There were market sheds in Second Street between Pine and Cedar (now South) as early as 1745. The shed in the background is between Lombard and South. Attached to it is a fire-engine house (head house) with a cupola containing an alarm bell. Before 1860 the engine house was torn down, but the shed survived until 1956. In the foreground is the shed between Pine and Lombard. A second fire-engine house, known as the "Head House," was built at the northern end of the shed (FG-M) about 1805.
The two photographs were taken from a point above South Street looking north. Birch's vantage point was at Pine Street looking south. Since 1960 the area which contained "New Market" has undergone restoration and development. In 1962-63 the shed seen in the 1960 photograph (MG-C) was rebuilt to replicate its 18th century predecessor, and the attached "Head House" was restored. In that same view the unrestored Head House is seen superimposed against the United States Customs House (at Second and Chestnut Streets.) In the 2000 photograph the Head House is superimposed against one of the three Society Hill Towers which blocks from view the Customs House, The Towers were designed by I. M. Pei, and built 1962-64. In warm weather the shed is used for a variety of festivals, fairs and shows. A complex of shops and restaurants called "New Market" was built in 1975 between Second and Front, Pine and Lombard Streets. It failed in the early 1980s The Abbott residential complex with retail space (MG-L) built in the block between Lombard and South, and Second and Third Streets was more successful. That development, which replaced the old Abbott ice cream plant, was completed in 1984.Back Next