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New Book Captures Ben Franklin Parkway's Iconic Past

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Our Welcome America activities today will end with a concert and fireworks on the beautiful Benjamin Franklin Parkway. A Philadelphia author's book, to be released next week, provides a history of the road in pictures.

The book, The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, by Harry Kyriakodis, relies heavily on old postcards for illustrations of what was at first called the "Fairmount Park Parkway."

Kyriakodis says, in 1900, Philadelphia leaders wanted something grand, stretching out northwest of City Hall, and the neighborhood didn't stand a chance:

"This was like any other part of the town, the way it originally looked, with houses and factories and workshops and all of them were more or less taken down for the Parkway. At the time though, it was on its way down, and so there wasn't that much controversy on removing all those houses."

Even today, work goes on to try to make it more of a pedestrian thoroughfare.

"When this Parkway was planned, people didn't think about automobiles the way they that think of them today," Kyriakodis says. "They weren't as prevalent as they are today. The Parkway was the fastest way to get into downtown so it seems to have become that the Parkway has become more of an expressway with pedestrians running across all the time."

Kyriakodis has two other Philadelphia books, Northern Liberties: The Story of a Philadelphia River Ward, and Philadelphia's Lost Waterfront.

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