3412 and 3414 Haverford Street

Although these two adjoining properties are technically in Mantua, they have been nominated because of their historical significance. Because of their type of architecture, it has been determined by the nominator that this building group is the oldest wood clad structure in Mantua, dating from before the 1850s.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Building Spotlight: Hawthorne Hall

Photo Credit: Jas Mundie

Hawthorne Hall is a large building on a main thoroughfare– at 3849 Hamilton Street where it intersects with Lancaster Ave, which is recorded as the first road opened in West Philadelphia.

Hawthorne Hall was built in 1895 on the site of a former lumber yard and was once used as a commercial row with a residential area above it. The brick building is striking, noticeable for its bay windows and its detailed statuary friezes. It is built of Pompeiian brick, and is almost Romanesque with its wide arches.

Photo Credit: Max Buten

Hawthorne Hall has suffered continued loss of its ornamental metalwork. The bay windows have been ripped off in places where they are aging, instead of being repaired. In places, it is possible to see where concrete has been smoothed over the decorative metalwork instead of restoring it.

The Penn graduate school of Historical Preservation mentioned Hawthorne Hall in their field work study about Powelton Village, noting that “the historic Hawthorne Hall located nearly opposite the Monarch on Lancaster is not fully occupied and in need of extensive maintenance, restoration, and repair. Still, it could be a visual anchor for the “end” of the Powelton retail district.” The best thing for Hawthorne Hall could be to historically renovate it as a whole development and maintain it’s continuity. The building is an integral part of the area that activates several intersections with its presence. It could be a key part of the redevelopment of Lancaster Ave.

Other concerned parties on forums about Philadelphia architecture have also mentioned that the “primary problem with the building is that each section is owned by a different person or entity. That makes unified maintenance protocols nearly impossible.”

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

4314 Pine Street

This home is located on 43rd and Pine. It dates from 1889 and it is in the Classical Revival style, in keeping with the other homes on the block. It was nominated because ”the front porch is collapsing and there are signs both in front and back of an urgent need for repainting.”

Furthermore, it seems that the mortar on this house is “deteriorating or non existent” and also the ” rain gutters in front and in back are detached and not functioning, so there is constant water damage.”

The owner of the property has moved out of town so it seems that it will continue to become more and more decrepit, because it is currently being used as a student rental.

Posted in Absentee Landlord, Nominations, Privately Abandoned, Residential | Comments Off

St. Peter’s Church of Christ- 1200 S. 47th Street

St. Peter’s Church of Christ is located on 47th and Kingsessing. These shots focus on the back of the building, which has windows that are badly damaged.

Posted in Churches, Nominations | Comments Off

The Rotunda- 4014 Walnut Street

The Rotunda has just been nominated to the Endangered Properties List.

( An aerial shot of the Rotunda on 40th and Walnut, from universitycity.org)

A full history of the Rotunda was found on their website:

“Built in 1911 as a house of worship originally for the First Church of Christ Scientist, it was designed by Carrere and Hastings, the New York-based firm who set the tone of the American classicism of the twentieth century. With its low, tile-roofed narthex, circular main hall (AKA the sanctuary), and oversized windows, The building is of unsurpassed simplicity and elegance recalling Early Christian spaces such as Rome’s Santa Sabina.

The University of Pennsylvania purchased the building in 1996 as a strategic acquisition tied to a large scale community investment strategy known as the West Philadelphia Initiatives. With its prime location at 40th and Walnut, Penn explored several redevelopment options such as retail use, a radio station, and restaurant. While pursuing redevelopment options, Penn’s real estate officials responded to the ideas put forth in a 1998 Urban Studies seminar led by Dr. Ira Harkavy and Dr. Lee Benson at the University, which called for the formation of The Foundation Community Arts Initiative.

By making space available in a portion of the building, the Foundation held their first event in 1999 producing a free, all ages Jazz concert open to the public. Utilizing the programming and performing talents of both students and other West Philadelphia community members, The Foundation, led by an undergraduate student, Andrew Zitcer, quickly began programming weekly events and monthly series, showcasing world music, Jazz, Rock, Experimental, and more, while consciously striving to unite diverse groups of people through arts and culture experiences. By 2002, The Foundation, primarily fueled by dedicated Penn students with the aid of performers, artists, activists, and event organizers from within the surrounding community, acknowledged the need for a full time Director of The Rotunda. The appointment of a venue Director allowed an increase in the frequency of events while strengthening marketing efforts, outreach, and quality of programming. Nowadays, we use the name The Foundation interchangeably with the venue name of The Rotunda. ”

Despite the active use of part of the Rotunda for cultural events, the nominator of this property has lamented that “only about 1/3 of it is used.” The person goes on to explain that “the back room hosts around 200 or 300 arts events every year, usually for free. However, the rest of the building is in serious need of restoration and adaptive reuse. It could be a major venue for local and national arts and culture.”

