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Jul 7, 2008
A Historical Coincidence
There's something odd about this photograph, it's from the cover page of the Old Allentown Preservation Association website*. A few day's ago when I suggested association members should have been careful of what they wished for in regard to Cannon's Bar, my observation was received with righteous indignation. One center city blogger may well have deleted a link to this blog because of it. Another prominent member, insisting he has no political agenda, suggested I may be unwittingly driving them towards the mayor with my accusations. Old Allentown exists of over twenty five square blocks. Out of this large area, only one side of three blocks contain porch houses, those houses built with porches. I refer to the unit block of both 11th and 12th Streets, and the 300 block of 9th St. Most of the remaining townhouses had a porch added in the 1920's. Years ago I interacted with the Historical Board when I learned those porches must be removed to receive a facade grant. Built of concrete, usually with a curved overhang shingle roof with curved wooden brackets, I felt they added to the architecture. They also provided a buffer zone between the homeowner and the realities of sidewalk life. The historical purists felt differently, and according to their website over 80 such porches have been removed thus far. It is strange that the Association would choose for their cover photograph one of the few porch houses rows in Allentown, certainly not representative of the district. Stranger still, they picture two the few porch houses which had their porch's altered. The house in the foreground is completely bastardized. The porch was enclosed by brick probably in the 50's. For many years the property was a clock store. The next house also has the porch enclosed with glass panels. This treatment, meant for the winter months. is not uncommon with porch houses further west of the district, but again does not represent the Associations' historical standards. It must be a coincidence, that the house with the glass panels is where Mayor Pawlowski lives, because the Association certainly wouldn't be that political.