Brownstones? We don't need no stinkin' brownstones!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
One Hundred Years
I grew up in the heart of Northern Jersey Suburbia.
The town of Randolph essentially didn't exist until the 1970s- it was all farmland before then- and even now is 95% residential subdivisions, spiraling off into the hills. Because of this, I am acutely aware of the abundance of old buildings in this city, ones that date back a hundred years or beyond. Old schools and churches that would be the centerpiece of an entire small town are found around nearly every corner, hidden away without fanfare. For proof, I have to look no further than literally out my front door, to the St. Anthony's Senior Center.
This multi-story monument is a great example of what can be accomplished using only brick. It's like the decorative Philly rowhomes of old, writ large. Sadly, it's hard to find much (any) information about the building- all I know is that it had at least one previous life, as a parochial school in the early 20th century. Even this I only know because it's actually part of the building.
A large and almost empty parking lot also points to a busier past, but for now, it is a quiet retirement community. Thankfully, the surrounding yard is immaculately maintained, and shows no signs of neglect, even though the buildings managers don't even see fit to mention the property on their web site. There are no pictures of St. Anthony's on Philly History. That's probably OK, as I can't imagine it looking much different- you'd have to look at tree sizes to see a difference. Still, the entire estate is in wonderful shape, and looks like it could easily last for another century.
As you read, enjoy a little music from our biggest Philly band, Dr. Dog:
EDIT: Check out the comments for some more great information. Apparently, the school was a part of the St. Anthony's Parish, which was located in what is now St. Matthew's Baptist Church.