Monday, April 23, 2012

Mystery Building of the Week-- April 23rd

Sir Richards Tavern Building (aka Hurley's Hall aka Hurley's Hotel)

4400 Lancaster Avenue

Lots of kickass, but very little info. Image from Google.
                         This building is so fucking mysterious that the only reason anyone knows its build date is because it says it in big numbers on the facade. No one seems to know where this motherfucker came from... the history of this building consists of passing mentions and vague references. This one is a TRUE mystery.
                       This beautiful-ass motherfucker has a lot of cool shit going for it. A big tower in the corner, facade details up the ying yang, and demon faces flanking the front door (can't go wrong with that). Alterations over the years have mangled it up some but the original design of the building still shows through in a big way. If only there was some info about this thing...
                       From what I can tell, this ball-busting behemoth was commissioned by Peter E. Hurley, general manager of the Trenton and Mercer County Transit Corporation. References to a Hurley's Hotel or Hurley's Hall at this address are further evidence that he was involved. Hurley's obituary states that he left the trainmongering business for two years to do "contracting". Could this be when this Mystery Building was built?

Peter E. Hurley 1866-1918
                            The architect of the building is assumed to be Thomas Francis Miller, a prolific motherfucker who designed a shitload of buildings in the city and surrounding suburbs. One of Frank Furness's admirer/imitators, the Sir Richards Tavern Building definitely shows that influence. That's it. That's pretty much all the information that's out there about this motherfucker. There aren't even any old pictures of it, besides this one, and its not even that old:

Wow, the bottom section was already mangled in this pic from 1966.
                   More recently, this building has been known as the Building on Lancaster That's Been For Sale FOREVER. There's been a FOR SALE sign on this thing for years. Sometimes the realty company or the price changes, but it stays for sale. At one point in was going for $600K, but eventually got down to $299,000. On January 30th of this year, a Real Estate company running out of a P.O. Box in Dresher, PA bought the place for $64,900. Despite that, there's still an active listing asking for $289,900.
                   Oh, and the property tax for this 5,000 square footer is only $910. So what in the fuck is going on with this place!?!?!? Where the hell did it come from? What was its original purpose? and What the fuck!?!?!?!

1 comment:

  1. I heard once that you can dodge certain liquor licensing requirements by keeping your bar indefinitely for sale. don't have verification on that, but a possible reason.