Madison Court

Madison Court, 1988. Image provided by Temple University Urban Archives

4th and Poplar Streets

This circa-1988 development was built on the site of the old Dolly Madison ice cream plant. Philadelphia was home to several ice cream factories, including Bassett's (still based here) and Breyer's. Local favorite Dolly Madison ice cream was named after the first lady, who glamorized ice cream by serving it at White House state dinners. The 32 row homes of Madison Court are an early example of converting a razed industrial site into new housing. The structures are composed of prefabricated modular parts that were later assembled into various configurations. The complex's variable floor plans, private courtyard setting, parking spaces and relatively affordable prices were intended to attract younger people to the then-ailing Northern Liberties. Today, residential development in Northern Liberties tends to take the form of the conversion of old warehouses and factories into lofts or condominiums or the renovation of original brick-face row homes.