Item No: pdcf00436
Title: Ridgway Branch
Additional Title: Dedicated entrance to the Ridgway Branch, ca. 1944
Historic Street Address:
901 S. Broad Street
Print and Picture Collection
The Ridgway Library, donated in 1878, was originally an annex to the Library Company of Philadelphia (a non-circulating independent library, founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin). During WWII, the Ridgway Library became the sole home of the LCP.
In 1944, due to financial and personnel shortages, the LCP invited the Free Library to open a branch there, resulting in the addition of professional staff and a modest circulating collection. This ca. 1944 view shows the dedicated entrance to the Free Library section inside the Ridgway building.
What began as a three-year experiment became a mutually-beneficial 12-year relationship, until the LCP was able to resume its own stewardship in 1955. The building served several purposes in later years, and since 1997, the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts has occupied the building.
From 1944-1955, the Ridgway Branch served the Bella Vista section of South Philadelphia.