Fairhill Elementary, RIP 2013

Fairhill was the first school I visited that was not in a majority African American community, but in a Latino community.

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Painted over simple locks on the front doors.  As with many schools, you have to be buzzed in through a security system.  Schools are not open, inviting, neighborhood institutions like they were when I was a kid just 20 years ago.

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Leif cavorts with the kids at recess under a blooming tree.

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A vibrant mural wraps around the school, which has a fence on the first floor roof with an overhang to prevent breaking and entering.

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Kids at play on the large lot- no gardens or play structures here.

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Caddy corner to Fairhill lay the remnants of Northeast High School one of the oldest schools in Philadelphia, opened in 1903.  The High School was moved, and a new High School, the Edison High School was opened in its place in 1957.  The school was relocated in 2002, leaving the building abandoned until a fire destroyed it in 2011- making for some weird pictures of smoke pouring out through solid stone masonry.

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Signs for the ‘no drug zone’ in front of the Northeast High School… did the signs work?

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The comcast building peeps out from being the old Edison/Northeast High building.Image

Is Edison High  a harbinger of things to come for Fairhill?

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Ancillary education programs in ornate and abandoned buildings line the streets near Fairhill- like this ‘Asocicion de Musicos Latino Americanos.’  That their sign has been removed after many years of advertising is perhaps a broader message of disinvestment.

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