Tag: historical property

Paging Stephen Starr: Great Restaurant Space Up for Grabs on Independence Mall


You may have read by now that the Dow Chemical Company is putting its historic–yes, historic; it’s listed on the National Register–office building on Independence Mall up for sale once again.

Rohm and Haas built the building in 1965 as its headquarters, and the building designed by Pietro Belluschi and George M. Ewing Co. (now EwingCole) is considered a Modernist masterpiece.

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Kenny Gamble’s Petition to Demolish Royal Theater Due to “Financial Hardship” Faces More Opposition

royal theater

Photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons

Kenny Gamble’s attempt to demolish most of the historic Royal Theater on 15th and South, an African-American landmark, faces more than just the approval of the Philadelphia Historical Commission. It faces a state challenge that he himself put into place, according to Eyes on the Street: In 2006 Universal Companies was awarded a $50,000 Keystone [...]

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Property’s Morning Obsession: Art Installation at Fort Mifflin That Will Blow Your Mind

hidden city festial fort miff line

One of the tree houses built by Neiditz and Webber at Fort Mifflin for the Hidden City Festival. Or was it there before? Photo: Liz Spikol

You’re walking through the woods, along a path that snakes along the Delaware River. Alongside the path are broken, mysterious structures–ruins of buildings, wood and metal industrial tools that are hard to identify, tree houses with ladders that beg you to climb them. See a canvas rope embedded in sand, follow its length, and discover a wooden bridge that traverses the tidal waters of the Delaware–filled with all the things that have washed up on these shores. Can you guess what they are? A tube of lip gloss. A rubber duck. The hull of a boat. And bottles–dozens, maybe hundreds of plastic bottles.

This installation piece rewards curiosity. For hikers who always stay along a marked trail, the gauntlet is thrown: The only way to assuredly discover each and every one of Ben Neidetz and Zach Webber’s surprises is to let your imagination–and that of your kids, if you’ve got some–take flight.

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The Amazing History of the People’s Trust Co. at 12th and Arch, Once Home to the Fabric Workshop

This old postcard shows a rendering of the building from before it was built.

Now here’s a building from when they knew how to build buildings. The People’s Trust Company Building ruled the corner of 12th and Arch for eight decades. Its unusual design and construction made it a marvel in its own time…but that crap didn’t matter when the Pennsylvania Convention Center came along to knock it out of existence.

The short-lived People’s Trust Company of Philadelphia was chartered on September 21, 1906, and started out in a small office at 1006 Arch Street. Almost immediately, this new financial institution, just a branch of a nationwide series of People’s Trust Companies, put together plans to build a speculative 10-story high-rise only a block away. This neighborhood was going through an extremely rapid change at the time.

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Beautiful Photos of Hidden City Festival Installations (Tomorrow Is Free!)

hidden city festival

Photo of Hawthorne Hall installation by Laura Kicey

The Hidden City Festival brings contemporary art and performance into forgotten and forbidden sites across the city for music lovers, urban explorers, ruin festishists, art enthusiasts, history buffs and, most especially, The Philadelphia Obsessive, that strange breed of person who gets flushed talking about the Sameric (sorry, the Boyd).

Property’s staff photographer Laura Kicey went to three Hidden City Festival sites to take photos now that the installations are in place. For some of the sites before, go to “Inside Some of Philadelphia’s Most Extraordinary Forbidden Buildings.

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What Are Those Little Shields Above the Doorways of Philadelphia Homes?

If you’ve walked around Philadelphia’s older neighborhoods, you’ve probably seen the medallions affixed to the front of older houses. Some have four hands, clasping each other at the wrist. Some have a tree or a little wagon. These are fire insurance marks, used to identify the houses insured by each company.

Fire insurance in this country started in the 18th century. Because Philadelphia was so awesome back then, many of the most successful early attempts at fire insurance happened here, and each insurance company developed a very distinctive logo.

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Chestnut Hill History Is Unleashed

Baleroy interior, from CHHS Online database.

Baleroy interior, from CHHS Online database.

The Chestnut Hill Historical Society has put more than 11,000 of its photos online. As with PhillyHistory.org, they’re in a database that can be can searched with specific criteria. It’s more fun, however, to click on “Random Images,” which is what we did to come up with the above image, one of a collection of interiors of Baleroy, a grand mansion at 111 West Mermaid.

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