Learn How To Protect This Building (And Others)

 

West Philadelphia Title & Trust, 40th and Lancaster | Photo: Ben Leech

West Philadelphia Title & Trust, 40th and Lancaster | Photo: Ben Leech

America’s system of historic preservation is a motley patchwork, with each city creating its own set of statutes and systems for adminstration. In Chicago and New York City, large professional staffs create all nominations for the local historic register; in Philadelphia, the Historical Commission’s small staff has led to a cobbled-together system for adding properties to the historic register that relies in part on private efforts. The Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia writes most new nominations, with Historical Commission staff, CDCs and other community groups occasionally getting in on the act.

And unlike Chicago and New York, individual citizens can create a nomination, an unusually democratic opportunity that is seized all too rarely because nominations are fairly technical and time consuming. But they aren’t impossibly complicated for people with good research and writing skills, especially with a bit of tutoring, which is why we’ve put together a workshop on Wednesday, January 16th led by the Preservation Alliance’s Ben Leech that will outline how to create a nomination. To sign up for the free workshop, click HERE. We’re also going to put theory into practice and work up a real nomination for the West Philadelphia Title & Trust Building on 40th and Lancaster Streets.

West Philadelphia Title & Trust in 2008  | Photo: Courtesy James Wright, People's Emergency Center

West Philadelphia Title & Trust in 2008 | Photo: Courtesy James Wright, People’s Emergency Center

The former bank is not in danger of being demolished, and that’s a good thing–we don’t want to race against the clock the first time around. Indeed, the circa 1897 building designed by architect Walter Smedley has had a rebirth of sorts recently thanks to the efforts of the People’s Emergency Center. The group worked with the building’s owner to remove the massive billboard that was obscuring the ornate decorations that capped the facade. A number of smaller signs were taken down, too, and the brickwork cleaned and repointed. Putting the building on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places would not only protect it from being demolished, but also prevent a return to the clutter of signage.

To sign up for the free workshop, click HERE.

Peter Woodall is the co-editor of Hidden City Daily. He is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, and a former newspaper reporter with the Biloxi Sun Herald and the Sacramento Bee. He worked as a producer for Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane and wrote a column about neighborhood bars for PhiladelphiaWeekly.com.



1 Comment


  1. this really needs to be tailor to the city of Philadelphia in someways however other cities like Philadelphia can take much needed cues on how to save history. North Philadelphia like other cities is fighting the “dollar store wars.” Its very suspect when a old building needs to be torn down to only be followed by: a dollar store. The trendy neighborhoods would never stand for this so why should North Phila? I’ve been around the world and there is only ONE Philadelphia I’m not sure people understand this?

Leave a Reply

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

 

Recent Posts
A Moving Monument

A Moving Monument

December 5, 2016  |  News

Nearly four years after Hidden City proposed relocating the forlorn Newkirk Viaduct Monument from the side of the train tracks to the forthcoming Bartram's Mile segment of the Schuylkill River Trail system... that has happened. Brad Maule has the story of the 177-year-old monument's relocation > more

Inside SEPTA's Unused Underground Concourse, To Be Restored

Inside SEPTA’s Unused Underground Concourse, To Be Restored

December 2, 2016  |  Last Light

The Center City Concourse, a network of underground pedestrian walkways, has sat empty and largely unused for decades. But big plans are in the works to reopen and reanimate the dead space. Samantha Smyth and Chandra Lampreich takes us into the abandoned tunnels with this photo essay > more

Location Is Everything: Confessions Of A PhillyHistory User

Location Is Everything: Confessions Of A PhillyHistory User

November 30, 2016  |  Vantage

Volunteer PhillyHistory.org geotagger Louis Lescas is an urban historian, map wiz, and human GPS system all wrapped up in one. In this personal essay he shares his love and obsession with hunting locations of old photos for the Philadelphia City Archive > more

Triumph And Tragedy Under The El

Triumph And Tragedy Under The El

November 28, 2016  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow takes us to Front and Dauphin where the tragic downfall of a prosperous women's apparel merchant is entombed in sneakers and stucco > more

My Favorite Place: Rare Book Department At FLP

My Favorite Place: Rare Book Department At FLP

November 23, 2016  |  My Favorite Place

Join Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, and Grip the raven inside the Rare Book Department of the Free Library in the newest installment of My Favorite Place > more

Marked Potential: Fidelity Trust Company

Marked Potential: Fidelity Trust Company

November 22, 2016  |  Marked Potential

For this month's Marked Potential Shila Griffith is North Philly bound to convert an old bank on Lehigh Avenue into a market cafe and community co-working space > more