Foundry Street, Coatesville PA
George Howe, Louis I. Kahn and Oskar Stonorov, 1940-1943
UPDATE: In March 2013, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission determined Carver Court to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Significance: Three giants of modern architecture in Philadelphia–George Howe, Louis I. Kahn, and Oskar Stonorov–collaborated on this Federal housing project built for African American defense workers and their families just outside Coatesville during World War II. A former race track was converted into a landscaped cul-de-sac encircling a common green space, lined with 100 units of one- and two-story International Style homes.
Threat: Carver Court remains a stable working-class African American community. It sits at the base of a steep wooded hillside where Caln Township recently approved the construction of a large solar farm. Construction of the farm will require widespread tree removal, alarming environmental groups and Carver Court residents to the risk of flooding and erosion impacting the neighborhood. The Brandywine Conservancy strongly opposes the location of the solar farm and the limited run-off catchment systems currently being proposed.
Recommendations: Though some of Carver Court’s original modernist design elements have been altered over time, the site retains significant integrity as a model Federal housing development and a rare collaboration between Howe, Kahn and Stonorov. Despite its architectural and social significance, Carver Court’s historic status has never officially been recognized by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and the current solar project has not been reviewed to determine its full impact on this potential historic resource. Adding Carver Court to the National Register of Historic Places would help draw attention to the site and could potentially trigger more stringent review of the solar project to ensure that the neighborhood is protected from adverse effects.