Essay by Mark Frazier Lloyd, in collaboration with Caleb C. Bradham, 2010
It was a prosperous Quaker tailor (and radical social reformer) who consolidated the land. Beginning in October 1771, Thomas Harrison made three purchases in less than six months. By April 1772 he had assembled a ninety-acre estate on the south side of "the road leading from Philadelphia to Haverford." Harrison improved the place by building a house and barn and by planting orchards.
The Pennsylvania Hospital, located at 8th and Spruce Streets in center city Philadelphia, was founded in 1751 by Dr. Thomas Bond, Benjamin Franklin and other civic-minded Philadelphians. They planned a hospital building in the shape of an "E," with east, center, and west wings.
In 1911 the Managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital appointed Owen Copp (1858-1933) Physician in Chief and Superintendent of the Hospital for the Insane. Dr. Copp was a native of New England, who graduated from Dartmouth College in 1881 and from Harvard Medical School in 1884.
In the interim, the City of Philadelphia, its Housing Authority, and its School District shared a vision for the land bounded by 44th Street on the east, 46th Street on the west, Market Street on the south, and Haverford Avenue on the north. They worked together to provide housing, recreation, health care, and education for the residents of West Philadelphia.