Happy 174th, Frank!

 

This will be the second annual celebration honoring the birth of Frank Furness. “Fearless Frank,” as we like to call him, is, (with apologies to Thomas U. Walter, William Strickland, Willis Hale and Howe & Lescaze), our favorite Philadelphia architect. This may seem like a rather tenuous excuse for a party, and a precious one to boot, yet it has been the passion of enthusiasts, as much as the work of scholars, that has rescued Furness’s reputation from the anti-Victorian abyss that threatened to swallow his architectural legacy during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Indeed, from steampunk to cocktails, many varieties of Victoriana have been revived through the labors of intrepid fans, leading to things both wonderful–the return of the rye Manhattan–and the dubious–the 1999 movie Wild Wild West. Even Wilkie Collins and his proto-detective novel The Moonstone has undergone a revival of sorts.

Philadelphia has never really excelled at Midwestern boostermism, but who knows, perhaps the genuine passion of locals embodied in events like this one will one day pair Furness and Philadelphia in the national imagination, much like Sullivan and Chicago, Neutra and Los Angeles and, further afield, Gaudi and Barcelona. Why not cheesesteaks, pretzels, the Liberty Bell, Rocky and…Fearless Frank? That’s something worth raising a glass to.

The photos above were taken by Daniel Cox before last year’s party. They are meant to whet, rather than satisfy your appetite. Photos can give you a sense of a place, but they can’t reproduce what both the Undine Barge Club and Castle Ringstetten have in spades, and that’s atmosphere. For more info on the party, click HERE.


Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
Urban Decay As American As Beer And Apple Pie

Urban Decay As American As Beer And Apple Pie

February 21, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow taps into Philly beer history and frozen pie trivia at the old Adam Scheidt Brewing Company plant on North 9th Street > more

Unlisted Philadelphia: Atlantic Snuff Company

Unlisted Philadelphia: Atlantic Snuff Company

February 17, 2017  |  Unlisted Philadelphia

Architectural illustrator Ben Leech spotlights unique and significant buildings not protected on the local register with his series, Unlisted Philadelphia. In this installment, a High Victorian in Chinatown that's still up to snuff > more

Inside The Empty, Gilded Halls Of Elkins Estate

Inside The Empty, Gilded Halls Of Elkins Estate

February 16, 2017  |  Last Light

Photographer Kris Catherine gives an exclusive look inside the opulent mansions of Elkins Estate > more

Dial Up For The Latest Election News

Dial Up For The Latest Election News

February 14, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. dials up the Evening Telegraph Information Bureau, a pilot communications service in 1905 that provided Keystone Telephone customers with news and information at a moment's notice > more

La Salle University Threatens Germantown Landmarks

La Salle University Threatens Germantown Landmarks

February 9, 2017  |  Soapbox

On Friday, the Historical Commission will consider legal protections for two historic Germantown homes. Owners La Salle University will oppose the nominations to retain their right to demolition. Arielle Harris makes a case for saving these two Wister family properties and reveals La Salle's long tradition of razing neighborhood landmarks > more

Paging Dr. Typewriter: Healing Old Tech On Fabric Row

Paging Dr. Typewriter: Healing Old Tech On Fabric Row

February 8, 2017  |  Walk the Walk

Bryan Kravitz brings old Remingtons back from the dead at his repair shop in Mt. Airy and typing salon in South Philly. Joe Brin has the story > more