Friday, March 19, 2010

Then and Now: Northwest corner of 10th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia


The corner of 10th and Arch Streets now boasts two of Chinatown's most important landmarks. The Trocadero Theatre at 1003-1005 Arch Street was first built as the Arch Street Opera House in 1870, designed by Edwin Forrest Durang, known primarily as an architect of Catholic churches. In its 140-year history, the theater has gone through at least 11 name changes and multiple interior renovations. The building was last fully restored in 1979, when it reopened as a short-lived Chinese-language movie and theater venue. Since the 1980s, the Trocadero has operated as an independent club and concert hall.

The city's Chinatown Friendship Gate straddling 10th Street grew out of a joint venture between the city of Philadelphia and its Chinese sister city of Tianjin, spurred by the efforts of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation. Assembled by 12 of China's finest artisans, the 40-foot gate was completed in 1984 and repainted in 2008.

1. Philadelphia Architects and Buildings
2. Davis, Carolyn. "Face-lift for Friendship Gate - Five artisans have arrived from China to restore the weathered, peeling Chinatown landmark to its former brilliance." Philadelphia Inquirer. 26 Jul. 2008: E01.
3. Williams, Edgar. "A gateway from the homeland."
Philadelphia Inquirer. 2 Dec. 1983: B07.
Original photo: Blanck and R. Carollo. "Department of Public Property-41202-0." 1960. Philadelphia City Archives. Philadephia Department of Records.

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