550 North Broad Street
|Holy goddamn shit-kicking Christ.|
They called on the Grand Commandant of Architectural Ass-Kicks, Willis G. Hale, who had just finished what we now call the Divine Lorraine, to build a high school that will be unmatched anywhere in the country. Hale was like "Do you fucks have six years to spare? Cuz that's how long it's gonna fuckin' take, you dirty bastards!" Construction began in 1894 and lasted six years as the controversy over the super-awesomeness of the building became the center of Philly politics.
|Historical photo of Willis G. Hale surveying the site of the proposed building in 1893.|
This school had it all. See that big dome at the top? That was a fucking observatory. See that other dome at the top? That was the OTHER observatory. It's hard enough to find a high school with one... but two? Students had to be male and have an IQ over 110 to attend this Academy of Flying Fists, which means if it was around today and had the same standards, there would be like 3 students.
By the mid-20th Century, this building was looking pretty haggard. It had gotten stained up and was literally falling apart along with everything else on North Broad. Central High built a new and exceedingly ugly school at Olney and Ogontz Avenues, which it still uses today. Willis G. Hale's Masterpiece of Masturbational Glory was torn down in 1961 and replaced with a fucking pair of boxes known as Benjamin Franklin High School. Interesting how one of the best schools in America got replaced with one of the worst. Ben Franklin isn't even really a high school, it's more of a Day Care Center for teenagers.
What a wonder this would be if it was still around today. People go nuts for the Divine Lorraine and it has graffiti all over it... in my opinion Central High was Willis G. Hale's superior work. If this building somehow didn't get demolished, it would be a hot property in the condo/apartment market. People would like it so much that they would fuck a crack in the facade out front just to get a chance to see the inside. Instead, they have to settle for a dryhump with the Mulford Building.
Phillyhistory.org has some great pics of it, so here they are.
|Willis G. Hale aint nuthin to fuck with.|
|Even Central's ass looked good.|
|Go stand at the southeast corner of Broad and Green and let me know how it all turned out.|
|So they thought two slightly different rectangles would make a better looking view than this.|