So, welcome back to our two parter on South Street. By the 1950s, South Street was mainly a garment district, with stores for men's suits and other clothing, while the more western areas around South Street served as a cultural and commercial center for South Philadelphia's African American community. Real estate values plummeted after city planner Edmund Bacon and others proposed the Crosstown Expressway connecting the Schuylkill Expressway and I-95 that would have required the complete demolition of South Street and Bainbridge Street. The fight to stop construction went on for decades. Fear of the highway and mounting racial tensions caused an exodus of businesses and families from the area. This sent property value plummeting and the suddenly cheap real estate attracted artists and counterculture-types.
Well today we’re going to do the history of South Street, the bohemian, punk, alternative stretch of bars and shops that divides South Philly from the rest of civilization in Center City. But that wasn’t always the case, originally known as Cedar Street, it was the southernmost point of Philadelphia. It was the final frontier before settlers would find themselves treading through increasingly swampy wilderness. So today, in the first of a potential two parter, we’re going to take a look at the origins of South Street.
This week, with people starting to head to the jersey shore for summer vacation, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at the Jersey Devil (also known as the Leeds Devil). For almost 250 years Jerseyans have told tales of this mythical beast that stalks the Pine Barrens and terrorizes local residents. There has been an evolving folklore that surrounds the Jersey Devil and even if the monster isn’t real it’s inspired some real life hysteria. So today we’re going to take a closer look at the Jersey Devil and its Philadelphia Origins.
ECW was a Philadelphia born wrestling league unlike any other that came before it. Extreme Championship Wrestling was rough and tough, they were local guys who invented the gory, modern wrestling that WWE utilize now. Listen in as we talk about Sandman, Terry Funk, Blue Meanie, and more; legends of South Philly's most famous squared circle on Ritner and Swanson. This very special episode of Legends of Philadelphia is hosted by our engineer Bryan Bierman (he's an expert on wrestling). Settle in for a sweaty, violent, history of Philly's most profound professional wresting league.