Unlisted Philadelphia: John Decker & Son

 
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, visit the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s website for more information.

 

BUILDING: John Decker & Son

LOCATION: 2704-06 West Girard Avenue

ARCHITECT: Unknown

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 a preservationist, architectural historian and illustrator based in Philadelphia and Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Instagram @bentleech and support his capitalist alter-ego at Archivolt Press



Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts
The Vanishing Of Northeast Village

The Vanishing Of Northeast Village

January 16, 2018  |  Vantage

David Coyne traverses bramble and broken blacktop along Roosevelt Boulevard to reveal a military housing community that was evacuated and demolished in the 1960s > more

A Field Guide To Demolition

A Field Guide To Demolition

January 12, 2018  |  Vantage

Peter Woodall spotlights specific building types facing the most development pressure in four high-profile neighborhoods > more

From Prints To Trivets, Art Imitates Life Of Manhole Covers

From Prints To Trivets, Art Imitates Life Of Manhole Covers

January 11, 2018  |  Vantage

Contributor Jonathan Schmalzbach talks with a designer and a printmaker about their obsession with manhole covers and public utility as creative muse > more

Little Corner at 10th & Market Reveals Big Legacy

Little Corner at 10th & Market Reveals Big Legacy

January 8, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

Reading Terminal, Philadelphia Mint, Drexel Institute--all prominent landmarks built by contractor Charles McCaul. The Shadow uncovers the little-known legacy of the big time builder at a nail salon on 10th Street > more

For The Love Of Carpenter Lane

For The Love Of Carpenter Lane

December 28, 2017  |  Vantage

Tony Aiello takes a stroll down Carpenter Lane in Mt. Airy where an historical timeline can be traced in architecture > more

As Inquirer Building Awaits Police HQ, A Peek Inside

As Inquirer Building Awaits Police HQ, A Peek Inside

December 26, 2017  |  Last Light

Photographer Chandra Lampreich takes a look inside the empty halls of the "Tower of Truth" > more