Preservation

Unlisted Philadelphia: North Broad Street Station

April 19, 2022 | by Alan Jaffe and Bryan Mckinney

Editor’s Note: A version of this story was published in the Spring 2022 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.


North Broad Street Station

Location: 2601 North Broad Street

Architect: Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele

Built: 1929

In the 1920s, when the Broad and Lehigh neighborhood hummed with manufacturing, North Philadelphia was a hub for rail lines serving the industries. Now, though shells of abandoned factories dominate the streetscape, the Reading Railroad’s North Broad Street Station still conveys the grandeur of that bygone era, its stately faccade of Indiana limestone and pink granite, broad colonnade of 30-foot-high Doric columns and magnificent clock flanked by Hermes and Chronos–gods of travel and time–all intact. In designing the station, Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele, the first African American graduate of Penn’s School of Architecture, brought the Classical Revival style they had used for the Philadelphia Museum of Art to street level. Today, this reminder of North Philadelphia’s once bustling transportation infrastructure serves as transitional housing for the homeless, its sumptuous interior of chandeliers, marble floor, and bronze medallions long gone. Like the Pennsylvania Railroad’s French chateau-inspired station (now a shopping strip) a few blocks north, North Broad Street Station, though listed on the National Register of Historic Places, merits protection on the Philadelphia Register as well.



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7 Comments:

  1. James says:

    It would cost millions to demo and reconstruct the building on a new site in Philadelphia

  2. robert kellner says:

    This area, like so many others, in the US, reflect the Jamestown-like poison we all swallowed starting in the mid-fifties extolling ‘globalism.’ Both parties’ traffic-ed it, and we are all now seeing the bitter after fruits of what we accepted as given truth. City after city, neighborhoods times hundreds of thousands. The current supply chain ‘situation’ is nothing more than a playing out of the collective juice we have swallowed, ‘hook line and sinker.’

    1. Rehabbing that train station could turn that part of the city to jobs for many.

  3. Also Davis says:

    Taking the building apart to move it is not demolition, a completely different process. Perhaps just cutting it into big pieces and loading them onto truck beds.

  4. Bob Marburg says:

    Also, in the area were several baseball parks.

  5. Warren Isom says:

    North Philadelphia station is on thePennsylvania Railroad’s main line to New York. The station eas built by the Pennsy, not the Reading. The Reading goes under the Pennsy near North Phila station on its way to Wayne Junction, Landsdale and beyond. You are correct that North Phila station is a beautiful, albeit now decayed, structure

  6. Warren Isom says:

    My bad. I wrote note on North Phila station and I was wrong. The old Reading station is almost invisible from train line and the platforms have been downgraded so that only the sign tells you there is a station. Not much different from a bus stop. Sadly, yr comments about the old Reading station can be applied to North Phila station. My apologies: shld get to know my city better. Tkd for article

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