And now, it’s time for another exciting installment of ‘places where Philadelphians used to be buried.’ Today, we explore the parking lot and primary structure inhabiting the space between 5th and 6th Streets on the south side of Washington Avenue. According to Find A Grave, this parking lot began operation as an ‘association’ cemetery in 1841, selling plots to the low-income residents of the Southwark area for $10 a pop. Two decades later, with the onset of hostilities, the cemetery would become a final(ish) resting place for local Civil War veterans. As shown below in the image taken from Samuel L. Smedley’s 1862 Philadelphia Atlas, it was renamed the Union Burial Ground, alternately known as Sixth Street Union.
The carnage of the war would make the next decade the most active in the cemetery’s history. Below, an image taken from G.M. Hopkins 1875 Philadelphia…
The site of the Palumbo Recreation Center is the first example of what will be a recurring theme for the Delorean Time Machine: places where Philadelphians used to be buried. Today, Palumbo’s sprawling fields, baseball diamond, playground and basketball courts occupy the full block between Bainbridge, Fitzwater and 9th, and 10th Streets.
However, as these images taken from the Works Progress Administration’s 1942 and 1962 Land Use Maps show, this grass lot was once hallowed ground. According to an article by Joseph T. Reichwein, originally culled from the Philadelphia Bulletin (probably around 1950), Ronaldson Cemetery was established in the park’s current location back in 1827.
A change by 1962
According to Find a Grave, type-foundry owner James Ronaldson pioneered…