Blighted East Falls house, once the cause of protest, now being torn down

A deteriorating house in East Falls that sparked a protest last year — and many years of neighbors' discontent — is finally, if slowly, being razed by its owner.

The house at 3342 Conrad Street has been vacant for decades, according to area residents.

"The neighborhood wanted to see the house restored, repaired, or torn down," said Bill Epstein, vice president of the East Falls Community Council. "So this is what we wanted to see. It was a blight, and it was getting to the point that it was dangerous. We're very pleased to see it come down."

As the walls crumbled at the derelict property, the site became a place for teenagers behaving badly to hang out, Epstein said. Building violations piled up for litter, a broken downspout, broken windows, a partially collapsed roof, and overgrown trees, vines and weeds.

Shortly after the demolition permit was posted on a recently erected chain-link fence and the work began at the site, Epstein met a neighbor who said she had acquired three cats to keep the fleeing mice away.

The permit issued March 6 and updated March 16 calls for the complete demolition of the three-story structure.

The process will be slow because of the proximity to other homes and buildings on the block. "The demolition team there said it has to be taken down carefully, not with a wrecking ball," Epstein said. "Right now it's being done by guys with sledgehammers."

Road trip

Epstein was among a group of East Falls residents who traveled last November to Plymouth Meeting to stage a protest at the home of Harry Scott, the owner of the blighted house in East Falls. They distributed flyers along the street and waited for Scott to come home.

Whitemarsh Township police mediated the meeting between Scott and the East Falls residents. Scott told them he didn't know how badly the property had deteriorated and that he would begin the process of taking the house down and clearing the lot.

Scott did not return calls for comment for this story.

Epstein said the owner has mentioned plans to rebuild houses on the site, in keeping with the current zoning for the property.

Full story here

About the author

Alan Jaffe, Contributor

Alan Jaffe has been a contributing writer for PlanPhilly since 2008, focusing on overlooked buidlings and historic preservation issues. He was a writer and editor in the newspaper industry for nearly 30 years, including eight at the Philadelphia Inquirer and nine at the South Jersey Courier-Post. He is currently the director of communications for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is also an antiques writer and collector and the author of “J. Chein & Co.: A Collector’s Guide to an American Toymaker.”

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