The words “commercial property,” when typed into a search engine, often bring up large, soulless buildings looming on tracts of land seemingly in the middle of nowhere, or miniscule “turnkey” operations that you’d only want to turn your key in if you never wanted to make a cent selling leftover Herr’s potato chips. Every now and then, however, something remarkable happens, like this listing for the four-story Second Empire beauty once owned by nuts-and-bolts magnate Barton Hoopes.
Built in 1878, the building, which is now zoned for commercial use, retains much of the period detail that Hoopes–owner of a nuts and bolts factory–first commissioned. The encaustic tiles; the endlessly carved mahogany and chestnut woodwork; the stained glass; the original marble sinks; the seahorse door handles; the strapwork ceilings–it’s too much! It really does take the breath away.
There is an incredible history of this home and a matching carriage house on the phenomenal website Curator of Shit, which also includes significant architectural information with words like “massing.”
Hoopes was Chester County-born, but when he found success with the manufacture of nuts, bolts, washers and such, he decided to make a change. From CoS:
Hoopes moved in along many others of Philadelphia’s nouveau riche such as John B. Stetson. At No. 1717, Stetson, the former hat maker gone millenarian manufacturer, and his wife, her spinster sister Miss Phoebe Harkness; Stetson’s son-in-law Frank Crawford; his daughter Florence Crawford; a grandson Earl Crawford, as well as two servants both of Irish origins. Stetson’s house was nearby, but not nearly as impressive as what nuts and bolts could buy…
They lived in the home with their three sons and two servants until 1902, when Dr. Ludwig Spang Filbert, who had a lucrative side business in paving, purchased the home from the Hoopes clan. According to CoS, well-known for a bit of cheek:
And while the mini-mansion had been excellently maintained, we have it on good account that despite his respect for the late occupant, Dr. Filbert began his residency at No. 1733 with a comprehensive replacement of all original hardware–including, most importantly, each and every one of the original nuts and bolts.
• And What of Philadelphia’s Original Nuts and Bolts.?.?.?… No. 1733 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [CoS]
• Cool New Listing: 1733 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19130 [Center City Team]
Each morning we start the day with Property’s Morning Obsession—anything from staging to woodwork to the fragment of a building. Want to submit your morning obsession? Send us an email.