Beauty On High

 

Editor’s Note: The architects of the late 19th and early 20th century were so drunk on elaborate decorations that they placed them not only at street level, but also 10, 15, 20 stories up, where almost no one could see them clearly except the upper floor occupants of adjacent buildings. We’ve always wondered what the heck some of them looked like, so we sent Rob Lybeck out with a telephoto lens to bring back an answer. In a word, beautiful. The locations of all of the photos in the gallery above are identified in the individual photos below.

Witherspoon Building, Walnut and Juniper Streets

15th and Ranstead

Drake Building, 1500 block of Spruce Street

American Bible Publication Society, 1400 block of Chestnut Street

Keystone Bank/Hale Building, Chestnut and Juniper

Warwick Hotel, 17th and Locust Streets

Drake Building, 1500 block of Spruce Street

Witherspoon Building, Walnut and Juniper Streets

Witherspoon Building, Walnut and Juniper Streets

Warwick Hotel, 17th and Locust

Witherspoon Building, Walnut and Juniper Streets

City Hall

235 S.15th St. Building. 13th Floor.

235 S.15th St. Building. 13th Floor.

275 S. 15th Street

275 S. 15th St. Building

Keystone Bank/Hale Building, Chestnut and Juniper

Chatham Building, 20th and Walnut Streets

Keystone Bank/Hale Building, Chestnut and Juniper

About the author

Rob Lybeck is fascinated by Philadelphia's architecture and its embellishments. He endeavors to raise an awareness of the city's unique built environment through his photography. What began years ago as the chosen theme for a course assignment, has developed into a lifelong passionate pursuit: photographing the many diverse architectural styles and building details of the metropolitan area. His work can be seen here on flickr.



1 Comment


  1. Center City’s older buildings are a treasure trove of details and I’ve also wondered as to why exactly they’re so often just high enough and just small enough to escape everyday attention. Perhaps they were intended to be something that had to be looked for. Let us not forget the conservative approach that builders in this city have historically had for architectural embellishment (notwithstanding the presence of perhaps the most ornate building in Philadelphia smack in the middle of Center City) and putting those details on cornices and pediments rewards those who take the time to admire the buildings.

Recent Posts
Fabric Row Clothed In Light

Fabric Row Clothed In Light

February 10, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Fabric Row gets new street lighting, affordable housing set for Point Breeze, North Philly museum provides setting for short film, and Dranoff gets an assist from Squilla > more

The Life And Death Of Callowhill

The Life And Death Of Callowhill

February 10, 2016  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Callowhill Street is now a two-way from 2nd Street to Columbus Boulevard, changing the one-way east-heading regulation that has been in place since I-95 was built. Harry K connects the new ordinance with the salty history and sad ending of the surrounding neighborhood > more

Water Taxiing To The Navy Yard?

Water Taxiing To The Navy Yard?

February 9, 2016  |  Morning Blend

A plan for water taxing to the Navy Yard, The Gallery redevelopment delayed once more, PennDOT to reconfigure Franklin Institute’s Winter Street, SEPTA looking to increase El capacity, and more scenes of Philly in the snow > more

Low Income Housing For Artists In West Powelton To Break Ground

Low Income Housing For Artists In West Powelton To Break Ground

February 8, 2016  |  Buzz

Affordable live-work space project in West Philadelphia will provide stable rent costs to area artists > more

In South Philly, Rethinking Urban Agricultural

In South Philly, Rethinking Urban Agricultural

February 8, 2016  |  Morning Blend

“Farm to folk” in South Philadelphia, Philly’s newest poetess, celebrate the Year of the Monkey at Reading Terminal, West Philly High redevelopment moving along, and the last month of the Fabric Workshop and Museum’s latest exhibit > more

Flexible Flyer Factory Glides Into Obscurity

Flexible Flyer Factory Glides Into Obscurity

February 8, 2016  |  Vantage

If it wasn't for Philadelphia and the S.L. Allen & Co. the mortality rate of snow sledders at the turn of the century would have been much higher. The farming implement maker introduced steering to sleds in 1900 with their popular Flexible Flyer, taking winter recreation by storm. New contributor Robert Masciantonio has the backstory and takes us inside the old manufacturing plant in Fairhill > more