Category Archives: Neighborhood History

Parkside Resident on Teaching Mission In Myanmar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the last six months, one of the jewels of Parkside has been teaching in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Mrs. Allison Hatchett Stringfield was born and raised on North 42nd Street.  She attended Leidy Elementary, Beeber Middle School and Overbrook High School. She is a graduate of Cheyney University. Mrs. Stringfield taught in the Philadelphia School System for over twenty years in a number of capacities. She is a Language Arts Specialist and has provided education to many of the young people who still reside in Parkside.

Mrs. Stringfield is on a two-year teaching assignment at the International School of Myanmar. The official name of Myanmar is the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and also known as Burma. It is a sovereign state located in Southeast Asia and shares borders with Bangladesh. Along with her husband, Robert Stringfield, a retired fire fighter, Mrs. Stringfield is enjoying this experience. She did not have to learn Burmese as the students in this school speak English and are preparing to come to the United States to attend college.

Mr. and Mrs. Stringfield hope that their experience will inspire others to reach beyond our borders for opportunities to broaden their horizons.

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Smith Memorial Playground’s Black History Month Exhibit Celebrates 120-Year History of Racially Integrated Play

In celebration of Black History Month, families are invited to Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse at 3500 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121 on Saturday, February 23 from 10am-12pm for “120 Years of Integrated Play” presented by Ballard Spahr LLP, a free exhibition of historic photographs and artifacts that highlight Smith’s commitment to the African American community and integrated play spaces since 1899. Visitors will also enjoy special craft activities and a story collection room where families can share their memories of playing at Smith.

Even during the Jim Crow Era of segregation in public schools and facilities, Smith remained a racially integrated play space and operated additional locations that served large African American and immigrant populations. Smith has been an important part of many Philadelphia families’ lives for generations and continues to serve a diverse population, welcoming children from every zip code in Philadelphia and beyond for free family visits as well as a wide range of on-site programming, events, and community programs.

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse is a non-profit organization located in Philadelphia’s East Fairmount Park. Founded in 1899, Smith welcomes visitors from more than 500 zip code areas including every zip code in Philadelphia. The mission of Smith is to provide and promote opportunities for unstructured free play for children and it contributes to the development of healthy children, strong families, and safe communities by: 1) maintaining a proud tradition of free family admission; 2) partnering with community-based organizations to reach a diverse audience; and 3) advocating for the importance of play. For more information about Smith please visit http://www.smithplayground.org. 

Contact: Zoe Lowry

215.765.4325 x101 (O)
610.609.1590 (M)

zoe@smithplayground.org

 

2019 SUBARU CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL OF GREATER PHILADELPHIA Saturday, April 6 through Sunday, April 14, 2019

Presented by The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA (January 29, 2019) — The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival returns to Philadelphia in April to mark the start of spring. Presented by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP), the annual festival begins on Saturday, April 6, 2019 and ends on Sunday, April 14, 2019. It will feature family friendly events highlighting Japanese culture throughout the region. Attendees will experience traditional performances, music, and arts, learn how to make sushi and matcha tea from experts, and take part in the colorful contemporary cultures of cosplay and anime.

Sakura Sunday marks the exciting conclusion of the festival and transforms Fairmount Park’s Horticultural Center into the region’s largest Japanese cultural experience. This day-long outdoor event on Sunday, April 14, 2019 is a celebration of all things Japanese. It features a Sake Garden presented by Parks on Tap, Japanese food, live music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, crafts, the Little Akiba anime & cosplay area, access to Shofuso, Fairmount Park’s Japanese house and garden, and activities for all ages. For more information, visit subarucherryblossom.org.

Festival events begin on Saturday, April 6, 2019 with extended hours at Shofuso. The 17th century style house and garden will be open until 7:00 p.m. daily during the Festival, granting visitors plenty of opportunities to tour the house, visit the garden, and view the world class collection of koi. Attendees can also enjoy a drink at the Sake Garden, a pop-up beer and sake cocktail garden presented by Parks On Tap located just outside Shofuso’s walls on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7 and from Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14.

