Edward Corner Marine

Photo credit: Peter Woodall

Photo credit: Peter Woodall

Edward Corner Marine
1100-1102 N. Delaware Avenue
Built: 1921
Threat: Development

For those who have ever wondered, the answer is yes, Fishtown is more than a cute name. The moniker was probably adopted in the mid-19th century; however, the coastal area comprising Fishtown, Kensington and Port Richmond long served as a site of subsistence and commercial fishing, primarily of American shad. Although the local fishing industry was almost gone by the time the Edward Corner Marine Merchandize Warehouse was built in 1921, the utilitarian three-story building on the corner of Delaware and Shackamaxon is one of the last physical reminders of when Fishtown relied on the waterfront for much of its livelihood.

Current owner CORE Realty initially planned to restore the building it purchased for $3.9 million in 2008; however, the company now wants to tear it down and replace it with a 12-story building with ground-floor retail. The Fishtown Neighbors Association rejected the proposal in April, largely due to concerns about the impact of increased density on the supply of parking. The group’s decision will most likely delay the project; however, whether it will derail plans to demolish Edward Corner remains to be seen.

Beyond these planning concerns, however, the building warrants protection for the way in which its hand-painted “ghost signs” provide tangible evidence of Fishtown’s waterfront roots. The primary façade fronting Delaware Avenue still hawks “Rope,” “Canvas,” “Anchors” and “Chain” and bears the name of its former proprietor. In a growing post-industrial city, not all warehouse buildings can be retained. Yet many are ideal candidates for adaptive reuse, and Edward Corner is surely one of them.

 

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