A miniature Spanish hacienda in the middle of Rittenhouse Square
Looking back from the vantage of 2018, it is hard to believe that Philadelphia officials once fought tooth and nail to build a parking garage on Rittenhouse Square. The legal battle took place in the early 2000s, when the large empty lot at Walnut and 19th was owned by the Philadelphia Parking Authority and the city believed any development was good development.
What put a stop to the wasteful and destructive project was the existence of a small, but exuberantly tiled, rowhouse at 1904 Sansom St. The house occupied a far corner of the development site and would have been torn down to make room for the garage. But because it was listed as a significant building on the city’s Historic Register, the Parking Authority was ultimately forced by the courts to abandon its dream of garage decks with park views.
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