What is the cost of progress?
It’s the question that just about every municipal and civil official has to ask themself at some point. By keeping our feet firmly planted in the here-and-now are we sacrificing our history?
History. That’s a word that means something in Philadelphia. Without it, the City of Brotherly Love would be just another city. And that risk is becoming more and more of a reality every day.
The Church of the Assumption, designated a historical site, only to be abandoned after a nonprofit failed to do anything with it, will in all likelihood soon be torn down. The Callowhill skyline will lose the Church’s majestic spires, trading them for… a parking lot.
The same plight faces the Cramp’s Shipyard building in Fishtown, one of the last testaments to Philadelphia’s industrial might as a naval supplier during WWII. Today, a shell of its former self, the empty building is doomed to disappear, making way for a reconfiguration of the Girard Avenue interchange for I-95.
Both Cramp’s and the Church of the Assumption, beyond their individual purposes, act as architectural representatives for this city. In some way they carry a piece of it within their very foundations. Are we to simply throw that piece of the past away over a few traffic concerns?
While it is important to focus on the needs of today, we can’t forget that the present is ephemeral and will soon be a part of history, that unwavering beacon lighting our way.
Read about it in the Inquirer