Test yourself on Mr. Grossbach’s neighborhood

Check off how many of these cool spots west of campus you know. We got the list from long-time neighborhood denizen Barry Grossbach, executive vice president of the Spruce HIll Community Association. See if you’re an Official West Phillyphile or maybe just a U. City Newbie.

Woodlands Cemetery, Woodland Avenue and 40th Street, resting spot of artist Thomas Eakins and Penn Dental School founder Thomas Evans. Ornate Victorian markers and a mansion that is one of the architectural masterpieces of the 18th century mark the spot.

Clark Park, 43rd Street and Chester Avenue, the home of the only existing statue of author Charles Dickens in the world, has playgrounds, a bowl for concerts (the Philadelphia Orchestra played there this summer), organized youth soccer, and pick-up volleyball, basketball and chess.

The Marvin Samson Center for the History of Pharmacy, 600 S. 43rd St., at the University of the Sciences, displays in Victorian museum cases old pharmacy artifacts like patent medicines. An exhibit on alternative medicine is now on display.

Live jazz every second Friday of the month at Calvary Methodist Church, 48th Street and Baltimore Avenue. Don’t miss the Tiffany windows. Tickets and info: Ed Fell, 215-724-1702, ext. 5.

The Firehouse, 50th and Baltimore, an indoor farmers’ market in a 19th-century firehouse.

The Restaurant School, newly accredited as Walnut Hill College, 42nd and Walnut streets, has a pastry shop and restaurant in a revamped Italianate mansion. Like the firehouse, an example of adaptive reuse.

The Rotunda, 40th and Walnut streets, once a Christian Science church, remains an architectural gem as well as a venue for hip-hop music.

The University City Arts League, 4226 Spruce, has classes for young and old in subjects from tango to acting to drawing. A first-floor gallery shows local artists.

The Gables at 46th and Chester, the row houses of St. Mark’s Square (between Walnut and Locust, 43rd and 42nd streets) and of Spruce Street between 42nd and St. Mark’s streets are a few of the highlights of “probably the largest collection of intact Victorian architecture in any section of any city in the country,” said Grossbach.
If you know 9 of the 9 places above, you’re an Official West Phillyphile; 6 to 8, you’re a True West Expert; 4 to 5, you’re a
Double-U Philly Dabbler; and 3 or less, you’re a U. City Newbie. Walk west, look and see.

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Originally published on October 25, 2001