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Prospect Park Borough


Prospect Park Borough municipal offices are located at 720 Maryland Avenue, Prospect Park, PA 19076; phone: 610-532-1007.

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Prospect Park [1] is in close proximity to a number of other communities that developed as primarily residential commuter suburbs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as Ridley Park, Norwood, and Glenolden. Although these areas were originally planned as discrete communities, subsequent development has made the residential areas nearly contiguous.

The main north-south corridor through the study area is Lincoln Avenue, Route 420, which connects to a number of other major routes including Route 291, Route 13 (Chester Pike), MacDade Boulevard, and Baltimore Pike. The study area is about a mile from the nearest entrance to Interstate-95 and less than 2 miles from the Delaware River. It is less than 5 miles from the Philadelphia International Airport.

Prospect Park was once a portion of Ridley Township, and through the first half of the nineteenth century the area that would become the borough had a few roads and a handful of farmsteads. There were also a few small crossroads developments, including one near what would become Chester Pike and Lincoln Avenue. This rural character began to change in 1872, when a rail line was laid between Philadelphia and Chester by the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railway Company. James L. Moore, an English immigrant and businessman in Philadelphia, owned a large piece of land through which the rail line ran, and granted the railroad right of way as well as a piece of land for a station, which was named Moore's Station. Railroad access made the area a convenient location for suburban housing and an attractive market for speculative real estate development. In 1874, a developer named John Cochran purchased and subdivided a large tract of land west of Lincoln Avenue (then known as Moore Avenue) between the railroad and Chester Pike to the south. In the late 1880s, James Moore's heirs subdivided their land east of Lincoln Avenue near Moore's Station and began selling off lots. The piecemeal nature of Prospect Park's early subdivision is evidenced today in the way cross streets are offset on either side of Lincoln Avenue.

The town incorporated in 1894 as residential development continued. A few buildings in the study area remain from the period preceding the borough's incorporation to the turn of the twentieth century, including the Masonic Hall (1889) and Prospect Hill Baptist Church (1895), as well as 1110 Lincoln Avenue (pre 1892) and 1111 Lincoln Avenue (circa 1890). As the community flourished in the first half of the twentieth century, additional development built up along Lincoln Avenue. Other landmark buildings from the early part of the twentieth century include St. James Episcopal Church (1910) and the current Prospect Park Moore Station (1911), which replaced an earlier building. A firehouse was built on the corner of 10th Avenue and Lincoln Avenue in 1908 (it was later replaced by a modern building in 1963 on the same site). By the 1930s, Lincoln Avenue's character as a commercial corridor was solidifying through the increasing development of mixed- use buildings, built to the front property line, with commercial on the ground floor and offices or apartments above. Notable, intact examples of mixed-use development from this period include 1013-1015 Lincoln Avenue as well as the rows at 1008-1016 Lincoln Avenue and 1036-1038 Lincoln Avenue.

By about 1960, the majority of the structures in the study area had been constructed and/or remodeled. The character of Lincoln Avenue was now solidly commercial, but with some residential still remaining from the residential development boom in the first part of the twentieth century. Many former residences had been converted into commercial structures through the addition of one-story storefronts that extended to the property line. Some buildings in the study area were demolished for parking.

In the years since 1960, new commercial development in the area has taken on a very different character from earlier development. Properties such as 1020 Lincoln Avenue (Traub's Bakery), 913-921 Lincoln Avenue (Brittany Square) and 817 Lincoln Avenue (Wawa), are low (generally one story), set back from the property line, with multiple curb cuts from the street, and parking in front.

  1. Adapted from: Delaware County Planning Department, Downtown Prospect Park Vision Plan, July, 2018, www.co.delaware.pa.us, accessed Novembre, 2018.

**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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