Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021
Water Main Break
In the early hours of Sunday, July 25th a 100+ year old cast iron thirty inch water main broke at the intersection of 6th & Bainbridge Streets in Philadelphia, causing a massive flood of epic proportions. Water department officials on the ground at the epicenter claimed that it was the largest main break they had ever seen.
At approximately 2:00AM a resident of The Ward Studio was awakened by a large crash of water breaking glass on a floor below her bedroom prompted her to get up to see what was going on. The resident, a close friend of the Ward family, had the presence of mind to immediately begin videotaping the wall of water descending onto the property.
Within minutes all of the below grade rooms including; lounge area, kitchen, dressing room, darkroom suite, editing room, workshop and bathroom were all under approximately 24 inches of water.
There was extensive damage done to the property, including thousands of vintage black and white and color negatives that I was preparing to review in anticipation of an upcoming exhibition in the fall.
The city of Philadelphia has stepped in to mitigate the damage while my family sorts out the damage and loss. Mitigation efforts are currently underway to save as many negatives as possible. All activities including studio and darkroom rentals have been suspended until further notice.