Union League Gets a New Look

That august institution founded in 1862 by President Lincoln, Broad Street’s French Renaissance Union League of Philadelphia is getting an interior makeover. A new demonstration kitchen and wine cellar is being constructed, and the Lincoln Hall (often known as the Lincoln Ballroom), dedicated in 1913, is getting a renovation. The Hall’s ceiling is being restored to its original contours, and its the renovations are meant to be done by June. In the meantime, visitors get to take a look at renderings in the hallway.

Lincoln Hall’s most distinctive feature is its 19th-century chandelier–originally a gasolier–and that will remain. Other facts about the room: There are portraits of all the League’s presidents on the walls, most of which were done by Philadelphia artists. And “the east and west walls look like wood but are actually concrete plaster grained to look like wood.”

The building itself, of course, is one of Broad Street’s great beauties, and is listed in the National Historic Register. Also of historic note: Women were denied membership until 1986. Yes. You read that right.

BLT Architects (Cira Centre, Suburban Station, roughly half of the city) has done the design. Other involved stakeholders are Aegis Property Group, Daniel J. Keating, and BALA.