What the Hale is in There?

From opulent bank building, to theater, to gay bath house, we’ve got the story of the Hale building HERE.

About the author

Michael Burlando is a designer, builder, photographer, and lover of all things Philadelphia. While earning his Master of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Michael restored an 1870's Victorian rowhouse. After graduation he spent two years at the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings, and Merill before returning to Philadelphia with his wife in 2010. He now manages construction projects for Columbus Construction, lives in Graduate Hospital, runs the revived Philly Skinny, and blogs at brlndoblog.blogspot.com.



13 Comments


  1. You know, I really love what you guys do here, but an exterior shot or two with some of these stories would really go a long way.

  2. Terrific images from Mr. Burlando. Amazed (or maybe I shouldn’t be) at the extent of decay here. Sad to see for such a ‘fantastic’ building.

  3. They have one if you click on the READ MORE link under “The Power of Place.”

  4. For those not already in the know, the “Locker Room Room Deodorizer” in photo number six is a bottle of poppers. This artifact derives from the building’s gay bathhouse days, during which inhaling from this little bottle would have enhanced sexual pleasure. To see the poppers bottle with its coating of archaeological rubble made me chuckle. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poppers

  5. Visiting Philadelphia, I was wandering and enjoying the astonishing collection of architecture in center city, looked up and was even further astounded by what I now know to be the Hale Building. The web is a wonderful resource, and my curiosity is at least partially satisfied by the sad story in these photographs and linked articles. One can understand how such a building would have been subject to the whims of fashion, and the disdain of critics in the grip of classicism, modernism, brutalism, or whatever. But clearly many have moved beyond that and value it for the wild wonder it is. I hope someone can save it. It is remarkable how many great original details remain, even in the ruined interiors. I would have loved to see what lies behind those extraordinary turret windows on the upper facade, but perhaps they are inaccessible or unsafe. Thanks so much.

  6. I have some more photos I could add to this set if anyone likes.

Recent Posts
Bless Our Beer Gardens, Past and Present

Bless Our Beer Gardens, Past and Present

October 20, 2014  |  Behind the Facade

Drinking al fresco reached new heights this summer as brilliantly designed beer gardens popped up all over the city. This isn't anything new though, says Nic Esposito. Philadelphia has been publicly drunk since 1671 > more

Old City Orange Façade To Be Preserved

Old City Orange Façade To Be Preserved

October 20, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Historical Commission okays Old City development, the emblematic stairway at the Barnes, Blatstein serious yet anxious about The Provence, 10 homes for NoLibs, and a salvaged cornice delights in Fishtown > more

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

October 17, 2014  |  Vantage

With October at hand and Halloween on the way, we thought a series on historic cemeteries was most appropriate. Our first story presents the strange tale of thirty tombstones that sit embedded in the back wall of the Presbyterian Historical Society > more

Existential Tug-Of-War Along West Cecil B. Moore Avenue

Existential Tug-Of-War Along West Cecil B. Moore Avenue

October 17, 2014  |  Morning Blend

The identity crisis of TempleTown, Family Court opens, artist space coming to Grays Ferry, mixed-use for Ridge, inside the Bok storage facility, and PhillyU collects $60M > more

Improvements Possible For The Schuylkill Boardwalk

Improvements Possible For The Schuylkill Boardwalk

October 16, 2014  |  Morning Blend

How to upgrade the successful trail extension, Temple investing in its athletic programs once more, developer slowly selling houses in Somertown, and lackluster restriping plans for Washington Avenue > more

In East Kensington, Housing Development To Replace Little Berlin's

In East Kensington, Housing Development To Replace Little Berlin’s “Fairgrounds”

October 15, 2014  |  News

Viking Mills owner selling lot that artists collective has activated for the past four years. Emma Jacobs reports on what's coming and why > more