1811 Market Street
|If you're gonna make a building thin, that's the facade you want!|
|If you can't find it in this picture... get some better fucking glasses.|
Back in the late 19th Century, Fidelity Storage was a nationwide company that would franchise storage locations like McDonald's restaurants. In the mid-1880's, they got some dude named A.C. Craig, Jr. to invest with some of his buddies into a Philadelphia Fidelity Storage location. The company was incorporated on April 12, 1887. They built a six story warehouse at 1817 Market and had another warehouse at 50 N. Delaware Avenue.
Business was very good... Fidelity Storage didn't just store your shit... they would pick it up, pack it, and deliver it to the building. When you wanted your shit back, they would deliver it and unpack it for you. It was more like a bank for furniture than a self-storage place. By the mid 1890's, they were ready to expand.. but the plot of land they owned only had thirty-four feet of Market Street frontage left on it. What's could they do? Go up!!
In 1895, plans were put together by architect Charles Balderston for a 12-story fire and burglar-proof fortress that would fit into the 34' x 180' foot space left on the Fidelity property. He would give it a kick-ass terra cotta facade filled with tiny details.
|Like a disembodied dog head floats through the air with its toddler slaves in fruit-bearing shackles.|
After that, the building languished on for decades, at this point dirtied up from the Chinese Wall behind it... but strangely found a way to survive. When the Chinese Wall was taken down, many of the buildings next to it were as well. Somehow, Fidelity Storage managed to stay standing. Even as Penn Center was later built and kept creeping westward, Fidelity Storage lived on.
|Still visible in this primordial view of Penn Center. That vertical writing makes sense now!|
|Demolition in progress. The big-ass lettering faded and was overtaken by another painted-on sign at this point. That little building to the right shows that some buildings deserve to be lost.|