1956 Trolley Replica Marks SEPTA Station on Penn Campus; Public Unveiling Will Be Saturday

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | juliemcw@pobox.upenn.edu | 215-898-1422October 26, 2006

WHAT:  A replica of a Peter Witt-designed, 1956 Philadelphia subway/surface car or trolley, a University of Pennsylvania alumni gift that now marks the entrance to the SEPTA station at 37th and Spruce streets.

WHO:  The Penn Class of 1956 funded the project.

WHERE:  37th and Spruce streets, next to the Wistar Institute.

WHEN: 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 28.

DETAILS:  Philadelphia has one of the oldest streetcar systems in the nation, and for decades these trolleys were a dynamic part of the Penn experience.  The Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, a precursor to SEPTA, operated streetcars on Woodland Avenue through the heart of campus, directly to 30th Street Station.  Generations of Penn students have memories of trolleys crisscrossing the campus, steel wheels rattling along on their tracks, the ever-present bells clanging away.

In 1956, the tracks were submerged at the edge of campus to facilitate a comprehensive campus plan that created a core campus between 34th and 38th streets and Walnut and Spruce streets, uniting buildings and pathways and enhancing the pedestrian experience.   A landscape plan added trees, pathways, parks and opens space.  

This trolley symbolizes a time when many Penn students commuted to campus from around the region.