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.
Jan 23, 2010
Mourning Liddonfield's Demise
by Rosemary Reeves
The demolition of Liddonfield Housing Project in Philadelphia has been put off so many times that Stacey McCarthy of The NEast Philly referred to it as “almost an urban myth,” but an article dated January 6, 2010 by Times staff writer Tom Waring quotes state Sen. Mike Stack as saying, “The money’s there. It’s coming down.” Most of the Liddonfield units are now empty in preparation for its demise.
As a former resident of Liddonfield, I cannot help but feel a sense of loss. As a child, I rode my scooter along Magargee Street. There, friends called my name. In the heat of summer we ran under sprinklers and did cartwheels on the grass. Our innocence shielded us from the fact that the world was divided into rich and poor. We thought we were ordinary. We were not.
As public housing residents, the mainstream society perceived us as outsiders. Even the government segregated us from the rest of the population, concentrating the poor in a confined area. We became synonymous with the project we lived in, stigmatized by our address. Many viewed the housing project residents as a burden, but the burden was ours. Once we ventured into the surrounding community, we had to strive to be seen as individuals, to have equal standing, and to hold our heads up with pride.
Liddonfield has suffered much decay over the years and many will be happy to see it go. But I will be one of the mourners, for living there has shaped my perception of the world, of right and wrong, of justice and injustice. Liddonfield’s passing will be as monumental as its birth. Whether historians record it with the dignity it deserves remains to be seen.