Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.


Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

Dec 8, 2013


by Rosemary Reeves

Some who live in Upper Holmesburg would prefer I not have written true life stories about social class prejudice or racial tensions within the neighborhood.  As a former resident of Liddonfield housing project, this is my response.
With I strived to create a style of blogging where visitors experience the effect of walking into the story, as opposed to simply reading facts.  I knew a good writer could take them into another time and place.  I wanted to stir their emotions when they read the stories about Liddonfield and the northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg, to awaken their human compassion, outrage, anticipation, empathy or appreciation for their own fortunate lives.  At the same time, by reading the stories they would also learn about the impact of government on individuals in an average American neighborhood.  All of the stories are true and all of the people in them are real.    

Some who live in Upper Holmesburg would prefer I not write stories about social class prejudice or racial tensions within the neighborhood.  The far northeast region of Philadelphia, where it is located, has a family friendly image which those who live there  wish to maintain.  However, I would like to point out that every neighborhood in America has its share of prejudice and, in this, Upper Holmesburg is no different.  In addition, the stories about racial and social class prejudice took place when I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s, which was a time of great social upheaval.  

Another reason this blog fired some resistance is that homeowners who lived near Liddonfield feel it is they who have been victimized by the people in the project.  Since I had not lived in the area for years, I was compelled to investigate.  After researching the stunning developments in Liddonfield during the late 1980s, when the introduction of crack cocaine into the project led to a culture of shootings, murders and other violent crime, I decided to include the homeowners’ story in the blog.  I felt they deserved it because of all they had been through.  I also believe their story can be valuable to our political decision-makers, experts, intellectuals and university professors.  

I urge residents of the Far Northeast to re-visit Liddonfield’s history with the view that it offers a social and political chronology of key events in the area which reflect on American society as a whole and consequently, these events may be of potential interest to other Americans.

Philadelphia’s Far Northeast carries the nickname “Center City’s little brother” because it is quite a distance from downtown.  For years, it has been treated as less important than neighborhoods surrounding City Hall, which receive a larger chunk of the city’s budget and better city services. 

Though quiet and unassuming on the surface, Upper Holmesburg and nearby neighborhoods carry much more importance than appears at first glance.  The people living within the red brick row homes that dot its streets have lived through fascinating moments in history.  The power structure at City Hall should pause and listen when they speak.  These folks are tough-as-nails America.  They don’t fit in with the glamour and glitz of cocktail parties held in Philadelphia’s downtown elite locales.  They’re not Rittenhouse or Society Hill.  They are the people impacted by decisions made at those cocktail parties.  Their sleeves are rolled up from hard work, flags are waving in front of their houses and their pride is a thing to be reckoned with.

The events at Liddonfield housing project, which caused conflict within, may give “little brother” an unexpected advantage now that the project is demolished and it is all part of local history.  Liddonfield can be cited as an example of how political decisions steered the course of an entire neighborhood’s social, economic and environmental destiny, as well as that of the neighborhoods surrounding it.

As a writer and blogger, I was compelled to expose the cuts and bruises of the Far Northeast in order to portray the strength of character its finest inhabitants possess.  The residents of Upper Holmesburg should not fear any unflattering representation in my stories.  Sooner or later, the good guy appears and if it is not them, then it is someone they know.  

The story of Liddonfield reveals more about the heroes of Philadelphia’s Far Northeast than its villains.  One cannot exist without the other.  Heroes emerge out of conflict and strife.  They are not needed when all is well.  Chances are you will not find them at cocktail parties.  The American hero is the guy down the block and he is scarred from the fray.  He stumbles victorious toward house and home, for all of his valiant efforts were spurred by love of family.


Sep 15, 2013

Philly Politicians Who Shaped Liddonfield

Philadelphia politicians such as Mayor Ed Rendell, Mayor Wilson Goode, State Reps Mike Stack and Mike McGeehan and 6th District Councilwoman Joan Krajewski helped shape the history of Liddonfield housing project in the northeast section of the city and are featured in this video.  The impact of Liddonfield Homes Public Housing Development on the neighborhood population over the course of more than fifty years offers the perfect microcosm of public policy in action.  It also documents the effect of that public policy on the citizens of northeast Philadelphia and their attempts to have more control over their neighborhoods through political means, such as protests and public meetings with elected officials.


Liddonfield:  One Neighborhood's Struggle With Public Housing