Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lost Mystery Building of the Week-- December 14th

Philadelphia University of Medicine and Surgery (aka Pennsylvania Medical College)

252 S. 9th Street

Pretty frickin' cool! Image from the PAB.
                          This cool-looking building rocked the corner of 9th and Latimer Streets for 120+ years but no one seems to remember anything about it. This building was a gem that probably wouldn't have been demolished in the present day, but was considered shit that needed to go in the 1960's.
                        The early history of this thing is known.. its what happened later on that no one seems to care about. In the early 1840's, Doctor William Paine founded and administrated the Philadelphia University of Medicine and Surgery, known locally as just Philadelphia University. This was just one of the medical schools in a time when they were popping up and fizzling out every few years. The medical schools that we currently have in the city are vestiges from that era... the ones that survived.
                         By the mid 1840's, this particular medical school was doing pretty well and the leaders of it decided that they needed a brand new headquarters building that could not only function as a school but as a medical museum of sorts as well. They got the Megagrandmaster of Highway-Speed Crotch Kicks Thomas Ustick Walter to design them this castle of the medical arts. Though only two stories, this beast seems massive.
                        After it was built in 1849, it became a meeting place for the entire medical establishment of the city and beyond. By the 1860's, after the school became part of the Pennsylvania Medical College, doctors from far and wide would come to an annual conference that was held there. The museum portion of the building displayed anatomical, pathological, and surgical specimens, sort of how the College of Physician's Mutter Museum does today.
                       Pernnsylvania Medical College didn't last very long after that. The University of Pennsylvania was pissed that there was a another college called "Pennsylvania", so they worked hard to get the place shut down just because they had a similar name. Pennsylvania College was absorbed by the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania, which was a school that was based on a form of quackery called Eclectic Medicine. That place was shut the fuck down in 1939 for being about bullshit.
                      During and even after the Philadelphia University of Medicine and Surgery's existence, the school was embroiled in a national controversy at the time: Bogus degrees. A company was making diplomas (they called them "Matriculating Tickets" back then) that said "Philadelphia University" on them and selling them to anyone who wanted one. After the school lost its charter and became part of Pennsylvania College, bogus degrees with the school's full name on it got spread across America.
                    After all that, I can't find shit about what happened to this building, other than these shitty photographs of it:

1961. There it is on the right, extremly altered and with an addition. SOMEONE cared about this thing.
Aerial photo from 1931.. the alterations and addition are present in this photo as well.
                           I have found some records of people listing this place as their home address in the late 19th Century. Was it turned into a private residence or maybe apartments? I'm sure there are some oldheads out there that remember this beast... WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO IT!?!?!?

1 comment:

  1. It's also listed as Hotel Dupont on the map in 1895, and Friendly Inn in 1910...