Artist Commemorates “Great Philly Sinkhole” at Queen Village Water Main Rupture Site Through Collaboration with Plaque To The Future

If you live near the intersection of Sixth and Bainbridge streets or in the surrounding neighborhood of Queen Village, July 25 was probably a day you’d rather forget.

Shortly after midnight, a 130-year-old water pipe burst. The water springs from the ground like a geyser; you would have done better to raft Sixth Street than by car. Flooded basements, costing some residents thousands of dollars, and the next day there was a yawning chasm left in the middle of the mud covered street.

72521 Water pipe break.jpegSource / Philadelphia Water Department

Philadelphia water service crews responded to a 30-inch water pipe rupture on South Sixth and Bainbridge streets just after midnight on Sunday, July 25, 2021. Water rushed from the ground, flooding the streets and the basements of the Queen Village neighborhood.

In the past six years, more than 17,000 reports of sinkholes have been filed with the Streets Department, according to Philadelphia Magazine. This is in part because many of the town’s main water lines were installed during the 1800s. So what happened at Sixth and Bainbridge isn’t exactly unusual – unless you know. be new to Philly as artist Mikolaj, who decided to commemorate the “great sinkhole of Philly” with a makeshift historical marker on a concrete barrier blocking the intersection of Queen Village.

The marker, which uses a pattern created by Lily Goodspeed from Plate to the future, bed : Shortly after midnight on July 25, 2021, a historic 130-year-old 30-inch water pipe under this intersection burst, creating a massive geyser, turning 6th Street into a raging river and creating beautiful waterfalls in the basements of the people. This picturesque sinkhole is all that remains and since then it has delighted residents and tourists alike.

Large Plate of Philly SinkholeCourtesy / Mikolaj

A makeshift historical marker commemorating “The Great Philly Sinkhole” uses a pattern created by Lily Goodspeed of Plaque To The Future.

Mikolaj, who is behind the Instagram account Sketch from yesterday, said he moved to a location near New York’s Eighth and Bainbridge Streets a few weeks before the main line broke. On July 25, he was up after 1 a.m. watch your neighborhood flood.

“It was the very first sinkhole I had experienced here,” he told PhillyVoice in an email. “Until now, (I) didn’t even really know about Philly’s poor road infrastructure record.

“… Fortunately, other than a few hours of low water pressure, I was not directly affected by this.”

In the days that followed, Mikolaj said he walked past Sixth and Bainbridge with his Boston Terrier and watched people marvel at the giant hole in the intersection, which crews are still working to fix. . And after noticing so many blue historical markers all over town, he felt like the sinkhole deserved one.

“It seemed like a good idea to come up with one,” he said. “I searched the internet to find patterns for the markers, this is how I came across the Plaque2TheFuture website. ”

Mikolaj’s dedication sparked quite a reaction. A photo of it was submitted to the r / Philadelphia subreddit Wednesday and has nearly 800 positive votes. Philadelphia Art Blog Department of streets too featured the marker on their Tik Tok page in a video that received over 4,800 likes.

Initial credit for “The Great Philly Sinkhole” went to Goodspeed, who, as Plaque To The Future, has crossed town since 2016, leaving makeshift historical markers commemorating moments that might otherwise be forgotten (see this december plate apart from the old Boot & Saddle, for example). Goodspeed said most of her work came from submissions, so she was happy to provide the model for Mikolaj’s “amazing” idea. Her website invites others to “create their own piece of history” and she hopes to collaborate with more neighborhood groups, historians, and nonprofits in the future.

“I see the project as an opportunity for Philadelphians to share their own stories,” she said in an email. “It only works when people submit their experiences to my website or want to create their own, especially because they are temporary and fleeting plaques compared to any official marker. Philadelphia is a diverse and ever-changing place. evolution, and I think it’s exciting to be able to provide a platform where unique perspectives on what makes up the story can be told. “

Regarding the state of the sinkhole repairs, Brian Rademaekers of the Philadelphia Water Department said the damaged main was not removed from the ground on Friday. Additionally, Rademaekers said contract crews were working on part of the sewage system near the intersection that collapsed and on smaller water pipes in the area of ​​the rupture that require maintenance.

“Typically, a repair of this magnitude involving multiple layers of infrastructure will take at least several months,” Rademaekers said Friday. “Once all repairs are complete, pavement restoration will follow. ”

This estimate leaves some time for “The Great Philly Sinkhole” to be dethroned before Sixth and Bainbridge return to normal.

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