I grew up in Overbrook Farms in a house built in 1896. We were the second family to live in that house. The owner's name is on that old map. I remember meeting the owner of the house before we moved in. What an honor and a delight to live there and actually meet the original owner.
Overbrook Farms Then and Now
5921 Overbrook Ave
Here we are inhabitants of Overbrook Farms in 2007, adding yet more layers to the history of our culture. Can you add layers to the map of old Overbrook that will make the topography more current?
Here's a grid of the streets of Overbrook today (SEPTA):
Jeff Cohen guided us as we researched the evolution of Philadelphia since 1681. That was enlightening enough to inspire me to explore the evolution of a specific suburb-Overbrook Farms. The crux of my interest settled in on how similar the realestate developers' pitch 100 years ago was to that of todays. Settlers came to Philadelphia over 300 years ago and they've been spreading out to the suburbs ever since, and the "brochure" rhetoric used to lure folks out of the city then isn't a whole lot different from now for example:
Overbrook Farms: The Suburb deLuxe 1896
This community offers lofty country surroundings 200-250 feet above city level. With such features you will be afforded the luxury of enjoying cool summers, purer more healthful air, reliable drainage systems and clean pure water supplies unlike that of the schuylkil. Another benefit of the country-like setting is daily delivery of fresh farm products. Still want easy access to Broad Street? Don't despair, seventy -seven trains travel from Overbrook Farms to Broad Street Station daily.
Plan of Overbrook Farms Mueller Atlas,1896
(Lower Marion Historical Society)
Now compare the verbiage of 1890's (above) to that of today. Try reading about new construction in the suburbs of Philadelphia today at the following urls:
What were the major selling points for Overbrook Farms in the 1890's? What are the common selling points of todays developers found at the three url's above? Based on the information provided how has realestate advertisement changed how has it remained the same? What can you infer about the needs of the target population of potential home buyers then and now?
Narrative is determined not by a desire to narrate but by a desire to exchange. (Roland Barthes, S/Z)