Plate 12: High Street, from Ninth Street
View in 2000
Tradition has it that the horsemen in the view are a detachment of the Philadelphia Light Horse, known as the First City Troop. The Troop was organized in 1774 to (1959 photograph) defend the city from possible attack and is the oldest continuously active mounted military unit in the United States. Today its duties are principally ceremonial. In the distance are the market sheds between Fourth and Front Streets.
In 1960, the hub of Philadelphia department store business was at Eighth and Market Streets where Gimbel Brothers, Straw- bridge & Clothier and Lit Brothers .were located. The other major stores on Market Street were Snellenbergs at Eleventh and John Wanamaker, the city's first, at Thirteenth. Only Straw- bridges survives, but no longer in family hands. Lord & Taylor now occupies the ground and lower floors of the former Wanamaker store. Lit Brothers closed in 1977. Its cast iron facade seen (BG-L 1960) was restored in 1988 and the interior configured for an office and retail complex called "Mellon Independence." In 1977, the center of retail business shifted to the "Gallery" which opened on the north side of Market between Eighth and Tenth Streets, with its main entrance at Ninth. "Gallery Two," between Tenth and Eleventh, was added in 1983, and the complex today has 150 stores, 52 carts and three restaurants. Gimbel Brothers, one of the original tenants, closed during the 1980s. Market Street East and West are being served by the "Center City commuter connection tunnel" which links rail lines from the north and west (completed in the early 1980s). Throughout the twentieth century the Mummers' Annual New Year's Day Parade route went up South Broad Street. The Millennium route was changed to Market Street East where in the 2000 photograph one of the nineteen marching string bands is seen performing at Ninth Street. Dawn Staley, a Women's National Basketball Association star, appears in the advertising mural (BG-C)