Ned Wolf Park
Ned Wolf Park, at the south west corner of McCallum and W. Ellet Streets, is a pocket park that packs some punch. Since 2007, the Friends of Ned Wolf Park have organized to improve this City of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation site by adding amenities and richly planted gardens to serve the community. It has become known for these award-winning gardens, with plants mapped and listed on site, as well as the tranquil, mostly shady oasis they form. Weekend Tai Chi classes, annual Plant Sales, Garden Lectures, a clothesline Art Show are but some of the activities you’ll find here…..but most of all, Ned Wolf Park is a gracious outdoor salon to enjoy alone or to meet with family, friends, & neighbors. For more info, visit www.nedwolfpark.org
It was just announced that the Friends of Ned Wolf Park (“NWP,”SWC McCallum & Ellet Streets) have been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Fairmount Park Conservancy! [www.fairmountparkconservancy.org].
For some time, Friends of NWP volunteers have been fundraising for the Terrace Wall Project. This grant – plus your schist – could finally remove the rotting creote railroad ties surrounding the small plaza in the park (check out Sunday mornings with Tai Chi in this plaza.). Within a few weeks, Fran Hammond and his crew from Morning Dew Stonework of North Wales will begin building new retaining walls made of both new and reclaimed Wissahickon Schist. Even with this generous grant, there’s still a budget shortfall, but we’re hoping (we’re counting on) our Chestnut Hill and West Mt. Airy neighbors — in our Schist-laden community — to help close the gap.
Do you have some spare Schist lying about that you will donate to the cause? We can reduce project costs and shrink the purchase of newly quarried schist if our neighbors can donate stone that is suitable for the new walls. Specifically, Friends of NWP are hoping to receive (12″ or bigger) schist stones that are cool gray, still with some sparkle of Mica, and have been on top of the ground for a long while. With all this, you may be thinking, “picky, picky, picky.” Alas, it’s complicated…but please bear with us because we know you can do this!
Schist that has become warm gray or mossy green, and those buried in soil, may have become too soft or unstable for optimal use in new construction. So, please take a look around your property (but not your local park, please) to see if there are some “under-employed” stones that can be put to excellent use within Ned Wolf Park. Donated stones may be deposited in NWP on the gravel in front of the tool shed to the left of its doors. Unfortunately, only if you have a large quantity of suitable stones, can we arrange for a pick up. Contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (215) 248-5533.
PS…JUST IN: Richard Snowden, owner of Bowman Properties in Chestnut Hill, has generously offered to donate schist stones that came from his home basement! In making this fantastic gesture (a neighborhood-to-neighborhood helping hand), Richard mentioned that he often drives past Ned Wolf Park and thinks it’s so lovely. He added, “…it’s been al lot of fun watching this stone go to various uses in and around the NW. It’s really pleasing to see how much people love schist because it really is important to how we perceive these neighborhoods and their relationships to the Wissahickon Valley…”
COME ON, neighbors in WMA…let NWP have some of your SCHIST!!
A Gas Station Turned Into a Park
Back in 1972, Edwin “Ned” Wolf was president of West Mt. Airy Neighbors. Yvonne Haskins was the Director. Every day when she walked to work at Summit Church, she passed an abandoned gas station on the corner of Ellet and McCallum Streets. It was an unsightly little hut that she thought didn’t make sense being there. So, Haskins made calls to Atlantic Richfield (owner of the station) and the City Fairmount Park Commission to see if we could get a deal. Ned Wolf supported her effort and also made phone calls. That part of the long story made short: Atlantic Richfield agreed to remove the hut and storage tanks and transferred the land to the City for parkland. And by the way, both Ned and Yvonne were 30 somethings, enjoying this leadership role.
In 1969, Edwin (Ned) C. Wolf , a founder and the first Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (“PILCOP”), was well known as being on the front lines fighting against discrimination, inequality, and poverty. In 1979, a couple of years after Ned’s death at the young age of 37, the park was dedicated to him for both his groundbreaking legal work and his dedication to his community through his leadership of West Mt. Airy Neighbors. PILCOP posted the following statement on its website:
Sign Installed in Renovated Ned Wolf Park Commemorates Ned’s “Burning Passion for Social Justice”
In April, 2011 a sign was placed in Ned Wolf Park, located at the corner of Ellet and McCallum Streets, to commemorate the life and work of Edwin (Ned) C. Wolf, the Law Center’s first Executive Director. The park, located in Philadelphia’s West Mt. Airy neighborhood, was posthumously dedicated to Ned in 1979. The placement of this sign marks the end of a renovation project that began in the fall of 2006, when neighbors in the area organized to transform the previously neglected space, remodeling the park and planting over 1400 plants.
Yet the first park installation wasn’t successful. For many years, Haskins saw trash, debris, old tires peppering the park. However, within the last decade, NWP has become a jewel in West Mt. Airy. The Friends of NWP have carefully prepared maps to identify every plant location in the park. It’s a wonderful guide to help visitors try these plants in their own garden. We weed, water, transplant, divide, feed, mulch and carefully plan the introduction of new plants and ideas, such as the erection of the tool shed. NWP is self-sustaining from the labor of these volunteers in fund-raising and plant sales.
Sunday mornings, at 8 am, in good weather, our neighbor, Zak Zaklad, from Glen Echo Road is there teaching a Tai Chi class. Members of the Germantown Jewish Center are seen stopping to sit on a bench to chat on Saturdays as they leave services. It’s a place where families sometimes have Easter Egg Hunts. And the perennial plant sale every year in May is known (according to Ken Weinstein) to be the best sale in the city…and he confirms that by being one of our best customers every year!!
Ned Wolf Park is in the center of West Mt. Airy, forming a part of our village center on Carpenter Lane. It’s a jewel that volunteers have developed with careful design and experimentation. It demonstrates a community coming together to care for an open space for all to enjoy. The “Got Schist” article is a good example of the work being done with open arms to West Mt. Airy to please stop by, especially in the Spring when the amazing beauty arrives like magic!