It’s getting there. | Photo: Google Street View
Although it’s still in need of millions of dollars in repairs in order to be returned to its former glory, the 19th Street Baptist Church at 19th and Titan streets in Point Breeze is slowly, but surely, being saved. Given the amount of church demolitions this city sees each year, can we all give the congregation of the church and Aaron Wunsch, a professor of historic preservation at Penn, a collective hallelujah?
Newsworks reports the city has cleared away one historic church each month over the past few years and Wunsch, along with Deacon Lloyd Butler and other church members, has done yeoman’s work to make sure this church, officially designed by George W. Hewitt in 1874 during a partnership in a firm with Frank Furness, wasn’t added to that dubious list: Read more »
Broad Street Station was demolished in 1953 | Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Sure there are Furness and Furness-influenced buildings scattered throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area (one is for sale; the other, formerly listed for $995,000, is now for rent right here in Philly), but a good chunk of his Center City oeuvres (some of which were touted as one of his best) were torn down long ago.
Fortunately, Curbed Philly has put together a map of ten Furness works that once stood in the area, as well as images and informational tidbits on the constructions. Check it out, and let us know if there’s one you would have kept up (No. 4 and 8 would have definitely been preserved under our watch).
The Frank Furness You’ll Never See in Center City [Curbed Philly]
Photos by Herb Engelsberg via TREND/Laurie Phillips
This listing comes with a little bit of a history lesson.
The mansion at 2113 Spruce Street was designed by the legendary architect Frank Furness for his dear friend Rudulph Ellis, a director at the Pennsylvania Railroad. The connection with Ellis runs deep, as the two men served in the Civil War together as part of Rush’s Lancers. Furness even received the Medal of Honor for his bravery at Trevilian Station, the only American architect to be awarded such a distinction.
The home itself is almost as impressive as its rich history.
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The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts building (yes, that iconic Frank Furness designed structure on North Broad) now has a head-turning addition: a 16-foot sculpture called “Young Punch Juggling” by artist Robert Taplin.
According to NewsWorks‘ Peter Crimmins, the installation is “the second in an ongoing series of temporary sculptures” that will be situated on the iconic building’s façade. PAFA’s museum director says the sculpture, which shows Punch juggling objects from different time periods, was designed with the building in mind. From NewsWorks:
[Harry] Philbrick asked Talpin to create a sculpture that responds to the building. Famed architect Frank Furness designed it in 1875 as his own contemporary response to traditional: he made a steel-trussed building with a classic Gothic Revival façade, including a sculpture platform over the front door – a plinth.
Here’s a look at the sculpture going up…
Jacques Ferber was a Walnut Street institution since 1911, but where once there were furs (and protesters against them) there are now Vans. Ferber has moved to the second floor of 1708 Walnut, Shoppist reports:
The Ferber team preserved details of the historic building (take a look at the wide wood frames around the mirrors—those were designed by Frank Furness). The final result? A modern space with plenty of character, just like the collection itself.
Jacques Ferber Reveals Its New Walnut Street Store [Shoppist]
301 Washington Street, Birdsboro, PA.
The “eccentricity of his architectural designs” may have appalled some of his contemporaries who clung to more traditional forms, but Philadelphia’s Victorian starchitect Frank Furness has had the last laugh. Furness-designed buildings with their signature high ceilings, beautiful staircases, and period details abound in the area, and his legacy and influence are alive as ever.
It just so happens that some of these are on the market.
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Designed in 1878 by famed Victorian architect Frank Furness, Lainshaw has the advantage of period charm that has been entirely renovated for modern convenience. The historic home sits on a darling, tree-lined lane and combines historic elements like trim and wainscoting with updates like a dual-bath en-suite in the master and a private meditation area.
The kitchen is probably the most modern of all the rooms in the 6,000-square-foot-plus home, having been updated with the usual high-end appliances, cabinetry and countertops. The first floor also features a wood-paneled library as well as a butler’s pantry. Upstairs the master includes a dressing room and two en-suite bathrooms. The study on the second floor overlooks the original Lainshaw nursery in the yard. The meditation space is also upstairs, alongside a laundry room as well as a media room (let’s hope they’re on separate ends of the hall).
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A sizable four-bedroom townhome on 22nd Street between Walnut and Locust has been listed for $1.85 million, and one highlighted feature is the architect: Frank Furness. Well, to be precise, the house was “attributed to Frank Furness,” according to the listing. But did Furness design it?
The association makes sense. The house sits directly across the street from the definitely Furness-designed Morton Henry house. But we didn’t find any documentation confirming that Furness also designed this one, even in “Frank Furness: The Complete Works.” So we asked George E. Thomas, the book’s lead author and an architectural historian who teaches at Penn, about it.
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Matthew Christopher is a photographer of decrepit, abandoned places who shares his technical expertise with other photographers in weekend workshops. The Abandoned America series took Property’s Laura Kicey to the SS United States and more recently to Germantown’s St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
Built in the 1870s and designed by Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt, the church closed in 2005 and will soon undergo renovation to become a school, so this venture was the last chance to photograph it in its in-between state. How photographers love decrepitude! And how Philadelphians love to look at it as evidence of our own present and past. But enough philosophizing (level 101): Check out Laura’s beautiful (as always) photographs.
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On Thursday March 1st Rex 1516 is opening at 1516 South Street. The restaurant is from the husband and wife team of Evan Malone and Jill Weber, who also own JET Wine Bar across the street.
Read the Rest of the Tale of the Tape »