Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Parking Garage of the Week-- April 25th

Wood Street Garage

320 North Broad Street

Fuck Youuuuuuuuuuuuu!
                    Goddammit, why did they have to do this? This shitty parking garage is the ONLY structure on the West side of North Broad Street between Vine and Callowhill Streets. This! The worst part of the existence of this Parking Box is the fact that it replaced a great building. Fuck it fuck it fuck it!!
                   That's right, this parking garage replaced a perfectly good, somewhat historically significant building that was much taller than the crappy Wood Street Garage. Built 1922-1924, the Benevolent Paternal Order of Elks Lodge #2 was built as a FUBU hotel for members. It was designed by the Ballinger firm featuring Andrew J. Sauer, Lord of the Cunningham Building. After changes in city demographics and the Great Depression came along, Elk membership got so light that they moved back into their old building at Arch and Juniper.

Old ad for the hotel when it was still Elk-run.
                        After that, the building became the Broadwood Hotel, featuring the Philadelphia Playhouse Theatre. They called it the Broadwood Hotel because it was located at the corner of Broad and Wood Streets... not such a bad idea. The Broadwood became one of the city's most popular and successful hotels of the 20th Century. Not only was the theater inside an attraction, but the ballroom on the third floor was considered one of the best in America.

As the Broadwood Hotel. Pic from the PAB.
                        The Broadwood stayed open all the way up into the 1970's. Then it was converted into the Philadelphia Athletic Club. At this point, this stretch of North Broad was even shittier than it is today. The building got historically registered in 1984, but we all know that doesn't mean dick.

The Broadwood as the Philadelphia Athletic Club in 1980.
                       In the early 90's, Hahnemann Hospital decided that all the empty lots and other parking garages near their campus weren't enough. They demolished the fuck out of the old Broadwood and built the Wood Street Garage in its place, fucking up the street way more than the blighted old building ever could. Instead of keeping a beautiful historically registered building standing, they opted to screw up the block forever... what ass.
                     What's worse... they made the Wood Street garage UGLY as FUCK. At street level, instead of retail, there are prison bars. A weird 90s-ish stone-like facade was put on, but doesn't cover the whole front! Just the bottom floors and the Northern corner. That's just dumb.

Prison bar frontage on Broad Street. Image from Google.
                   Hopefully one day the surface lots adjacent to this mess will get filled in with buildings that distract away from the presence of this dirty motherfucker and we'll all joke about how this crappy parking garage was once the only thing on this part of the North Broad corridor. Don't fucking count on it.


  1. Ithink this building was the dormatory for the performing arts school in approx 1978. It was a great building i lived ther

  2. I agree the Elks past building in Philadelphia should of been left alone!
    Same thing happened to the beautiful and neoclassic style New York Elks Lodge#1 building.
    The Durst org demolished the grand Elks building as well named the Diplomat Hotel on 110 west 43rd street for a freaking skyscraper bank building that is stupid looking.
    Quit knocking down old historical buildings Damn it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Especially old Elks Lodge buildings !!!!!!!!