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January 9, 1952: Philadelphia A.I.A. Letter to the Evening Bulletin (excerpt)

Ernest Howard Yardley, A.I.A. for the Philadelphia Chapter, American Institute of Architects to the editor of the Evening Bulletin, January 9, 1952

The demolition of the various structures between Market and Chestnut Streets for the Mall northward from the Independence Hall group, is assuming such aspect that we can begin to appreciate our historic shrine from a more pleasing angle. However, it is unfortunate that the demolition is proceeding with no regard on the part of the Director of the Project, for the several other important buildings within the area which were of decided prominence during our early history. Particular tradition is attached to what was originally known as 190 High Street, but known in our own time as 526-28-30 Market Street, where President George Washington resided from 1790 to 1797 and our second President, John Adams, from 1797 to 1800, during the time when Philadelphia was the temporary capital of the United States....

The writer is making no attempt to argue for the duplication of any of these historic buildings, but as the location of each has been authenticated, and in some cases the foundations are known to still exist, the adopted plan of the area should be made to include full size markings, at the finished grade level, to indicate the locations and extent of the original structures.

The attitude of the Commonwealth has been to ignore these venerable places and clear the site of all foundations by the use of bull dozers. This was called to the attention of the State Official in charge, and from whom the direction of the work emanates, his reply, now on record, was that the appropriation would not permit of such careful and meticulous excavation as would be required under the suggestion advanced [that an archaeological study be made]. Therefore, it is not desirable to institute the necessary measures to interrupt the work....

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