When they met, SeanÂ had been restoring his thenÂ nationally designated historic Victorian rowhouse in the Parkside neighborhoodÂ for aboutÂ seven years.Â IsabelleÂ had been living Â in her 1920’s rowhome on the edge of Morris Park in OverbrookÂ Farms for about five years.Â Â SheÂ hadÂ initially fallen inÂ love with that property, in partÂ because of its beingÂ soÂ close toÂ the park, aÂ slice of nature within the city.
Now engaged toÂ be married, Sean and Isabelle keep sharingÂ their passion for rebuilding and restoring the city of Philadelphia,Â that has become their home for almost two decades.
To this day,Â theyÂ are stillÂ restoring their homes on a shoe string,Â saving trashed objects from oblivion andÂ bringing them back to lifeÂ in their wallpapered dwellings.Â They haveÂ transformed a vacant lot that Sean had purchased the year before they met, from aÂ blighted, trashedÂ spaceÂ into a vegetable garden -Â and every summer they share their tomatoes with the neighbors and the nearby firestation.Â They have been saving homes slated from demolition around Parkside, and have also fought to keep their local Overbrook library open – the Carnegie Library of Haddington,Â that the City of Philadelphia was trying to shut down during theÂ harsh economic times of Winter ’08.
Sean and Isabelle’s continuous efforts have contributedÂ to the success of these two at-riskÂ West PhiladelphiaÂ neighborhoods.Â In 2010, the Parkside neighborhood has become Locally designated of historical significance and Sean’s house was honored with a Philadelphia Historical Commission Plaque;Â for the neighborhood, it means that the homes cannot be altered in an inappropriate manner, contributing to the quality and integrity of this important area of the city; and Isabelle’sÂ OverbrookÂ Farms cottageÂ has been part of the Overbrook Farms Club House TourÂ in 2009 and 2010, promoting rowhome quality of life in the city.Â And the Haddington Library is still open.
It could only be a natural progression for Sean and Isabelle to work together on restoring Morris Park, focusing on the area by Morris Park Road, where their cottage rowhome is located.
Their concept is that if you are so fortunate as to live right next to the park, you should be a steward of that park, as humble as your action may be – picking up after your dog, removing trash, or just taking a walk in the park, and making it a safer and friendlier place.
Please let us know if you have similar stories to share, of bringing your city,Â park, community or neighborhoodÂ back to life.