4 South Broad Street
|Furness is best.|
One of the best things about this building is how it conveys a sense of height even though it's actually quite small by today's standards. Even in it's own time, it was about the same height or shorter than the buildings on the rest of Broad Street.
|Some time in the 00's. 1900's, that is. This angle shows how petite this building actually was.|
Since the bank was run by a group of some of the most hardcore businessmen in the city, they knew where development was going to be moving in the future. They purchased a small plot of land at the corner of Broad Street and Penn Square in 1892 for $38,000, knowing that the location was going to be the city's new business center.
A. Lewis Smith was the bank's president due solely on seniority. This guy was like 70 years old at this point, which meant a lot more then than it does now. When he retired, he appointed his Vice-President, a young go-getter, to the helm on November 12, 1894. Horace A. Doan took the bank and ran with it. He built the bank very quickly and soon they were outgrowing their offices.
|Horace A. Doan|
Furness went all-ape on this one. He created a pattern that looks like the facade of one of his smaller bank buildings from earlier times and replicated over and over again so that the new building would look like 12 of his smaller buildings interlocked together.
|Close up of the pic at the top. The facade was this awesome little building over and over again.|
Construction was completed and West End Trust officially moved in on August 14th, 1899. Business was huge and a small mention of the buildings' beauty was written whenever referring to the bank in the literature of the day. Architecture critics hated it; no surprise there. Their most common complaint was that Furness doesn't know how to design a highrise. Later highrises he designed would look more and more conventional as a result.
|West End towards the end of its short life. The two other buildings show Furness' change in style to more conventional-looking shit.|
In 1930, the Girard Trust Bank became interested in expanding their Furness-designed palace next door. In that year, they knocked the 31-year-old West End Trust the fuck down and built their new cool-looking office tower that still stands today as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
I can't really complain too much about this building being lost... the spot it was in couldn't stay that small forever. Just remember as you look at these pictures... this thing was a brightly colored red, pink, and beige when it was new. It darkened toward the end but still retained its Furnessian regality. RIP, motherfucker, RIP.
|Close-up of the cool-ass crown of the building.|