1200 North Broad Street
|That guy on the right is like "Sheeeeeeeiiiiiiittt!"|
This week’s Lost Building comes from that stinking runway of alligator shit known as North Broad Street. Broad and Girard, known to modern Philadelphians simply as “shit”, was once the gateway to one of the more wealthy areas of the United States. Nouveau-riche Captains of Industry who actually acquired their ill-gotten gains by their own ingenuity (and lack of income taxes) were forced to build their opulent mansions on North Broad because the old money trustafarian hipsters of the period rejected them for having to go to work.
Peter Arrell Brown Widener, who was basically a Four-Star Admiral of Industry who worked his way up from nothing, called on the architectural stylings of the First Baseman of Badass, Willis G. Hale, to design the biggest, baddest, most ballsy mansion possible in order to thumb his nose at those spoiled hipsters in their 100% organic sustainable cummerbunds. Just look at that picture. You can imagine Widener standing on the conical tower in the corner with his arms crossed laughing “BWAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”
Thirteen years after this Monstrosity of Manliness was built, Widener said “Fuck it, this house is too small… I can’t even fit my personal polo team in here without getting horseshit everywere!” and moved into a 110-room palace out in the country. He donated this Tower of Testicular Fortitude to the Free Library in 1900 and it served for 46 years. After that, the mansion was used for various functions until a bunch of dirty squatters burned it down in 1980. The location is now the home of a bulletproof KFC and a Checkers where an employee murdered a patron. Classy.