Editor’s Note: A version of this story was published in the Spring 2023 issue of Extant, a publication of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.
Location: 2201 Pennsylvania Avenue
Architect: Elizabeth Hirsh Fleisher (Roth & Fleisher)
In her 70th year, the Parkway House is showing signs of age. The brick facade has darkened, and gleaming new condo towers rise on the skyline. Yet, the building retains a distinctive place on the cityscape.
One of the first luxury residences planted along the relatively young Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the 14-story apartment building was designed by one of Pennsylvania’s first female architects, Elizabeth Hirsh Fleisher. With partner Gabriel Roth, Fleisher worked on theaters, factories, auto showrooms, and housing in her hometown of Philadelphia.
For the Parkway House, Fleisher combined Art Deco–wide wings that step slowly down–with an unadorned International Style. Rows of rounded bay windows face the parkway, and terraces feather out along the ends of the wings. The building’s warm brick faccade was designed in harmony with the rowhouses of the Spring Garden neighborhood.
AIA Philadelphia designated the Parkway House a Philadelphia Chapter Landmark in 1989. This residential grand dame of the city’s cultural boulevard merits listing on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places as well.
It looks like it needs a facelift to regain its early glory in 1953 which was the year I was born!
Hopefully it will pique people’s interest into either buying or renovating.