Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lost Building of the Week-- January 11th

Philadelphia Home for Incurables (aka Inglis House I)

48th and Woodland Avenue

Willis G. Hale ain't nuthin' to... you know the rest.
                       Hey, if you're going to have an ailment that is incurable, a Willis G. Hale MegaMansion is the place to have it. This big-ass motherfucker is one of those structures you'd think would never go away, but alas, it is GONE. This is one of Hale's more forgotten masterpieces.
                   The origins of this crazy building are couched in the legendary story of Annie C. Inglis, an eighteen year old paraplegic girl that spawned a Willis G. Hale Gigastructure. Annie had what back then was called "spine disease" and was bound to a wheelchair her entire life. She became concerned about other paraplegics that were not born to a rich family like she was, and Annie's teenage years became consumed with planning a home for others that suffered as she did. Her plan came to be known as the Philadelphia Home for Incurables. Back then, people weren't pussies. They just called shit what it was.
Annie C. Inglis, from the age when teenagers could actually wanted to accomplish shit besides their dumbass twitter accounts.
                       The legend states that on her death bed in 1875, she gave the first one dollar donation toward the charity. On May 4th, 1877, the second anniversary of the day she died, the Home for Incurables was established. By November 8th of that year, the Home was in full effect with 15 patients in a rented mansion. By November 1878, the charity became one of the most well known and admired in the region. Since Annie was a member of the First Baptist Church, they took a big role in raising funds for the Home.
                   They raised the ducats so quickly that the organization was able to purchase the five-acre block across the street from their rented home for $5,500 and get the Badass of Badasses, the King of Kick-Assitecture, the Victorian Beastmaster, Willis G. Hale, to design their new $25,000 facility.
                 Hale just assumed the patients were incurable because they could not will masonry from their fingertips like he could. He was like, "Those poor souls!"and whipped up this awesome building design for them in like 7 seconds. In November 1880, only five years after that first dollar, this monster was officially opened with a gala event.
                 The Home was a piece of magnificence. Fairmount and Dorchester stone in the facade, red and buff Akron tiles on the roof. It had high tech shit like direct steam radiation and an elevator. The ventilation and lighting systems were so badass that they had their own fucking patents!
                  The Home for Incurables became a huge success. A $37,000 Children's Building was built in 1895 and a $60,000 Men's Cancer Annex was added in 1905.

With non-Hale additions.
                  By the 1920's, the five acre campus, which seemed so huge in the past, was becoming too small for the Home's needs. That, and the neighborhood was going to shit. In 1927, the 50th anniversary of the organization, The Philadelphia Home for Incurables moved to a HUMONGOUS building at 2600 Belmont Avenue and still exists there today. They changed their name to Inglis House in 1981.
                 The demolition date of this juggernaut is unknown. It stood vacant for decades after the Home moved and shows up as a vacant property in the 1942 WPA map. By time the 1960's rolled around, it was GONE and replaced with Comegys Park. I don't know who the fuck Benjamin Comegys was but he has a lot of shit named after him in this particular neighborhood.
                 This building is a reminder that a lot of Hale's greatest shit is looong gone. Shit. 

Fuck Ben Comegys. It should be called Hale Park, Inglis Park, or better yet, Incurables Park.

1 comment:

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