The 500 block of South 45th Street is nestled right between Baltimore and Larchwood Avenues in the Spruce Hill neighborhood of West Philadelphia. A section of the city known for its strong record on preservation of historic architecture and tucked right around the corner from West Philadelphia’s gem, Clark Park, the initial appeal of this block is readily apparent.
Most of this neighborhood is dominated by West Philadelphia’s iconic Victorian twins, decked out in grand front porches, larger plots of land, and colorfully painted bay windows. The stretch of rowhomes covering the western side of this block of 45th street, however, are distinct in their smaller footprint and attached nature. These rowhomes are characterized by boxy, glassed-in sun rooms, each painted in it’s own vibrant color scheme.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the colorful, leafy, streetcar suburb now known as University City, which encompasses Spruce Hill, is how each home is adorned in its own unique color pattern, yet no semblance of clashing hues ensues.
This row of houses follows a consistent pattern from one end to the other of alternating sets of four. The first set consists of gabled roofs while the second set sports a sort of mock-mansard roof with a semi-circular panel in the middle. Each home has the aforementioned glassed in sun room, a third story tripartite window, and, in keeping with West Philadelphia architectural tradition, a front bay window, in this case on the second story.
This block is memorable not only for its unique and striking aesthetics, but also for its proximity to much of the burgeoning activity in University City, notably Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, the magnificent and expansive Clark Park, and countless restaurants and cafes. In fact, the block is bookended by dining options, with the lauded Marigold Kitchen on the north end and popular Milk & Honey Cafe to the south.
The mix of larger homes, lawns and porches, and ever more popular Clark Park with large universities, plenty of food and nightlife, and abundant shops and businesses presents residents with the best of both worlds – an active urban environment paired with spaciousness and greenery.
We love this block because it’s so one-of-a-kind in a neighborhood already bursting with character, and it is nestled right in the heart of so much that makes University City vibrant and distinctive.