Monday, August 13, 2012

Mystery Building of the Week-- August 13th

!!!??!?!?!?!? Building

132 North 10th Street

This pic is from a few months ago-- a new storefront is now on the 10th Street side.
                     Chinatown is chock full of mystery buildings and this one is no different. While other matching buildings from the same neighborhood are lost but known, this one still stands and is unknown. What a pain in the ass.
                    The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has nothing about this building except that it was once a factory and it MIGHT HAVE been built in 1885. Other than that, nothing-- nobody else ever mentions this thing, other than some of the old storefront tentants. The design looks right for that time period but no architect linked with this address can be found. The building looks more or less unaltered (except for having storefronts running down all sides) but the cornice looks muted as if there was once something up there.

Pretty much the only old pic of the !?!?!?!? Building, behind that parking kiosk in this pic from 1954.
                The ?!?!!?!?!?!?! Building has had the same owner since 1971, who bought the place for $1. The place looks like it might have apartments up top but I think they might actually be commercial offices, at least on the second floor. The architect did a pretty good job for a building of this type... too bad we'll never know who the fuck it was!!!
             Seriously, I have nothing else to say about this motherfucker. Its so much of a mystery that I have pretty much nothing else to offer in the way of info. Does ANYONE know where the fuck this building came from? What it was for? Who designed it? and What the fuck!?!?!?!?


  1. Pretty sure that's N. 10th street, not South.

  2. I don't know any more than you do, but I sure wouldn't mind having the the fifth floor of the 10th Street side for my apartment.

  3. I am always saddened by the alterations undertaken in Chinatown. FWIW

  4. I know the cat hoarder that lives on the 5th floor. Also, I wore a diaper outside of that building that made a chinawoman very upset.

  5. I lived & worked there for 12 years, and still currently have my photo studio occupying the 3rd floor. At various times, I've occupied the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors. My business is Kevin Loreaux Photography-

    The building is indeed interesting and beautiful inside, as well as outside. Unfortunately, the 2nd floor has been horribly adulterated. Fortunately, it is essentially unchanged from the 3rd floor up, with an open layout, and exposed walls and ceilings intact. The building once had a twin on the north side. I know this not from records, but by the fact that there are bricked up doorways on the north side which went straight through to another building. The west end of the building (which only goes up three floors) is a more recent addition (at least 90 years) to accommodate an elevator. You can see the lintels where the new addition starts, since this was a very well done job, keeping the bricks and design looking the same.

    I do not know when this building was built- I would love to know...

    There is a sentry ogre who lives in the 5th floor. He lives there with his cat/pal Joey.

  6. You know, the police busted in on me and Joey a little after midnight last night. Apparently someone was spotted climbing that south fire escape. Dude deserves a medal for bravery.

  7. Did some quick internet sleuthing (mostly googling variations on "Tenth and Cherry") and found that it may be related to Henry Tetlow Company. Found this link to "Commercial America, Volume 17" from 1920:

    There appears to be a blog about the Tetlow legacy, too:

    1. Some additional related links:

      Boyd's co-partnership and residence business directory of Philadelphia city [1st] year [1858]

      A billhead from Joseph Tetlow (Henry's son) using that address in 1906:

      Industrial Directory of 1916: