In Philly, stoop-sitting goes back to the old days

Philadelphians, historically, have been big stoop – or step – sitters.

We found proof of this in city and library archives, newspaper clippings and other places chronicling the lives and lounging habits of early Philadelphia.

But we're willing to bet the true jewels are buried in basements, closets, attics and scrapbooks in homes across the city.  Your homes, specifically.

>>STOOPS: A series about Philadelphia summers

So climb those attic stairs, dust off those albums, and for heaven's sake, call your mother!  Send us any photos you find of families or neighbors sitting outside, and we'll add them to this post.

You can email photos to reporter Tommy Rowan at TRowan@philly.com.

We'll keep adding photos to this thread throughout the summer, so feel free to send them in at any time – maybe after you've called your mother and your grandmother.

The collection:

1920s: From Jane Caldwell Adams: "It pictures my uncle, Wesley Caldwell, aunt, Ruth Caldwell, and my dad, Ralph Caldwell on the front step of the family house on Dauphin Street."

1950s: From Jane Caldwell Adams: "On the same steps with myself and my two sisters: L to R, Nancy Caldwell, Patricia Caldwell, and Jane Caldwell."

1991: From Danielle Zimmerman: "Cedar Street in Port Richmond. That's my Mom and I."

1941: From Barbara Magee: "Barbara Farrell and Grans (Lizzy Kelly) at 2810 Ellsworth St."

1958: From Sam DelBuono: "My grandfather Sam aka Mickey DelBuono with my father Michael, outside 11th and Ellesworth Str, it used to be a butcher shop."

1950s: From Steve Lee: "Have many very old, and some recent pictures sitting on the steps. When growing up in Kensington in the 1960s and later, everyone sat on the steps. No one had central air! And this is how we all got to know our neighbors back then. Pictures are older from North Philadelphia. Above is my Grandmom Margerum, with some of my older cousins, 2359 N 3rd St, thinking early 1950s or so, obviously all decked out for Easter."

1940s: From Steve Lee: "My Grandpop Margerum on the step, notice the Welcome Home, so I'm thinking this is right after World War Two when my Uncles came home from the war. Again on 2359 N 3rd Street. Love the cushion under him:)!"

1959: From David Amato: "Me on my front stoop in Juniata Park. I was out in Indianapolis for work and was just talkin about stoops to the locals. They had no clue. Central High, 233; Temple U '80; PCOM '84; Go Iggles!!!"

1969: From Donna Di Paolo: Silvio and Philomena stand out front of Pontarelli's, which was located at 518 West Pike Streeet. "My grandparents owned it as well as Venice bar across from Scioli's."

2010: From Mary Beth Malloy: Member of the Malloy family prepares for her First Holy Communion at their home on Lauriston Street in Roxborough.

2012: From Mary Beth Malloy: The Malloy family, at their home on Lauriston Street in Roxborough, before venturing out on Halloween night. 

1955: From Howard Westervelt: "I'm eating an ice cream and looking after my brother, Ed. This was taken on Green Street, but not sure of the exact address. Father got a job in Charleston, South Carolina, and we moved there in 1956. Boy, talk about 'culture shock' LOL. Grew up in Charleston, a beautiful town. Earned a four-year full football scholarship to Rutgers, 1968 - 1972. Graduated, found a job, married my college sweetheart, Annie. It will be 44 years together this Dec. 2. Job took me to Orlando, Florida, in January 1972. We moved to Boca Raton in November 1981 and have been here ever since. Two kids, two grandchildren. Life has been good! Still a passionate Philly pro sports fan."

1976: From Hamilton Ringgold: "Found this picture of myself and my sisters sitting on steps – Mt. Airy twin home."

1959: From Michael A. Moore: "Photo taken of my mother (Olive Moore) and me at 2 yrs of age, at our old house on 17th near Allegheny. Easter Sunday. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 88."

2008: From Jojy Varghese: "On my Society Hill stoop, reading The Inquirer." (Smart people!)

1970s: From Kathy Bianchini: "The subjects are my husband and brother 'hanging' on 7th & Reed, South Philly."

2009: From Sonja Jameson: "I'm not native to Philly, but after moving here seven years ago it quickly became my favorite pastime! I always invite my friends over to sit on my stoop at my Chinatown apartment and we always have the best time!"

1868: The building featured the inscription: "Edw. Thornton, wines and liquors." It was called the Great Ale Vaults, and occupied the basement of this handsome building at Front and Pine Streets. (Credit: John Moran/Free Library of Philadelphia)

1967: Krams Avenue and Baker Street in Manayunk. (Credit: City of Philadelphia, Department of Records)

2007: Juanita Bonilla relaxes amid her green oasis on the 3400 block of N. 3rd Street in North Philadelphia.  Her block was nominated as one of the city's cleanest. (Credit: Jordan M. Shayer / Philadelphia Daily News)

2015: Residents set up a TV on their stoop for crowds waiting to get through the gates to Pope Francis' Mass on the Parkway at the World Meeting of Families. (Credit: Laura McCrystal / Staff)

2008: From left, Isolina Horn, Licet Negron and her mother, Juana Negron (and Licet’s pooch, Snoopy) sit in front of a home in the Art Museum area. (Credit: Jessica Griffin / Philadelphia Daily News)

2005: Angel Baez (right) consoles Josue Carrasquillo as they view a memorial to Angel Vellon-Carrasquillo, who died in a fire. (Credit: Clem Murray / Inquirer Staff)

2005: In Roxborough, at Leverington and Mitchell Streets. (Credit: Bonnie Weller)

2015: Gerald Renfrow stands on the stoop of 6221 Osage, the West Philadelphia home of MOVE that was bombed by police in 1985. (Credit: Laurence Kesterson / Staff)

2007: Along East Allen Street, Jethro Heiko (left) and Chuck Valentine talk about fighting the casino to be built nearby. In background, Joanne Sherman talks with her daughter, Diane Clemens, while grandson Christopher Mulholland, 11, sits on the steps. (Credit: Clem Murray / Inquirer Staff)

2016: Ed and Loretta Rouda, with Torch, their miniature pinscher, on their porch on Bermuda Street in Frankford. (Credit: TOM GRALISH / Staff)

And make sure to follow along this summer as we tell stories from across the city at Philly.com/Stoops. Our stories will publish there every Thursday at 11 a.m., and appear in both the Inquirer and Daily News the following Monday. In between, we'll have more reader polls, and other opportunities to interact with our readers.

Continue Reading