In University City, the University of Pennsylvania will present a free public screening of Hirozaku Koreeda’s 2011 film I Wish on Wednesday, April 10. Internationally acclaimed taiko artist Kaoru Watanabe will bring a “musical dialogue” performance to the festival on Friday, April 12 at the International House Philadelphia. Sushi making classes led by Madame Saito, Philadelphia’s Queen of Sushi, will be held throughout the week at Tokio HeadHouse, culminating in an amateur sushi making contest on Thursday, April 11.  For seasoned athletes and casual walkers and runners alike, the Cherry Blossom 10K/5K returns to Fairmount Park on Saturday, April 13 with courses that offer great views of Shofuso, Memorial Hall, and MLK Drive. A complete listing of events is available online at japanphilly.org/phillysakura or call 267-237-3550 for more information.

The Cherry Blossom Festival takes its name and central inspiration from the fleeting beauty of the sakura, the Japanese name for cherry blossoms. The first blossoming cherry trees in Fairmount Park were planted in 1926 as a gift to the City of Philadelphia from Japan. Cherry blossoms are gorgeous pink and white flowers, a must-see natural wonder calling everyone outdoors to welcome spring, and an annual inspiration to artists and photographers. The events of the Festival celebrate Philadelphia’s rich cultural connections with the art, music, food, natural beauty, and industry of Japan.

The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia is a project of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) with support from Subaru of America, Inc as its title sponsor. JASGP inspires mutual curiosity, understanding, and respect between Japan and Philadelphia, and the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival builds on this mission by fostering the Japanese tradition of blossom-viewing and planting and maintaining cherry trees. JASGP has planted more than 1,000 cherry trees, supplementing the 1,600 flowering trees presented by the Japanese government as a gesture of friendship in 1926. Digital photos and additional information on cherry tree viewing, cherry blossom traditions in Japan, and the work of the JASGP are available at subarucherryblossom.org. Follow @phillysakura on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Eastern State Penitentiary Kicks Off Holiday Season with Toy Drive Benefiting Children with Incarcerated Parents

Eastern State Penitentiary celebrates this holiday season with a toy drive benefiting local children whose parents are incarcerated. From November 30 through December 21, anyone who donates a new, unwrapped toy or children’s book at the historic site will be granted “Buy One, Get One Free” tour admission. One in 28 American children has a parent behind bars. In Pennsylvania alone, there are approximately 81,096 children with a parent incarcerated in a Pennsylvania state prison. How can we come together as a community to support families experiencing incarceration during the holidays?

Eastern State Penitentiary partners with Institute for Community Justice, Why Not Prosper, the Center for Returning Citizens, and Ardella’s House to collect gifts for local children with incarcerated parents. From November 30 through December 21, any Eastern State visitor who donates a new toy or children’s book, in its original packaging (but please no gift wrap), will be granted a second admission free of charge.

Visitors may drop off donations even if they are not planning to take a tour. Items can also be purchased online and shipped directly to the penitentiary:

ATTN: Toy Drive

Eastern State Penitentiary

2027 Fairmount Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19130

 

New Innovations Happening At The Please Touch Museum

The Please Touch Museum is the keeper of many
Philadelphia treasures and one of them dates back more
than 100 years. Its the model of the 1876 Centennial
Exposition that was held here in Philadelphia in the
summer of that year. The model which is an amazing
representation of the event is 20 by 30 feet with
buildings, lakes, fountains trees, and even an old style
monorail. It is a great representation of what was once
here.

The staff at Please Touch now have a plan to reimage the
1876 model for children of today in their permanent
gallery centennial innovations. This will be a multimedia
interactive where children can become immersed in the
centennial. model. Using state of the art digital means
students can fly through the model and visit the
fairgrounds. After all the prototyping is done students
will be meet the people and see the sights and inventions
that were first introduced to the world here in
Philadelphia.

Visitors will also get the opportunity to learn how to
develop a healthy community using similar multimedia
devices. Exhibit scheduled to open in late 2019

A Vision of Inspiration

by Jasmine Bullock

London based artist Richard Wilson has taken a simple desire to paint a beloved actor (Will Smith) and created a vivid symbol of inspiration for students to see every day. Recently, his dream became a reality due largely to the support of the Mural Arts program. (Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program and is dedicated to the belief that art ignites positive change.

It seeks to transform public spaces and individual lives). This program enabled Wilson to share his love for art and his appreciation for Philadelphia native Will Smith by creating a representation of the actor on the wall of a warehouse adjacent to the Global Leadership Academy (GLA) Charter School (located at 46th Street and Girard Avenue).

When Richard Wilson began work on the Will Smith mural, school was still in session. Student excitement was evident. For example, rising 5th grader Destin Phillips described watching the muralist work as inspirational. He expressed his interest in the entertainment industry; being able to see a successful entertainer on the walls near his school has made his goal to be an actor seem more realistic.

Parents and guardians of students were also thrilled with knowing that a representation of a Philadelphia legend would grace the property where their young scholars come to be nurtured. Student grandmother and former educator Lynette Jenkins knows that the Will Smith mural will help GLA scholars and other area students to understand that although the children like them are from the inner city and attend public schools, they are still capable of finding individual success. Ms. Jenkins is also hopeful that the mural will inspire classroom conversations about the correlation between hard work and success and interest in stories about the success of other Philadelphia natives, not only in the entertainment industry but also in other career paths. The mural serves as an inspiration to not only the students of GLA but also the immediate neighborhood. To date, there are a total of 10 murals in the area and the number is continually growing. From Ed Bradley on Belmont avenue to Reading a Journey on Pennsgrove Street, color and beauty surround Parkside streets. With the recent addition of the Parkside Edge, the residents of the Parkside community have the opportunity to explore and enjoy both the arts in the neighborhood and the natural beauty of the park.

While inspiring the youth of GLA, the Will Smith mural joins a growing set of murals in Parkside helping to beautify the neighborhood and encourage the growth of arts in the community. The many artistic inspirations include:

  1. Wall of Rugs: The Global language of Textiles (4398, US 30)
  2. History of Parkside, Leidy School (4850 Parkside Avenue)
  3. Black Family Reunion (4850Parkside Avenue)
  4. Will Smith (4545 W. Girard Avenue)
  5. Reading a Journey (3969 Pennsgrove Avenue)
  6. On the Block (3956 Pennsgrove Street)
  7. Animal Kaleidoscope (123 W. Girard Avenue)
  8. In Nature Nothing Exists Alone (Zoological Drive)

Heritage Alive: The Reinvention of Parkside’s Historic Places

– by Melissa Stevens (World Heritage Coordinator, Global Philadelphia Association)

What do you picture when you think of “Philadelphia heritage”? Or the Founding Fathers crafting the Constitution? How about children building rocket ships and having tea parties with the Mad Hatter? Philadelphia became a World Heritage City in 2015 in large part because of our historic achievements and our rich array of historic sites. But recognizing the illustrious history of Philadelphia is only half the story.

We are a World Heritage City because of who we are today and how we have taken what we inherited from past generations – the places, ideas, values, and culture – and made it our own. Heritage is alive. And so are our historic places. Many of these relics and reminders of our past can be found right here in Parkside today. Parkside’s Memorial Hall is a wonderful example of living heritage and the reinvention of a historic site.

Memorial Hall was built as the art gallery for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, which was the first major World’s Fair in the United States. After the Exhibition, Memorial Hall was reinvented several times: as the first home of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the University of the Arts, as a recording studio for the Philadelphia Orchestra, and as a recreation center.

Today, this National Historic Landmark is home to the Please Touch Museum, where children, rockets, and the Mad Hatter have become part of Philadelphia’s World Heritage story.

Not Far from Memorial Hall is another reminder of Philadelphia”s rich and varied heritage. Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is another Parkside historic site that has undergone several transformations.

Originally, the site was home to a 14th century gate from a Japanese Buddhist temple brought to the US for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. After a fire destroyed the gate, the Shofuso House was installed in its place in 1957.

The house was originally built in Japan in 1953, using traditional materials and techniques, for an exhibition on Japanese influences on mid-century modern American architecture. Today, the historic site and museum hosts over 30,000 visitors annually.

Historic Belmont Mansion is another example of how Parkside is constantly reinventing itself.

Built in the 18th century as the residence of an English lawyer and farmer, today it is an underground railroad museum, highlighting the history and culture of African Americans, who make up the majority of Parkside’s current population. Parkside’s historic places are living heritage sites, where the neighborhood’s past generations left their mark, and where current residents go to connect with their roots and imagine their futures.