Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lost Building of the Week-- May 25th

Evening Bulletin Building

1315 Filbert St.

This is why Juniper and Filbert Streets used to be known as Kick-Ass Corner.
                Now this is some sad stuff. Look folks, this may be hard to believe, but there was once a time before the internet existed. Try not to shit your pants. Back then, Philly had a shitload of newspapers competing for supremacy. One of them, the Evening Bulletin, started in 1847 as a low-circulated but high-tech paper. It featured news that came in by telegraph earlier in the day. Today that would be like CNN playing inside your eyelid.
                 In 1895, an ogre with gargantuan balls, William L. McLean, took control of this paper and mutated it into a Journalism Juggernaut. He got the paper's circulation up from 6,000 to 133,000 in only three years. The little dinky building they had at 1234 Chestnut wasn't enough to handle the newly massive company. He commissioned a new building right smack dab in the middle of it all at Juniper and Filbert in order to have a storage spot for his gigantic nuts while he worked. Here's the original rendering:
Inaccurate just like any other rendering. Accompanying text says it would be done in 1907, a year earlier than it's actual completion date.
               This Tower of Titanic Trojan Condoms became a Philadelphia landmark and the Evening Bulletin became the highest circulated paper in the country. The New York Times didn't have shit on it. By 1916 the building got expanded further down Filbert Street and looked like the picture at the top of this article. The paper was so famous at this point that flood lights were placed on City Hall in order to light up the Bulletin's facade at night. In 1916 that would be like turning the facade into an HD video screen with porn all over it.
              By the time 1953 came, the Bulletin got so huge that they needed to expand into a new and more technologically advanced building. They went over to 31st street and built a future Butt-Fugly Building of the Week that sits next to a previous Butt-Fugly Building of the Week. The old Bulletin Building got renamed the Penn Square Building and was still used for crappy offices as the building and the neighborhood around it fell apart at the seams.

Looking haggard in the mid to late 20th. Check that dome out, motherfucker!
                 The Evening Bulletin started to fall apart too... by the start of the 80's, no one had use for an afternoon paper anymore. After 134 years, the Evening Bulletin published its last paper in 1981. Four years later, the dilapidated-ass building was demolished in favor of an Empty Lot that lasted for 10 years until the crappy Criminal Justice Center was built.
                  What a great looking building. It looked nice from afar and also had beautiful details that you needed to see close-up. We'll never have a highrise or skyscraper with a dome like that on it again. If this building lasted just a few years longer, it would be restored and housing high-end condos or a hotel right now. Instead, they ripped this building the fuck apart and let the lot sit until it was replaced with an eyesore that looks more like a tall suburban shopping mall than a government building. Balls.
                  Here's some cool pics.
The ground-level facade in it's heyday before it was expanded. Are those confederate battle flags?
The last day of the dome in 1985. Pic from what it says in that big fucking watermark.

Ya know what would look great here? An empty lot until 1995! Then plant a big fucking plastic box! Yeah!


  1. That awning over the entrance is amazing. What a loss.

    On another note, you MUST start critiquing some of the new construction in Northern Liberties and Fishtown. The good and bad.

  2. Oh trust me, I'll get to them. Don't even get me started.

  3. I'm pretty sure that the PPA HQ building was built at the same time as 3001 Market to house the Bulletin's printing press. The Inky building extends as far as it does for the same reason (they've moved the press since).