Richard Allen Homes, Bounded by Poplar & Ninth Streets, Fairmount Avenue & Twelfth Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA
Significance: Richard Allen Homes, also known as the Poplar Project during its planning and early days, was the Philadelphia Housing Authority's (PHA) first low-rent housing project to combine slum clearance with the building of new homes. The PHA built Richard Allen Homes on the northern edge of Center City with loans made available by the Federal Government through the United States Housing Act of 1937. Completed in 1941 and named to honor the founder of Mother Bethel Church and black Methodism, the $7.4 million project transformed 26.7 acres of one of the city's most dilapidated neighborhoods of tenements and bandbox houses into a modern housing development organized around Bauhaus principles. As a group of buildings, the streamlined, utilitarian architecture that incorporated many of the values of European mdernism represents an important design type, namely, pre-1945 public housing. This type, which was not unique but rather reflective of the period and the genre, characteristically was driven by function and economy and to the greatest extent possible, by principles of housing reform and slum clearance. Because of Richard Allen Homes' role as governmentally planned public housing for low-income families rooted in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, it is significant in the areas of community planning and development, politics/government, and social history. The resource is also significant in the area of architecture for its representation of pre-1945 public housing projects as a distinct design type one that reflected the social aspirations of planners.
Survey number: HABS PA-6015