Saturday, January 23, 2010

Then and Now: Northwest corner of Broad and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia


The neoclassical Girard Trust Bank building at the northwest corner of Broad and Chestnut Streets is one of the last and lesser-known works of Frank Furness, completed in 1908 after he had largely abandoned the uniquely exuberant style of his earlier work. Its great main hall is now the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, also housed in the attached Girard Trust Company tower (1931).

The tower immediately behind the Girard Bank to the left is the Morris Building, another late and largely forgotten work of Furness. Damaged by the One Meridian Plaza fire in 1991, the 21-story structure was demolished in 2001 by developer Tim Mahoney. Alas, redevelopment plans for the site, including the most recently proposed Waldorf-Astoria hotel and residences, seem to remain in limbo.

1. Philadelphia Architects and Buildings
2. Saffron, Inga. "The city's loss is also the city's gain." Philadelphia Inquirer. 21 Aug. 2001.
Original photo: "Historic Commission-49785-0." 1962. Philadelphia City Archives. Philadelphia Department of Records. 21 Jan. 2010.

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