Thursday, May 20, 2010

Then and Now: Southwest corner of Broad and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia

c. 1902-2010

The Stratford Hotel, originally named the Hotel St. George, was built sometime between 1875 and 1885 at the southwest corner of Broad and Walnut Streets. Eventually, the Stratford was acquired by the Hotel Bellevue, a highly successful establishment run by George C. Boldt, located directly across Walnut Street. In 1902, the Stratford Hotel was demolished to make way for Boldt's crowning achievement, the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, a luxurious 20-story Beaux-Arts tower designed by G. W. and W. D. Hewitt, former partners of Frank Furness.

The dramatic differences between the Bellevue-Stratford and its predecessor of two decades, the Stratford, reflect the astonishing growth of Philadelphia at the turn of the century and the ambition and decadence of that era. Despite numerous additions and alterations made since its initial construction, the Bellevue (as it's now called) retains much of its original character, and remains one of South Broad Street's most significant landmarks.

1. Bromley, George W. and Walter S. Atlas of the City of Philadelphia, 1885. Philadelphia: G. W. Bromley & Co, 1885.
2. Hopkins, G. M. City Atlas of Philadelphia, Vol. 6, Wards 2 through 20, 29 and 31. Philadelphia: G. M. Hopkins, C. E., 1875.
3. Thomas, George E. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Bellevue Stratford Hotel." 1976. National Park Service. United States Department of the Interior. 20 May 2010.
Original photo: Jennings, W.K. "PDCL00172." Free Library - Historical Images of Philadelphia. Philadelphia Department of Records. 19 May 2010.

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