East Falls Historic District Approved
The Historical Commission devoted two hours of its meeting to the nomination to allow adequate time for residents to express their views about the districts. Many property owners from W. Queen Lane appeared to express opposition to the district and to ask that their block be deleted from the proposed district. Property owners from Midvale Avenue and W. Penn Street also testified, with most but not all in favor of the district. The Preservation Alliance supported the designation of the district, with testimony from executive director John Andrew Gallery. After hearing all testimony the Commission approved the district by a vote of 7 to 2.
At its meeting on October 8, 2009, the Philadelphia Historical Commission approved the Tudor East Falls Historic District and placed the 210 properties in the district on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. The district encompasses a three-block area of East Falls that includes the 3400 blocks of Midvale Avenue, W. Penn Street and W. Queen Lane.
The approval of the East Falls District brings the number of residential neighborhood designated as historic districts to eight (including Diamond Street, Society Hill, Rittenhouse/ Fitler, Girard Estates, Spring Garden, Old City, Greenbelt Knoll). The Commission expects to consider the nomination of the Parkside neighborhood in West Philadelphia as a historic district in December 2009.
The three blocks of Midvale Avenue, W. Penn Street and W. Queen Lane were developed from 1925 to 1931 by developer Michael J. McCrudden. All 210 houses are designed in a Tudor Revival style, of which the ones along Midvale Avenue are probably the best known and most elaborate. Their distinctive design, front yards and other features attracted new residents to East Falls and contributed to the transformation of the neighborhood from an industrial village to a commuter suburb. As stated by Jon Farnham, executive director of the Historical Commission, the continuity of architectural character and the architectural style makes these three blocks unique in the neighborhood, and perhaps in the city.