Pat Jamison – 1600 Rowan Walkway
At 8:30 A.M. on a Saturday morning last September, Pat Jamison carried her speakers outside and serenaded her neighbors with the warm tones of Teddy Pendergrass to wake them for the fall clean up. ” It kind of gets the adrenaline going, you know?” says Jamison, referring to the sexy R&B.
But her neighbors were slow to respond. She went back inside to fetch her bullhorn. Jamison interrupted the music with a siren.
“WAKE UP!” Jamison calls coaxingly into the microphone, “Rise and shine, Rowan Walkway! The volunteers are on their way!” Jamison walked up and down her street directing her calls upward, towards the second floor bedroom windows.
In thirty minutes, volunteers from Villanova University would descend on her small block to help spruce up the street.
1600 Rowan Walkway is a unique block in Nicetown. Instead of a street, the two rows of homes face a line of garden boxes. William Shaw, an architect, built the block in the 1890’s. He was a member of the Moravian church and wanted to create a snug village for his small community, mixing the row house template with Queen Anne architecture.
“The whole block is a garden,” Jamison says. “We call it a diamond in the rough.”
But Jamison saw that the weeds had overtaken the gardens and the paint on the porches and curbs was peeling off. Her diamond was starting to loose its shine. So Jamison contacted Villanova University and they sent 60 young volunteers for the annual Day of Service to help Rowan Walkway residents clean, prune, plant and paint.
“The cooperation starts kinda slow,” Jamison says. “But when they start seeing the results, they start seeing what we have done together.”