Furthermore, the building houses a Tiffany chandelier, original wooden pews, and “a pipe organ that rivaled any other in Philadelphia.”

The building is thought to be endangered even though the back area is frequently used because the front part of the church is in very bad condition, in threat of collapse, and not properly taken care of by UPenn, which owns it.

Posted in Churches, Nominations | Comments Off

Zion Hill Baptist Church

 

Built by the architect George Savage who lived three blocks down, this church dates between 1909 and 1932, according to the Philadelphia Historical and Museum Commission Database. It is in the Gothic Revival and Art Deco style, and is still in use today. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

5126 Baltimore Ave- Wayland Memorial Baptist Church

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

5047 Spruce Street- Home of the architect George Savage

This is one time home of Philadelphia architect George Savage, nominated because of his prominent position in the community’s historical development. According to Philadelphia  Buildings and Architects, Savage designed over 300 churches during his lifetime and was “succeeded in his church based practice by his son, George D. Savage.” He was born in 1874 in Scotland and died in Philadelphia in 1948. He moved to Philadelphia with his family and received his architecture certificate from Drexel in 1900. He is best known for his Protestant church designs, and gained experience in the field by working for another church designer, Charles Bolton.

The nominator of the property also points out that 3 of his churches are in a “few blocks radius of his house.” I also wanted to point out that on this block, about two houses down, at 5037 Spruce Street, there is a visibly crumbling rowhouse of the same style as Savage’s that might be marked as endangered because of it’s proximity to this historic structure and the need to keep the continuity of the block intact. Here are some photos of the house in question. The entire thing is crumbling and if you’ll note the top story windows, you can see that there is only a facade– the structure of the house behind it is gone.

 

Posted in Churches, Nominations, Privately Abandoned, Residential | Comments Off

1103 and 1105 South 47th Street

These adjoining structures are on the corner of 47th and Chester and were built in 1915. The building is obviously abandoned. The windows are boarded up, there is a significant amount of deterioration on the front facade, the paint on the pilasters is peeling, and according to the nominator, “the back of the building is crumbling.” It was nominated because ”saving this property would make this a more appealing intersection and put more eyes in this area to counter-act some of the less desirable businesses.” It is owned by a landlord who has let the building deteriorate.  The corner building was originally meant for a storefront with a dwelling space over it.


 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

4824 Baltimore Ave- the New Mariposa Co-op Building

4824 Baltimore Ave has been nominated because it is an interesting case of the “revival of an abandoned building.” Formerly a bank, and then the site of the Beulah Tabernacle church, 4824 Baltimore has been purchased to be the site of the new Mariposa Co-op Building, which will open this fall.

The building is going to be renovated by sustainable architecture firm Re:Vision Architects which has offices in Philadelphia and Berkeley and the Community Design Collaborative. Mariposa is making sure that the building is being renovated in an energy efficient manner, and will incorporate aspects such as cisterns for rainwater harvesting for irrigation, air distribution using heat recover from refrigeration, and the use of salvaged materials. The new store will also have beehives and a rooftop farm.

The building, which was originally a bank called the Belmont Company Trust, is more than 7,000 square feet and has a large first floor area which was originally used as the bank’s lobby. The vault is still present in the space. Since purchasing the building, Mariposa Co-Op has found “2 signed pieces of wood in the building from 3 different woodworkers and writing on some marble slabs” all of which have been dated to the early 1920s. From 1985 to 1992, the building was bounced around from bank company to bank company until the deed was transferred from Liberty Savings to Beulah Tabernacle Church.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission reports that the new building was designed in 1922 by Norman Hulme and “contracts for construction were let in early 1923.” The Belmont Trust Company had been on the site since at least 1908 and then it was taken over by First Pennsylvania Bank. Norman Hulme also designed a bank building for the Belmont Trust Company on 45th and Walnut, which is today the site of Manakeesh Restaurant. The Philadelphia Historical Commission notes that “it has very similar features- “limestone facade, a clock over the front door, and massive steel windows.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off