1125 Walnut Street
|Hell yeah, motherfucker. Image by Viking Squirrel|
It all started way back in 1892. In that year, the Protestant Episcopal Church's Diocese of Pennsylvania decided at its yearly convention that it should build an office building headquarters in Philadelphia. They chose 221 South Broad Street as the site for it, but, over the next year became apprehensive about it. They thought the lot was too small and that their building should be located at a corner property. Personally, I think that they saw the future and knew that that crappy Pigeonhole Parking Building would be put there 70 years later.
In the 1893 convention, they gave up on 221 South Broad and instead decided to buy the corner of 12th and Walnut, a much more prominent location. They purchased the land for $150,000 and planned a 155,000 budget for a building. After reviewing submissions from a shitload of architects, they chose the design from the firm of Bailey and Truscott. They were a crazy firm that only lasted fourteen years but managed to design 110 buildings, many of which still stand today.
For this building, they went balls to the walls. They threw down elegant details all over the facade that still show through today... but that's not all. When it was first built, the building had stained-glass windows, crosses sticking out of it, and a shitload of huge statues standing guard on top.
|When it was still new. Check out he Franklin Building next to it.|
The building languished on for the next five decades, first as the C.o.C. and later as some offices for Jefferson University. By the start of the 1970's, the building was dirty and falling apart. At this point, not even Jefferson wanted it. They sold it off in 1976 to some crooked uniform company.
|The Episcopal House, looking like shit in 1971.|
|The interior design supposedly took 3 years to get right... ok.|
|The only pic I could find of the exterior.|
This building is an example of how a structure can be brought back from the edge and restored to its original elegance (minus the cool-ass statues) no matter how mangled and fucked up it gets. This gives hope to buildings like the Divine Lorraine and the American Protestant Hall, which seem too torn up to be brought back.