"The projects was like its own little city": Gray's Ferry in the Mid-20th Century

Tasker Homes, 1958.jpg

The Tasker Street Homes Project in 1958. Image courtesy of The Free Library of Philadelphia Digital Collection.

Tammy Reeves talking about growing up in the projects

Charles Reeves talking about about growing up in the projects 

The Tasker Street Homes Project

The Tasker Street Homes Project was one of Philadelphia’s Housing Authority’s earliest public housing projects. The Tasker Homes consisted of 1,000 units in 125 buildings and a community center, occupying 40 areas southwest of 30th & Tasker Streets. The Tasker Homes were demolished in 2004 and replaced by what is now Grays Ferry Estates. 

Charles Reeves talking about his father's activism against Sunoco during the 1970's.

Racial Inequality in South Philadelphia in the 1970's

Charles Reeves shares stories of his father's civil rights activism during the 1970's in South Philadelphia, a period of racial inequality and the impact this has had on Reeves.


A fire at the PES refinery August 17, 1975.
Imagine courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tammy Reeves sharing her memories of growing up and attending school near the refinery and the stories she and her sister used to exchange about this site.

Melissa Toby describing her early memories of the refinery and its smell.

Charles Reeves discusses how he used to cross a bridge that led to the refinery when he was younger, which to him at the time was a way to escape the projects.

Early Memories of the Refinery

Nearby The Tasker Street Homes was the PES refinery. Residents shared their early memories of growing up in close proximity to the complex. 


John Frederick Lewis, Looking across the east bank of the river north of Gray’s Ferry Bridge, over a dump for filth and an open sewer, and then towards “Woodlands.”, 1924.

Tammy Reeves sharing her memories of going to the Schuylkill River with her brother during her childhood.

Charles Reeves sharing his memories of the Schuylkill River.

Early Memories of the Schuylkill River

The Schuylkill River provides Philadelphians and other communities it flows through with drinking water, recreational activities, aesthetic qualities, as well as economic and ecological benefits. The Schuylkill River however has a poor reputation due to concerns from water pollution and was even at one point known as the nation’s dirtiest river. Here residents share their early memories of going to part of the Schuylkill River in South Philadelphia.