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City Property, Department of

[Record group 68]
Alternative/Former Names
City Property, Bureau of ;
Markets & City Property, Department of

Agency Function
The functions of this agency are currently performed by the Department of Public Property.

Agency History
The office of the Commissioner of City Property was created by an Ordinance of October 1, 1835, and had placed under its control the real estate and buildings owned by the City, gathering then under one officer from the control of the City Commissioners, Clerks of the Markets, Port Wardens, and others. (Councils' Committee on City Property exercised almost complete executive control over this office however, and pertinent records for the period before 1854 will be found listed among Councils' records series.) At the consolidation of the City and County in 1854 there were formed three independent departments of City Property, Markets, and Wharves and Landings. The latter two were combined into the Department of Markets, Wharves and Landings in 1856, and in 1867 was formed the Department of Markets and City Property which also retained control of the City's wharves. In 1887 this department was absorbed by the new Department of Public Works, under the provisions of the Bullitt Bill of 1885 and enabling Ordinance of 30 December 1886. Under provisions of an Ordinance approved on 22 March 1888, the Department of Markets and City Property was abolished and a new Bureau of City Property created and placed in the Department of Public Safety. In 1912, it was returned to the Department of Public Works. In 1907, the Bureau's duties in regard to wharves and landings were assigned to the then-formed Department of Wharves, Docks, and Ferries.

The Bureau of City Property assumed the responsibility for completing and maintaining City Hall from the Commissioners for the erection of the Public Buildings upon the latter's demise in 1901 (Act of 11 May 1901, Ordinance of 26 June 1901). The Bureau of City Property continued to maintain the buildings on Independence Square until 1949 when the responsibility for maintenance (but not ownership) was assumed by the Independence National Historical Park.

With the abolition of the Department of Public Works in 1952, the functions of the Bureau of City Property were assumed by the present Department of Public Property.

Archival Records
68.1 City Property, Department of; Bureau of. Annual Reports (1915-1919, 1948)

68.2 Papers (1892-1947)

68.3 Inventory, City Property (1936)

68.4 City Hall Room Register (ca. 1906)

68.5 Specifications for Completion of City Hall (1908)

68.6 Real Estate Branch. Correspondence (1915-1951)

68.7 Inventory, City-owned Real Estate (1897-1898, 1909)

68.8 Acquisitions of Real Estate (1931-1953)

68.9 Drawings, Restoration of Congress Hall, Independence Hall, Independence Square (19111912, 1914, 1928-1929)

68.10 City Forester. Annual Reports (1898)

68.11 Scrapbook (1894-1901)

68.12 City Architect. Seriatim Index to the Rooms in City Hall (April 1907)

68.12a City Architect, City Hall Drawings & Plans (1901-1918)

68.13 Map of Philadelphia Showing Boundaries of Fire Battalions and Location of Fire Stations (1952)

68.14 Building Specifications (1906, 1911-12, 1915-1919)

68.15 Guides to City Hall (1900, 1902, 1908)

68.16 Drawings & Plans (1934)

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Last updated on November 8, 2000