Monday, May 7, 2012

Mystery Building of the Week-- May 7th

Haverford Bicycle Company Ruin

448 North 10th Street

                      This is a cool fucking building. This big-ass motherfucker is one of the Loft District's surviving industrial buildings that is yet to be fully redeveloped. Though its roughly known where the building came from and why it was built, the structure still is replete with mysteries.
                      This 47,448 square foot behemoth will probably one day become the coolest apartment building on the Reading Viaduct, but for now, it'll continue to sit there, looking like shit. This beastoid was built around 1917 or 1918 (nobody really knows) for the Haverford Cycle Company. The ONLY reason anyone knows this is because of the ghost signs on the building stating "The Bicycle with a National Reputation".
Here's the cover to one of their catalogues, but its from before they moved to this building.
                      Some Philadelphia Speaks users were the ones who investigated the ghost signs and were able to find the record from March 1919 stating that a Max M. Sladkin purchased the land at 10th and Buttonwood for the Haverford Cycle Company with the intention of developing a bicycle factory. The only issue I have with this evidence is that another group called the Philadelphia Supplies Company claims the same address as their headquarters from 1916-1927.. so WHAT THE FUCK?!?!!
                    Haverford Cycle Company made bicycles, motorcycles, and a shitload of accessories. They existed until 1924. Other than that, there's no other records of this building's existence until 1998 when the Cuckleberger Storage Company bought the place for $170,000. Even when you look up this building's 3 addresses (1002-04 Buttonwood, 448 North 10th, and 1001-03 Hamilton), nothing comes up. Maybe some bicycle enthusiast out there knows what's up.
                    The architect for this monster is unknown but whomever it was must have been pretty good... the surviving pieces of original facade are pretty badass. It also appears that the top three floors and the abutment on the eastern side are both additions from an unknown time. The top floor seems to have been recently renovated as an office space.

Interior of the top floor (I think). From the building's new real estate listing.
                 So that's pretty much it... this building does a pretty good job of being a complete and total mystery... there's no old pictures of it other than some blurry aerial photos and one pic from 1960 where you can sort of see it behind another building, looking almost the same as it does today. What a pisser.
                 Due to the nearly inevitable greening of the Reading Viaduct, this building won't stay empty and ugly for long. Its currently for sale for $2.5 million... hopefully some developer with a titanium nutsack will come along and rehab this motherfucker to its full potential.

Pic of one of the floors from the real estate listing.
                          So... anyone know what this building was doing for most of the 20th Century? Who the architect is? How long Haverford Bicycle Company was there? and What the fuck!?!?!?!

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