The Loft District is a neighborhood in Center City, bounded by Broad Street to the West, 8th street to the East, Arch Street to the South and Spring Garden Street to the North. The area bears many names: Callowhill, Chinatown North, West Poplar and Eraserhood, a nod to Eraserhead, the surreal, nightmarish 1977 head-scramble of a film by David Lynch, the acclaimed director of the some of the most influential films and television of the past 30 years: The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks. Lynch lived in the neighborhood for a time in the mid-’60s, and the area sparked the first flames creative vision. The Loft District was formerly home to large-scale manufacturing and other industries, of which an architectural history has been left in the form of grand old abandoned factories, some of which have been converted to condos.
The neighborhood is physically cut-off from its neighbor to the south, Chinatown, by the Vine Street Expressway. The former Reading Railroad train trestle, the Reading Viaduct, is a defining feature of the Loft District neighborhood. Neighborhood groups have proposed that the abandoned structure be maintained as a public park, much like Manhattan’s High Line. Recently developers have started to employ adaptive reuse projects, converting many abandoned warehouses into loft-style housing.