1 South Broad Street
|Holy fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!! Click to see supersized super-detailed version.|
It all started with John F. Betz. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany and was brought to America as an infant. He then went back to Germany to learn brewery secrets, then came back and began the most badass brewery in New York. After a decade or so in NYC, Betz said "fuck this" and moved to Philadelphia in 1868, naming his product after himself. By 1888 he was a fucking millionaire. A dollar was 24 times more valuable back then, so it's fair to say that he was SUCCESSFUL AS FUCK.
|Portrait of Betz... from the facade of his own fucking building!|
It was also a time of transition in architecture. Badass stone Victorian fire-proof monuments were the style of the time (which kicked ass) and steel/iron-frame construction was brand new. This meant that they could build much taller badass stone castles. These new giants would be built along South Broad Street. John Betz took advantage of the situation and commissioned Badass Motherfucker-in-Chief William Decker to design him the tallest building on the street and the second tallest in the city (the only thing taller was the wooden steeple of the Tenth Presbyterian Church).
Decker was not shy about decking the motherfucker out... not only was it super-detailed, it was super-high-tech. It was built with an iron and steel framework that supported the weight of the building. Since the exterior walls were not load-bearing, they used hollow bricks. The building cost 1.5 million dollars, which back then was an immense amount of scrilla.
|Soula's Broad Street entrance.|
What a fucking treasure this thing was. There are not many buildings left from the short period of Victorian Skyscrapers and the ones that remain are severely fucked up (Divine Lorraine, anyone?). Too bad this motherfucker couldn't be saved. No current architect has the talent to design a building one third as cool.
|The Betz Building asserting it's badassivity shortly after completion.|