In the late 1800s, the city of Philadelphia made a bold move that greatly transformed and influenced both mass transit and the cityscape when they allowed Pennsylvania Railroad to construct a massive rail viaduct in Center City. One of the largest transportation projects in the city, dubbed to citizens as the “Chinese Wall” due to its appearance and presence, had a dramatic effect on the city’s planning for years to come. Designed by the Wilson Brothers, the rail line stood next to Broad Street Station, which sat on the current site of Dilworth Park, and stretched out all the way to West Philadelphia. The structure saw busy rail service for decades, yet it ultimately met its fate in 1953 after it was demolished to make way for future development. Today YIMBY presents an exclusive massing mock-up of how the structure appeared on the cityscape in 1945.
In the late 1800’s, ten city blocks in Center City were converted into an elevated railroad spur that serviced multiple rail lines, connected to the Broad Street Station just to the west of City Hall, near the current space Dilworth Park. A massive train shed stood behind the station, rising multiple stories tall and prominent from many directions. Designed by the Wilson Brothers, the project was developed by the Pennsylvania Railroad and was completed on December 5, 1881. The centerpiece was a five-story Victorian Gothic headhouse facing City Hall.