We’ve mentioned the Forgotten Bottom neighborhood a couple of times in the past, but it’s not an area that often shows up on anybody’s radar. The little neighborhood, tucked between Grays Ferry Ave., I-76, and the Schuylkill River, is tricky to find and easy to miss. Along with a few hundred homes, the neighborhood features a newish baseball field, a rather large FedEx building, and the year-old entrance to the Dupont Crescent section of the Schuylkill River Trail.
What we don’t see a whole lot of in this neighborhood is residential development, particularly of the new construction variety. So you can imagine our surprise when we noticed three Forgotten Bottom properties, 3536-40 Wharton St., on the zoning docket.
Signs up, too
The same lots, looking
In Forgotten Bottom, a barely reachable corner of the city, a mysterious and impassible pedestrian bridge from ages past looms over the neighborhood. In the tiny enclave of rowhomes trapped between the Schuylkill River, Grays Ferry Bridge/Ave., and a massive freight train trench, lies a piece of Philadelphia from an earlier age.
In the (very) early 20th Century, when this neighborhood first developed, there were concerns about access to this tiny district. A highway overpass already existed at Wharton Street but the rest of the area was still relatively inaccessible from the east. It was decided in 1915 that a pedestrian bridge should be built that would connect Reed Street on either side of the B & O Railroad tracks. $12,500 was set aside to build the 8 foot wide, 174 foot long steel truss span ($204K in today’s dollars).…