What Would Frank Think?

 

Frank Furness

While it seems likely that if he were alive the architect Frank Furness would vote for President Barack Obama tomorrow–his father, the Unitarian minister William Henry Furness, was a leading abolitionist–it is also clear Furness was comfortable hanging around a very Romney-esque one percent. Whatever his political motivations, we know Furness was as idiosyncratic and unpredictable as his buildings–and like many path-breaking creative people, his beliefs and tastes evolved significantly over the course of his long career.

That evolution is the subject of our first entry in our second annual Frank Furness Week on the Hidden City Daily, “The Beginning and End of Frank Furness,” by our dark prince of the 19th century, GroJLart, to be published later today. During this brilliant week, which is sponsored by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, we’ll also have for you insights on Furness from his two leading scholars, Williams College professor Michael Lewis, author of Frank Furness: Architect and Violent Mind (Norton, 2001), and George Thomas, co-author of two Furness anthologies and author of a third book on Frank, due out this spring on Penn Press.

19th Street Baptist Church | Photo: Hidden City Daily

Thomas, who introduced me to Furness in 1989 during his seminal course on the architect, is the driving force behind Frank Furness 2012, a series of events and celebrations in honor of the centennial of Furness’ death in 1912.

What’s more, we’ll have the story of the fight to save a threatened Furness gem, the 19th Street Baptist Church, and brand new photo essays on two of the architect’s greatest masterpieces, the Furness Library at Penn and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

And of course we’ll conclude the week with a birthday party for Frank at the remarkable Castle Ringstetten, the upriver clubhouse of the Undine Boat House. To book your place on the tour of Undine and at the birthday party Saturday night, click HERE.

Castle Ringstetten interior | Photo: Daniel Cox

But this isn’t the only important thing going on this week at the Hidden City Daily. Today–and I think Frank Furness would be pretty excited by the work we do–we launch a long-anticipated, and very necessary crowd-funding campaign to support the journalistic work of the website. You can see our terrific video made by Andrew Ferrett of History Making Productions (and filmed, as a courtesy to us, in their studio) and donate to the campaign HERE.

Read more about what we’re trying to accomplish with this campaign HERE. The short summary is this: it costs us about $100,000 a year to run the Daily, and while we are pursuing some grant opportunities, we must rely on readers and colleagues for support. When we reach–and break through–our $15,000 crowd funding goal, we’ll be well on our way to expanding our coverage of Philadelphia’s changing built environment.

Donate HERE!

Finally, there are a few spots left on Saturday’s Inside-Out Tour of Camden. If you’re curious to see “the real Camden,” this is the event for you. Sign up HERE.

Frank Furness Week on the Hidden City Daily sponsored by:

The Athenaeum’s exhibit “Face and Form: The Art and Caricature of Frank Furness,” curated by Michael J. Lewis as part of the Athenaeum’s symposium, “Frank Furness: His City, His World,” opens November 30.

About the author

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is the novel Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press). He is also the author of Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books) and The Possible City (Camino Books). He is senior writer and script editor of the Emmy-winning documentary series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine. His essays and book reviews appear in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, The Kenyon Review, The Millions, and Fanzine.



No Comments


Trackbacks

  1. Furness Week Coverage | Hidden City Philadelphia
Recent Posts
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

Report: Philly Lead Exposure Greater Than Flint

Report: Philly Lead Exposure Greater Than Flint

February 5, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Contextualizing the Philly lead exposure numbers, L&I moves to make demolition permit process more efficient, building a stealth tower by-right, and 20 units for starving artists coming to West Philadelphia > more

Naming The Nameless On Lincoln Drive

Naming The Nameless On Lincoln Drive

February 5, 2016  |  Vantage

An eye-catching installation of t-shirts on Lincoln Drive aims to give a name to each of the victims of the city's gun violence. Brad Maule visits the historic Unitarian Society of Germantown and soaks in a heavy and cathartic experience > more

After Trade, Bourse Business Model To Tempt Techies

After Trade, Bourse Business Model To Tempt Techies

February 4, 2016  |  Morning Blend

New owners to position Bourse building as tech start-up magnet, the PR game that Temple needs to play for its stadium, Mt. Airy USA’s Philadelphia Immigrant Innovation Hub to launch tonight, and a post-storm sneckdown breakdown > more