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 I gained access to a trove of historical documents and manuscripts in physical and digital form.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.
How cool is this?!
I continued following EVERY single lead.
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.
I promise to share more about Rayner Raynor. His story is now part of our story…