Western Union Telegraph Building

December 22, 2012 | by Dennis Carlisle (AKA GroJLart)

About the Author

GroJ Lart Dennis Carlisle (AKA GroJLart) is a former Hidden City contributor and the anonymous foulmouthed blogger of Philaphilia, where he critiques Philadelphia architecture, history, and design. He resides in Washington Square West. Carlisle has contributed to Naked Philly, the Philadelphia City Paper's Naked City Blog, and Philadelphia Magazine's Property Blog. He is currently an employee of developer Ori Feibush, owner of OCF Realty.

One Comment:

  1. Ann Winslow Carlton says:

    What a great article on Welles Bosworth and his relationship with Western Union.
    My grandfather, Newcomb Carlton was its president and might have gotten to know Welles
    through Theodore Vail.
    Welles built my grandfather a wonderful summer home in Woods Hole around the time he
    designed the Western Union building in Philadelphia. The town records state that It was completed in 1921,
    but we think it must have been a few years later before the interior was completed and livable.
    It was built on an existing stone tower that resembles a Norman tower (crenelations).
    Welles said to my grandfather,”Newcomb you have a Norman Tower, I’ll build you a Norman farm house.”
    And so he did….well, sort of:-)
    It’s a fabulous romantic place to have grown up in 3 stories with the living room on the top floor, fabulous views of
    Vineyard sound, and a gorgeous staircase in the tower.
    I have ben researching Welles for a variety of reasons, and am deeply grateful as well as moved by your wonderful
    article about him.

    Here’a poem I wrote about our house that Welles built.


    “Maybe we’re here only to say: house, bridge,
    tree., window- tower…but to say them, remember…” Rilke

    The summer house
    of my childhood
    had lots of runners.
    I was one of those,
    up and down the curved stairs
    of the tower it was built around,
    through the hallways to the rooms
    named for their colors: orange, pink, blue, green.

    It had a special smell from the ocean, the wood it was built of,
    the cedar trees surrounding it mixed with mildew, wax and time.

    Windows looked out on waves, wind, sunsets.
    Voices from the beach below rose and fell
    punctuated by the sound of tennis balls zinged from
    tightly strung adults on the grass court.

    It was a time of bicycles, tricky sail boats and boyfriends;
    of honeysuckle, snapdragons and poison ivy –
    lazy afternoons with best-friends
    avoiding summer reading lists.

    The stairs still wind around like music.
    Light sparks a familiar doorway
    as the ghost of my grandfather
    floats through it all.

    Ann W Carlton 2-2011

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