I was walking down Sansom Street in Philadelphia, looking for Capogiro Gelato, and this tile caught my eye. Then I turned further toward the courtyard beyond the tiles, and there in an oasis of peace within the buzz of Philly was a statue of the Virgin Mary. I was intrigued by this building, with textured walls, with bricks standing proud every foot or so, and ram’s head gargoyles. The bronze plaque named the place “Kate’s Place,” and later I discovered it was affordable housing in the heart of Rittenhouse Square. If you’ve ever been to the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, you will know that there isn’t much that is affordable, and to have a building of such beauty renovated for this purpose is a wonderful thing.
Originally, it was Warburton House built in 1926 by Arthur Loomis Harmon, and run by the Emergency Aid of Philadelphia, and the latter’s name is carved in Gothic lettering. The Dominican Sisters of Elkins Park bought it in 1952 and turned it into a refuge for single women who needed a place to live. When they could no longer keep it running, they approached Project H.O.M.E. about taking it over. Kramer + Marks Architects led the renovation, and completed it in 2004.
As I walked on, the very next thing was Capogiro Gelato, which is actually part of the Kate’s Place building. Later, Stratoz and I stopped in for some delicious pineapple mint and orange cardamom gelato, and he took photos of the courtyard, and of course of the gelato: