Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Overview of the History of 103 Callowhill Street

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about The Hannah, one of the things I did back in July after we first looked at the theater was delve into the history of 103 Callowhill Street. I had never before faced the prospect of living on a property that even comes close to having a well-documented written history going back hundreds of years. I think at least part of my initial excitement was due to how much detailed historical information I could find, thanks to Philadelphia's excellent online property records and searchable databases of old newspapers. There is definitely something to be said for living in a city which, following European colonization*, has had a history of being populated by swarms of lawyers and journalists (a tradition which arguably continues to this day).

The Penn Charter

First, a touch of background from Wiki, for those of you unfamiliar with the basics of Pennsylvanian history:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A new addition to the family ... congratulations, it's a theater

A few times in the past couple of years, Matt and I have idly discussed the idea of one day owning a property with a space that we could turn into some kind of music studio. It would be nice to have somewhere that isn't a windowless and somewhat smelly and damp basement where we could practice and record. Maybe I could also use it as a teaching space for both music and acting. Maybe we'd even be able to have small performances of some kind there. Every now and then, we'd window shop empty lots and buildings on sale nearby, and we'd dream.

In early July of last year, a house a block away from us went on the market, and out of curiosity, we took a look inside. It belonged to a sculptor (who incidentally worked with H.R. Giger - that's him on the far left in the group photo), and included a sizable artist workspace which might have worked for our purposes. But the price was much too high, especially for our area (over $600,000!), and the living space was too small, so we didn't pursue it.

I put the entire matter out of my mind, thinking we weren't ready to buy anything right now anyway. This was something to think about in the coming two or three years after extensive window shopping and research. But Matt liked to procrastinate bedtime by continuing to casually browse real estate listings on Zillow.

Only a week or so later, at 1:30AM on July the 16th to be precise, while I was busy wasting time on Facebook, I heard an urgent shout from Matt's office. "Mel! Mel, come here! Look at this! What ... what is this?"