1501 Chestnut Street
|Nice work, motherfucker.|
In the late 1890's and early 1900's, shit was going pretty fucking well in good ol' Philadelphia. The Gilded Age was in full effect. The population of Philadelphia broke a million and was continuing to grow rapidly. The richest motherfuckers in America were still living in the city limits and the largest building in the world was being constructed in the center of town.
Speculative office building construction was going gangbusters based on the fact that this super-massive city hall was going up. The business district of the city, for decades before based in Old City and later just a little bit west of that, would now move itself over to what was previously a pretty quiet part of town. Not only were they building office buildings, these office buildings were the tallest any Philadelphian had ever seen.
The cool thing about this particular building that could never happen today was that it did not have an anchor tenant lined up when it was built. The Land Title and Trust Company just built it on pure speculation, knowing businesses would move in just to be in the new commercial district. They would say, "Fuck the Drexel Building, are you gonna stay in the old business center and not move to a brand new fireproof super-modern skyscraper? Of course not! Move here!".
The building started construction based on the kick-ass design from a brand new Philadelphia architect named Henry Lewis Adrien Jekel on February 10th, 1902. The building was so badass that they would name it after the Commonwealth. They called it the Pennsylvania Building.
|The Pennsylvania Building when it was knew. The cornice is giving you the finger like 100 times. Pic from the Philaphiles over at the PAB.|
Jekel loved his own design for this so much that he made a smaller version of it for Washington, D.C. five years later called the Westory Building. That building is also still kicking ass and taking names to this day. Jekel wouldn't get anything else built in Philadelphia but went on to design a bunch of shit for San Fransisco, Buffalo, NY, and Riverside, California. Good job, buddy.
|The Westory Building, the PA Building's little sis. Picture by StreetsofWashington.|