The Uncanny Valley

Notes on art, culture and preservation

Demolishing two banks by neglect in Kensington

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banks_front_norris

Photo courtesy of Peter Woodall

Neighbors in Philadelphia’s Fishtown and Kensington neighborhoods know it as the PNB bank, which has sat vacant for 30 years at the corner of Front and Norris Streets. Actually, “it” is misleading: what appears to be one is in fact two banks, both with colorful histories: Ninth National Bank and the Industrial Title, Trust and Savings Company. And now, an unfortunate clash of interests is jeopardizing their existence: out with history, in with affordable housing.

Now up at Hidden City:

The history of both banks is tied to the days of Kensington’s reign as a leading textile manufacturing center: the era of carpets and apparel, of fabrics and dyes, which prompted one observer to liken the neighborhood to “a giant mill town set in the midst of a metropolis.” Like many of the mills, the banks have seen better days. And despite their inclusion in the [Kensington Textile National Historic District], salvation may have come too late.

The nonprofit Women’s Community Revitalization Project is proposing the development, known as the Nitza Tufino Townhomes, and the City appears to be lining up behind it….

And how much can a building (or buildings) deteriorate in 30 years? Check out the photos in the article, and brace yourself…

Conflict in Kensington as Neighbors Appeal Banks’ Demolition

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  1. […] I reported last week, the scheduling for the neighbors’ appeal of the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s decision […]


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