Royal Ceiling

September 7, 2011 |  by  |  Found  |  , ,

Anthropologie, 18th and Walnut. Photo: Peter Woodall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthropologie’s flagship store at 18th and Walnut Streets contains a room featuring one of the city’s most opulent as well as unusual ceilings. The entire ceiling features a cluster of portraits of Italian princes encircled within three-dimensional gold frames. The 1898 mansion was originally Alexander Van Rensselaer’s home and later Penn Athletic Club’s clubhouse.  In 1982, Anthropologie’s predecessor, Urban Outfitters, moved into the three-story mansion. By that time, much of the interior had already been deconstructed.


View Larger Map

About the author

Rachel Hildebrandt, a recent graduate of PennDesign, is a native Philadelphian who is passionate about the changing city she inhabits. Before beginning her graduate studies in historic preservation with a focus on policy, Rachel obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College and co-authored two books, The Philadelphia Area Architecture of Horace Trumbauer (2009) and Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan (2011). She currently works as a program associate at Partners for Sacred Places.



2 Comments


  1. Is the ceiling an installation that was put up by Anthropologie?

    • Rachel Hildebrandt

      The ceiling is original to the mansion. According to a 1982 Philadelphia Inquirer article… “The spacious four-story building was built in 1897 by Alexander Van Rensselaer , for the widowed Sarah Drexel Fell and her four small children. The next year, he married her. In 1942, the building was bought by the Penn Athletic Club, which sold it in 1963 to the Presbyterian Ministers Fund, an insurance company for clergymen, but the club continued to lease the building until 1972. In 1975, after renovations costing more than $1.1 million and taking more than a year were completed, Design Research of Cambridge, Mass., became the first retail occupant. It went out of business in 1979. A wicker store, the Eclectic Co., did business there until August 1980, and the mansion has been unused since”… When the mansion was “renovated,” much of the interior was removed, but the awesome medallion-covered ceiling was spared.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

 

Recent Posts
Planning A More Pedestrian- And Stormwater-Friendly American Street

Planning A More Pedestrian- And Stormwater-Friendly American Street

July 26, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Another open house for Northern Liberties streetscape project, nonprofits filling the gap in playground design, and 5-story mixed use to rise from Triangle Park > more

FDR Left Out Of DNC Day One, But Here He Is, Franklin Field, 1936

FDR Left Out Of DNC Day One, But Here He Is, Franklin Field, 1936

July 26, 2016  |  Vantage

Left out of DNC Day One, FDR--and his liberal coalition--was the crucible of the present day Democratic Party and a sea change in Philadelphia politics. He accepted the 1936 Democratic Party nomination at Franklin Field; here is his speech in full > more

Philadelphia Between The Conventions

Philadelphia Between The Conventions

July 25, 2016  |  Morning Blend

How much has changed since the 2000 RNC, awaiting Temple’s digital-age library, and delegates help paint murals > more

With The DNC, A Peek Inside Election Days Of The 1980s

With The DNC, A Peek Inside Election Days Of The 1980s

July 25, 2016  |  Vantage

The DNC has a former West Philly resident revisiting days of ward committees, election judging, and driving the election results to City Hall Annex. Philadelphia big D- and little d-democratic life > more

Protesting Dilworth Park's Lack Of Protests

Protesting Dilworth Park’s Lack Of Protests

July 22, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Saffron critiques priorities for central civic space, gentrification concerns scuttle Point Breeze mixed-use grocery proposal, and 30th Street Station gets a patriotic light show > more

On Callowhill, Channeling The Ghost Of Old York Road

On Callowhill, Channeling The Ghost Of Old York Road

July 22, 2016  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us down to 4th and Callowhill where an out of place fire plug summons the spirit of Old York Road > more