This In From The Department Of Sleuthing

 

Trenton Evening Times, March 24, 1925

There’s a little less Power in the Trum, after all. Monday’s article by The Shadow on the Equitable Trust Building caused the folks at the Athenaeum to look through the Horace Trumbauer files for evidence that the gilded age architect had in fact designed the building. Their own Philadelphia Architects and Buildings database said he did. The building’s nomination to the National Register of Historic Places said he did.

He didn’t.

“We couldn’t find any reference whatsoever in our drawing registers or account books, in the Trumbauer files here at the Athenaeum, which would mean his firm didn’t make any drawings and didn’t charge a commission (not bloody likely for a 21 story office tower!),” writes the Athenaeum’s chief archivist Bruce Laverty in an e-mail. “The National Register nomination form (below) cites this as Trumbauer’s work but the actual architect of the building was A.F. Gilbert of New York (*see correction at bottom), who had an even stronger architectural pedigree than Trumbauer, having led Daniel Burnham & Co.’s architectural office in New York and having designed the 1915 Equitable Building at 120 Broadway, one of the tallest, if not the tallest structure in New York at the time.”

From the Equitable Trust National Register Application

Laverty confirms that Louis Cahan hired Gilbert. Trumbauer, he notes, was involved in the process as the consulting architect.

Athenaeum staff have cleaned up the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings listing, which you can find HERE.

* Correction: Ernest R. Graham was architect for the 1915 Equitable Building in New York City. You can read more about that building HERE

About the author

Nathaniel Popkin is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and author of three books of non-fiction, including the forthcoming Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple Press) and a novel, Lion and Leopard (The Head and the Hand Press). He is the senior writer of the film documentary "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."



2 Comments


  1. I’m assuming that the Gilbert who designed this building was related to Cass Gilbert? I know his son was also an architect.

  2. I was just standing on Locust Street this morning gazing at the building thinking ,”yes, it’s Trumbauer, but doesn’t look like it…”

Trackbacks

  1. Horace TrumPower’s Gilded Age Castle | Hidden City Philadelphia

Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
Secrets! Romance! Scandal! The Hush-Hush Love Of Philly's Paint King And His Irish Lass

Secrets! Romance! Scandal! The Hush-Hush Love Of Philly’s Paint King And His Irish Lass

December 8, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us to Old City where the flames of a secret affair scorched newspaper headlines in the early 1900s > more

Marc Lamont Hill Energizes Germantown Ave With New Bookstore Cafe

Marc Lamont Hill Energizes Germantown Ave With New Bookstore Cafe

December 6, 2017  |  Vantage

Academic, activist, and political commentator Marc Lamont Hill carries the tradition of the Black-owned bookstore into the 21st century with Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books. John Henry Scott has the details > more

Give $$$, Get a Cool Perk: 2017 Campaign

Give $$$, Get a Cool Perk: 2017 Campaign

December 4, 2017  |  Vantage

Hidden City's annual fund drive is in full swing on Generosity and we've got a brand new batch of perks celebrating Philadelphia available. Here's a look at this year's killer lineup > more

Three Historic Designation Removals Call Procedure Into Question

Three Historic Designation Removals Call Procedure Into Question

November 30, 2017  |  Vantage

Three historic properties on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places were abruptly stripped of legal protection last week. Contributor Starr Herr-Cardillo unpacks the details of each situation > more

Before Digital Sign Domination, A Giant Coffee Pot Reigned Supreme

Before Digital Sign Domination, A Giant Coffee Pot Reigned Supreme

November 29, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow pours us a steamy cup of Center City history with the story behind Ellis Coffee Company's ginormous percolator that once lorded over South 16th Street > more

This #GivingTuesday, Rev Up Our Hope Machine

This #GivingTuesday, Rev Up Our Hope Machine

November 28, 2017  |  Vantage

Oil our gears, tune up our engine, our annual fund drive is our hope machine, providing us with enough operating support to produce 150 news and feature articles a year. Give now and keep the Hidden City Daily going for another year > more