A Little Bit of History

In Philly, every home has some sort of story.

I started doing research on the garage property immediately after we saw it. I knew the current owner was a woodworker and a cabinet-maker. He used the first floor as a workshop.

I started with Google. Before the workshop, the space was used as a studio for an American painter named Diane Burko. I’m a painter. I’m thrilled to learn the previous two owners are artists and makers.

More searching. I found maps and directories through The Athenaeum of Philadelphia (I became a supporting member of this 200-year-old gem). I gained access to a trove of historical documents and manuscripts in physical and digital form.  I’ve spent hours and hours, looking and looking.

Findings:

Around 1840, the East Passyunk area appears as Fisher Estate (there is clearly a story here already).

1849

Mountain Street was originally known as Lewis Street. I found a Philadelphia Directory from 1859 showing street name changes.

1859 Lewis changes to Mountain

I eventually saw the property show up on survey maps around 1862.1862 Atlas of the City of Philadelphia

How cool is this?!

On a map from 1942, you can see the property is partially marked as a “club”. I just heard a rumor it was a boxing training club (started down that rabbit hole last night).clip_image002

I continued following EVERY single lead.

I found something significant. A clue came up with the address of the garage and a name! It was from a plumbing trade journal published in 1909. An occupant. His name was Rayner Raynor. clip_image004

I found property deeds starting around November 17, 1903 with his name. Now i need to find the books which store the deeds.R Raynor 1903 phillyhistoricalindex

I surmised Rayner was a plumber from the accolades in the 1909 publication.  I discovered the Boyd’s Business Directory from 1900. Turns out his family offered Plumbing and Stable/Boarding services to the East Passyunk community.  I’m betting the property was initially the workshop for the family business.1900 Boyd's Business Directory

I promise to share more about Rayner Raynor. His story is now part of our story…

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