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 I gained access to a trove of historical documents and manuscripts in physical and digital form.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.


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


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…


2 thoughts on “A Little Bit of History

  1. I cant imagine how cool it is to learn the story you now belong to. Can’t wait to find out what happened to Raynor.


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