This view shows the south side of Narberth before 1900, during the early years of its development. Looking down Woodside Avenue we see a dirt road flanked by rows of recently planted trees and 200 Woodside under construction. The 1891 chapel of the Baptist Church of the Evangel was new when the photo was taken. Beside it is the frame shed that would be replaced by the newer chapel in 1923.
The south side came under development in 1889 by engineer and architect Charles William Macfarlane who owned 120 Woodside. Macfarlane's development, acquired from the estate of William Thomas, stopped at the back yards along the south side of Woodside Avenue, on the left of this image. Thomas Avenue is here a one-block street between Elmwood and Woodside. Beyond lies the undeveloped C. S. Wood estate, which in 1899 was platted as "Narberth Grove". Thomas Avenue became Essex and was extended to Rockland Avenue.
The neighborhood was described in an 1893 court deposition as "all the heart could ask for, such as elegant roads, well-kept boardwalks, elegant water supply, first class drainage." The elevation and angle of the photo suggest it was taken from the top of the nearby water tower, the source of that elegant water supply.