Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lost Building of the Week-- April 27

The Hotel Walton (aka the John Bartram Hotel)

Broad and Locust Sts.

It's giving you the finger. Awesome.

                Wow, this one happens to depress me quite a bit. The Hotel Walton was a Megacastle of Conical Towers designed by Angus Wade, who I assume must have had a dick 12 feet long. This badass bitch opened in 1896 and rocked Broad Street until about 1946 when having cool-ass motherfucking hotels must have went out of style or something. It reopened as the John Bartram, and just like anything named after Bartram, had extremely bad luck. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look up the school and housing project named after the same man.
                Look at this sexy motherfucker. I love conical towers and I’m pretty sure this building touted the biggest one the city’s ever had. The Walton was a city landmark for pretty much the entire first half of the 20th Century. Dudes were always writing home about getting laid there. The place was so nice inside they even made postcards of the LOBBY.
                 They tore the motherfucker down in 1966 to make way for… nothing. The spot was the Empty Lot of the Week every week until 1983 when a future Butt-Fugly Building of the Week, the Doubletree, then known as the Hershey Hotel, was built. In classic Empty Lot of the Week style, the empty space had MANY hopeless proposals come through, most notably this one from 1969:

It was called the Philadelphia Playhouse. I could fux with it.
              Why don't we do conical towers anymore? I know they're hard to maintain but daaaamn, they make for some sexy buildings. On top of that, the Hotel Walton shows how you can add asymmetrical uneven windows on a building without it looking like a barcode... take notes crappy modern architects. I love this Cathedral of Cock-Slapping so much that I drew my own rendering of what the building would look like now if it had been saved and restored:

I posited that part of it would be turned into a parking garage when the Wilma Theater was built.

          This would be such a great building if it was still around today. You'd be drinking a nine dollar PBR at its bar right now. What a fucking bummer. 


  1. It's a shame that modern architecture - and art for that matter - sells its clients on subtlety. It has always seemed like a gimmick to me. If you make people demand less - straight lines, glass curtains, vinyl siding - then no one will realize that your only artistic vision is to paint a soup can that someone else designed.

    What's really sad is that talented craftsman are laughed out of artistic circles by those designing works of "art" intended to blend into the sky or wall.

    If talent were still en vogue and architects were still designing hotels like The Walton, anything built in the last forty years would be seen as mediocre at best. Instead we're forced to praise things like the Comcast Center and the Pennsylvania Convention Center while we let the Divine Lorraine rot.

  2. Agreed... The Hotel Walton was in better condition when it was demolished than the Divine Lorraine is now.

  3. I can't believe this was torn down to make way for the Doubletree. Holy hell humans are idiots.