2340 Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Philadelphia
UPDATE: On June 14, 2013, the Philadelphia Historical Commission added the Dox Thrash House to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, protecting it from inappropriate alterations and unnecessary demolition. CLICK HERE to view the nomination, which was submitted by the Preservation Alliance in October 2012.
In November 2012, a nearby Dox Thrash mural was mistakenly destroyed by HUD contractors.
Significance: Dox Thrash (1893-1965) was an innovative printmaker and key figure in Philadelphia’s vibrant African American art scene in the early and middle twentieth century. A native of Georgia and a veteran of World War I, he lived and worked in North Philadelphia for most of his career, regularly documenting the bustling street life in the city’s bourgeoning African American working-class neighborhoods. He lived at 2340 Cecil B. Moore (then Columbia Avenue) from 1945 until 1958. In 2001, his work was featured in a Philadelphia Museum of Art retrospective, Dox Thrash: An African American Master Printmaker Rediscovered.
Threat: The Thrash House is now vacant and prone to the elements and vandalism. The artist’s long-time studio at 2409 Cecil B. Moore has already been lost, and a nearby mural is the only visible evidence of Thrash’s legacy as a champion of the arts in Philadelphia.
Recommendation: Standing next door to the Cecil B. Moore Branch of the Free Library, the Thrash House could be rehabilitated as an arts facility or community center to help rekindle the artist’s vision of a dynamic creative community in North Philadelphia, where he spent the last decades of his life mentoring young artists. The site is also an excellent candidate for a Pennsylvania Historical Marker and local register designation.
For More Information:
Learn more about Thrash’s life and work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s online exhibit Dox Thrash: Revealed.