A linens and handkerchiefs business, owned by "an energetic and enterprising man of business", with two traveling salesmen operated on Strawberry Alley.
So did "the widely-known house of Thompson, Foust & Co., manufacturers' agents and commission merchants for the sale of hosiery, small wares, cardigan jackets, etc., which is one of the oldest and most prominent concerns of the kind in Philadelphia".
(screenshots from an archive.org digitization of "Historical and commercial Philadelphia handsomely illustrated : with supplement of the World's Columbian Exposition")
A 1974 Walking Tours book says "Before arriving at the corner of 2nd Street, it would be wise to stop and wander for a moment down two small streets to the right - Bank and Strawberry Streets... Both little streets have old loft buildings, typical of the 19th century, and they retain the character of another age. Strawberry Street is an amalgam." (< my favorite part!) "There are old warehouses, a rather posh art gallery - the Brooks Goldberger, and number 37 has been restored in an interesting manner." (What was 37 doing?! It couldn't have been this.)
My artist neighbor Geoff said the other day that all the businesses that come and go over the decades on this street tend to be very specific. Like boat sails or barstools. His family has lived in 32 Strawberry since the generation before him. Look at his art gallery in the bottom floor!
I think they lived there when my mom worked on this street.
Mom first brought me here when she was visiting last summer and we were running around visiting all the old places she used to roam in her teens. We saw the statues and gardens at her school campus and walked through the apartment complex where she had a pet duck named Hector that swam in the pool. And we drove over to Strawberry Street on a Sunday morning (the best!) and had a look around to see if she could pinpoint which building she used to make hotel keys in a laminating factory in. We still havent quite figured it out.
A few months later, I'm living on Strawberry street. Every day I go in and out of the same little Philadelphia street my 17-year old mom walked in and out of before me. What makes it even more special is, this whole neighborhood is about history and thinkers and art. Generations of stories of the people who lived on Strawberry Street, the businesses that opened and closed their doors here, and let's not forget the country that was founded by the people who hung out right gadd*ng here, and me and my mom are a little teeny tiny blip blop of it. How cool is that.
Strawberry Alley. 24" x 36" oil on canvas