from the UK, 30 pounds per yard and mounted on stones.

November.1832. Philly ex-jeweler, Matthias W. Baldwin, finished work on “Old Ironsides,” his first born; found it too big to go through the exit of his tiny shop. Vowing he was through with locomotives, he cut a hole in the wall. But “Old Ironsides” surprised him — hit 28 miles an hour on the six-mile Philadelphia-Germantown run. That was fast enough to earn immortality as a locomotive pioneer.  For Old Ironsides, the end came “in 1857 when a Vermont landslide mummified it.”  For the builder, and his city, lasting fortune came in the form of the mighty Baldwin Locomotive Works…

12.1850. PG&N management authorized the construction of a new depot and, in summer of 1851, opened the grand $38,000 station, “a model of architectural skill, combining the practical with the ornamental”…. Nice!

12.1870. the Philadelphia & Reading signed a 999 year lease on the PG&N. By 1878, the mighty P&R, under the leadership of Franklin Gowen, began planning to consolidate its three main Philly depots at 9th & Green. They retained master builder and VIADUCTgreene hero, Frank Heyling Furness, to design a cool new pad. Furness’ plans added six tracks, a new train shed and one classy, ugly-sexy brick head house…. Nice!

By 1880, the the meglomaniacal Gowen had taken on the mighty PRR with a westward expansion scheme called the South Pennsylvania Railroad, lost a million P&R dollars in Brazilian railroad project, and generally assed up the business. By 1886, superbanker and superprick, J.P. Morgan had had enough of F.G.’s shenanigans and sent him packing. Blargh!

But the railroad sure looked cool!  Nice!

Replacing F.G. was Morgan’s tool, Austin Corbin, a friggn’ New Yorker! By 1890, Corbin resigned, but in the meantime he and P&R V.P. and General Manager, the super mustachioed Archibald Angus McLeod, had cooked up the deal to build the grand Reading Terminal- – -with a New York Architect Francis Kimball.  Blargh!

In 1888, the Kimball-designed Corbin Building was reported to be the tallest building in New York City.

1893.January. Princely Reading Terminal opens and the 9th & Green Station becomes a freight station. The 9th Street Branch, south of Greene St. is elevated and a ramp extending north from Green St, past Wallace St to Fairmount brings the railroad down to street level. At the south-east corner of 9th & Green, P&R builds an elevated frame station that extends to Spring Garden Street. The new stop is called Spring Garden…

looking south toward Reading Terminal.from the GS Engine Terminal.

After the turn of the century, P&R begins planning elevating the rest of the 9th Street Branch. In 1909 Henry Hitner’s Son, wreckers & Dismantlers demolishes their old 9th & Green depot, and the elevation project is well underway….

The P&R builds an extensive locomotive servicing station and coaling tower.  In Autumn of 1910 and winter of 1911, Cramp & Company constructs a new steel and brick office building and station…


and so, they remain….


They Remain…

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