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Click in any photo for a larger version of the series.

Two-Level City

By the 1930s the Pennsylvania Railroad was the dominant passenger train company in the mid Atlantic and it was headquartered in Philadelphia. When it built a new main station for the city, west of the Scuylkill River, it made it a showplace: neoclassical and grand in scale and technologically cutting-edge (it even had a landing strip on the roof).

The area around the station, which also included the main Post Office, was designed in an equally forward-looking manner, with a system of sub-level streets for the various support services and elevated streets that crossed the river.

When I began to know Philadelphia, in the mid 1980s, both the city and the railroad were on hard times, but their earlier aspirations were still visible in the magnificent infrastructure built fifty years earlier.

All photographs on this site unless otherwise noted are by Blaise Tobia and are © Blaise Tobia

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