Unlisted Philadelphia: Tourison Building

 

Editor’s Note: A version of this story was published in the Spring 2018 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: Tourison Building

LOCATION: 7200 Germantown Avenue

ARCHITECT: Tunis & Baker

YEAR: 1929

Mount Airy developer Sedgwick Tourison tapped the the short-lived Philadelphia firm Tunis & Baker for this eye-popping commercial block in 1929, the year after he and his brother Ashton opened the Sedgwick Theater across the street. Tunis & Baker were the architectural equivalent of one-hit-wonders, credited with only a few known projects besides the Tourison Building, including a former auto showroom still extant at 6800 Market in Upper Darby, where the firm was based. Boasting one of the most distinctive Art Deco facades in Philadelphia, the spire-crowned landmark has long been an energetic presence in the heart of Mount Airy. Like the Sedgwick Theater, its across-the-street neighbor, the Tourison Building 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



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