Unlisted Philadelphia: Tourison Building

April 17, 2018 | by Ben Leech


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 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


  1. David Reid says:

    Mr. Leech, very interested in this article and the building, as well as the theater bearing his name. Sedgwick was my great uncle. The entire family of builders lost it all in the crash that year. Any links to more information or photos on this subject would be appreciated.
    David Reid, Northampton MA

  2. john bevan says:

    The Tourison Building was built when the White Swan Hotel was demolished. Would you have any history on the hotel, like the hotelkeeper’s name.

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