Monday, June 27, 2011

Minor Misadventure - Philadelphia's Victorian Rowhouses and their Shallow Closets

 Looking north up Broad Street at Mifflin Street (the nearest major intersection to my house) in 1936: from
Looking south down Broad Street at Mifflin Street in 1936: from

I moved into a house recently that, despite its flaws, is a really nice space. It has a great back patio that will become very nice shortly, once plants are planted and chairs and tables are procured. One of the most interesting things about this house, though, is that apparently it was a Section 8 house before being purchased by my landlord a few years ago, and basically, the main structure has not been changed since being built sometime around 1910-1920.

 Front room of a typical row house, like mine, in 1920: from Strickland Row

In most ways, this is perfect for me, as I am definitely an antiquophile (I am struggling as I don't think that is a real word), and this crazy old house is perfect for my collection of art deco wardrobes, brass lamps and strange wall art, but the clothes! Where are they supposed to go?

 Please witness that the closet is not deep enough for a standard hanger. What?

Are you telling me that in the olden days people had about 3 outfits and they hung these on hooks in these strange, tiny closets? Must have been: there is no other explanation for closets with no closet rods, only strangely-shaped metal hooks for hanging clothes. begs the question: it is now 2011 and the house was built about 90-100 years ago. What did people do in the 1960s? 70s? 80s? 90s? last year? It is mystifying that there has been so little renovation here that there is not even a standard closet.

Solutions that I have come up with so far: getting rid of a ton of old clothes. If I hadn't worn it, it is now on its way to the Philly AIDS thrift shop, where hopefully it will earn them some money. Second solution: free-standing antique wardrobes and rolling carts. Also, a small chest of drawers.

Anyway --- the adventures continue. I promise our next misadventure will be more interesting. Today I try the subway for the first time: on my way to the School District of Philadelphia to get my fingerprints taken!

1 comment:

  1. Neat to see Philly, minus the liberty bell and cheese steaks. I really haven't spent much time there other than as a historic tourist during a middle school trip.