October 26, 2012

View from the Inclined Plane, near Philadelphia

This circa 1840 print shows the view looking east down the inclined plane cut into Belmont Hill (Fairmount Park) for hauling railroad cars from the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia to Columbia on the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad. Two men watch the cars being hauled by cables from within the plane. The covered Columbia Railroad Bridge over the Schuylkill, completed in 1834, is visible in the background. In the foreground is a heavily wooded landscape, with the cityscape in the distance. The plane connecting the river with the rail line was part of a system of railroads and canals built across Pennsylvania in the early 19th century to help Philadelphia compete with New York and Baltimore, port cities that were developing new transportation links to the rapidly growing American Midwest. The plane was abandoned in 1850 when the railroad company built a new line. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris in 1832. He produced paintings and prints of Philadelphia and other American cities, including Cincinnati, Saint Louis, and Davenport, Iowa. His works are important historical records of these cities before the era of large-scale industrialization and rapid urban growth.

General View of Laurel Hill Cemetery

In the 1830s, a group of influential Philadelphians wanted to establish a rural cemetery that would be naturalistic, serene, and in genteel seclusion. They settled on Laurel Hill at 3822 Ridge Avenue, the former estate of merchant Joseph Sims, which had rocky bluffs and spectacular views and was about six kilometers from the city center. The cemetery was built in 1836–39 after the designs of Scottish-born architect and landscape designer John Notman. In the foreground, horse-drawn carriages approach the main gate (visible at left) of the cemetery, which contains tombs, monuments, and a Gothic-style chapel.Tombs, monuments, and a Gothic-style chapel line the landscape of the cemetery. The print also shows country residences on the hillsides rising in the background. The lithograph appeared as the frontispiece in the Guide to Laurel Hill Cemetery in 1847.

Friends' Alms-House

This print shows an exterior view of the front of the almshouse located on the south side of Walnut Street between 3rd and 4th Streets, Philadelphia. The building was constructed in 1745 by the Religious Society of Friends, the Protestant religious sect known as the Quakers, and it was taken down in 1841. It was intended to house destitute members of the Society of Friends and also sometimes admitted poverty-stricken people of other denominations. The print is by Thomas S. Sinclair (circa 1805–81), who was born in the Orkney Islands of Scotland and was active in Philadelphia by 1833, where he soon had his own business and was one of the first local printmakers to experiment with color lithography. In this print he may have been working from artwork by William L. Breton.

Alms House. Philadelphia

This 1840s print shows the Blockley Alms House in Philadelphia, as seen from the east bank of the Schuylkill River. It includes the Market Street Bridge, Beck’s shot tower (a city landmark since 1808) and, in the far distance, the Eastern State Penitentiary. William Strickland (1788–1854), a founder of Greek Revival architecture in the United States, designed the quadrangle of four large buildings that formed the almshouse. The original Philadelphia Alms House was constructed in the early 1730s and was the first multifunctional government-sponsored institution for the care of the poor in America. In addition to housing and feeding the poor, it offered an infirmary and hospital for the sick and the insane, a workhouse, and an orphanage. When the original almshouse became overcrowded, the authorities chose a sizable undeveloped parcel of land in Blockley, west of the city center, for the new structure, which was completed in 1833. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris in 1832. He produced paintings and prints of Philadelphia and other American cities, including Cincinnati, Saint Louis, and Davenport, Iowa. His works are important historical records of these cities before the era of large-scale industrialization and rapid urban growth.

Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind

This print is an exterior view of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, located at the corner of at Sassafras (now Race) and Schuylkill Third (20th) Streets in Philadelphia. The school was established in 1832 by Julius Reinhold Friedlander (1803–1839), a young German teacher of blind and visually impaired children, shortly after his arrival in the city. Within a year, the school had a constitution and board of managers. Several years later, it moved into this new building. The view shown here includes pedestrians strolling in the street and a watchman's guardhouse. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris in 1832. He produced paintings and prints of Philadelphia and other American cities, including Cincinnati, Saint Louis, and Davenport, Iowa. His works are important historical records of these cities before the era of large-scale industrialization and rapid urban growth.

Pennsylvania Hospital

This print shows an exterior view from the southeast of the Pennsylvania Hospital, located on Pine Street between 8th and 9th Streets in Philadelphia. The street scene in the foreground includes a carriage, a wagon, riders on horseback including a woman riding sidesaddle, pedestrians, and a watchman's guardhouse. Benjamin Franklin helped raise funds for the first Pennsylvania Hospital building, the east wing, which was designed by Samuel Rhoads and constructed in 1755 on a site that was then far from the smells and noise of the city center. Rhoads’ plans called for a central pavilion and west wing, but these were not built until after 1794, according to a design by David Evans, Jr. The central pavilion is set slightly forward and is a fine example of Federal architecture. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris in 1832. He produced paintings and prints of Philadelphia and other American cities, including Cincinnati, Saint Louis, and Davenport, Iowa. His works are important historical records of these cities before the era of large-scale industrialization and rapid urban growth.