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.

FIGHT THE STIGMA!

FIGHT THE STIGMA!
Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

Apr 30, 2012

Public Housing Berlin Wall

by Rosemary Reeves


There was no public gathering, no televised speeches and no lit candles held up to the evening sky on this solemn occasion.  It was a quiet kind of collective mourning at the sweeping destruction of the place that held their memories.  Generations of people who once lived in Liddonfield Housing Project shared their grief amongst each other, out of the public eye and under the radar.  They took photos while the buildings fell, watched the walls of their childhood home crumble into broken pieces and dust under the powerful bulldozers driven by men who knew nothing of the lives lived inside those walls.

The empty field where Liddonfield once stood
Buildings that housed a unique community for more than half a century ended up in heaps of rubble, like so much garbage.  But behind the scenes, those convinced that the project had historic as well as personal value strived to preserve what they could.  When the demolition workers went home each day, former tenants of the housing project scrambled to salvage address plates, bricks from the fallen buildings and even pieces of Liddonfield sidewalk as if they were remnants of the Berlin wall.  They took the artifacts of metal and stone home to wherever they’re living now, treasured and preserved them. 

While the public remembered only its last two notorious decades where crime ran rampant within Liddonfield’s midst, former residents had longer memories.  There once were happy times and it was for those times they quietly grieved over broken pieces of stone.

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