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View from 20 Street
View down Webster Street
Woodland View
View from Catharine Street
Garden Meeting
Garden Vista
Fall Morning
Little Red Wagon
Gardener with Eggplant
Herb Garden
Red Rose

SOSNA Greenspace Initiative

The 20th and Catharine Community Garden and the 1900 Webster Woodland, 1989-2005

This Garden is Gone: Construction Has Begun
[construction photos, June 2005] [moving the plants, March/April 2005]

garden viewIn 1989, after a collapsing building trapped and almost killed a small child, the six lots at 801-811 South 20th Street were an ugly urban wilderness of rubble, trash, and weeds.

Neighbors, including Florence Embry, Warner Bell, Stephan the Barber, Melissa Howell and Sean O'Rourke, cleared the lots over a two year period and, with the assistance of Philadelphia Green, laid out a 7,000 square-foot garden combining 20 individual 8 ft x 8 ft plots with generous lawn and flower areas, flowering trees, and shrubs. At the same time, Mr. Bell reclaimed the large lot on the north side of the 1900 block of Webster Street, planting trees donated by the Fairmount Park Commission and creating a network of paths and raised beds.

gardenersThe garden and woodland were located in the heart of the South of South Community, where our Town Square would be if we had a Town Square. They wereacross the street from a public elementary school, a parochial school, and a senior center. They werethe oldest surviving community-maintained spaces in the neighborhood.

This garden has now vanished into history. In March 2005, one of the developers broke down portions of the fence and drove a truck into the garden to do soil testing in preparation for building. Friends of the garden relocated plants to a City-owned lot so that the tradition of community greening can continue in our neighborhood. Construction began June 20, 2005 when the site was cleared of vegetation.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the garden and woodland on these pages.



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