Philly YIMBY’s recent site visit has confirmed the demolition of a vacant three-story prewar house at 101 East Collom Street in the Wister section of Germantown, Northwest Philadelphia. The freestanding structure sits on the west side of the block between Germantown Avenue and Wakefield Street, near the corner of East Collom and Wakefield streets. The demolition cost for the freestanding structure is $22,222, which includes cleaning and grading lots at 103 and 105 East Collom Street. Philadelphia Redevelopment is the listed owner and Pedro Palmer Construction Inc. is the contractor.
The structure sits isolated from its neighbors to either side. The former single-family dwelling appears to have been abandoned some time between 2008 and 2012. Over the years, lush greenery engulfed the once-bare structure, with shrubbery and vines creeping across the cracked red brick, boarded up doors and windows, and ornate wood posts with chipping paint at the covered porch. Sunlight shines through the cracks between the planks at the barn-like gambrel roof.
The building’s isolation, derelict state, overgrown vegetation, and vague overtones of Victorian architecture created a moody, and rather spooky, appearance.
Though Germantown has its share of haunted lore, the neighborhood is noted for its history and character even in a storied city such as Philadelphia. Though 101 East Collom Street appears forlorn, the site sits within a block of Germantown Avenue, the neighborhood’s primary commercial thoroughfare. The avenue still retains its cobblestone and historic trolley tracks, though today it is serviced by the 23 bus. Gilberet Stuart Park, a compact town square, sits a block to the south of the property, and historic Howell House, built in 1795 by William Forbes and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sits a block further to the west.
If one seeks isolation rather than urban bustle, they ought to head east to the densely forested Wister Woods Park, located within a 10-minute walk to the east, or to the nearby Wister Playground for playgrounds and athletic fields. The Wister station of the Chestnut Hill East Line sits a few blocks to the northeast of the property and La Salle University further northeast, located within a 15-minute walk, signaling bright development prospects even for a gloomy-looking property such as the one at hand.