Unlisted Philadelphia: John Decker & Son

 

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Editor’s Note: A version of this story was published in the fifth issue of Extant, a publication of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

Unlisted Philadelphia highlights interesting and significant Philadelphia buildings not yet listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. To learn more about the local designation process and how you can participate in nominating a building to the Philadelphia Register, click HERE.

 

Building: John Decker & Son

Location: 2704-06 West Girard Avenue

Year: 1891

Decorative cornice manufacturing was a lucrative trade in the row house neighborhoods that rose across Philadelphia in the late 19th century. Established in Brewerytown in the early 1870s, the John Decker & Son Architectural Sheet Metal Works erected this monumental cornice-cum-billboard across the two Girard Avenue row houses fronting their factory in 1891. Adorned with stock ornament and a checklist of the company’s products—TIN ROOFING, COPPER CORNICES, METAL SKY-LIGHTS—the façade survives in remarkable condition today.

The Decker Building may well be the most striking architectural landmark along Brewerytown’s rejuvenating commercial corridor. Its importance was recognized when the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011 as part of the Girard Avenue West Historic District. However, it is not listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

About the author

Ben Leech is the former Director of Advocacy at the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and is a proud dual citizen of Philadelphia and Lancaster (a Philancadelphisterian?). He dabbles in illustration, architectural and otherwise. Some of his extracurricular activities are on display at btleech.tumblr.com

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