Marshall Street Pushcarts Mural

Marshall Street pushcarts mural. Image provided by Historical Society of Pennsylvania

on the left of the 900 block, looking south

The mural depicts the lively atmosphere once generated by Marshall Street's "pushcartnicks." Immigrants of all backgrounds and creeds shopped at this open-air market. Although in violation of the city's "Blue Laws," prohibiting commerce on the Christian Sabbath, the authorities looked the other way as Marshall Street merchants and shoppers conducted a bustling business on Sunday mornings. In Voices from Marshall Street, Elaine Krasnow Ellison and Elaine Mark Jaffe write, "…Sunday morning was one of the busiest times. Shoppers packed the bakeries for bagels, salt sticks, pastries … Somehow no city official bothered the storekeepers…By 2 o'clock, when traffic died down, store owners would turn off the lights" (50). Most residents shopped daily, sometimes two and three times a day, for fresh meat and produce. This constant, lively street activity kept the neighborhood safe and vital until the early 1960s.