Historic 1619-23 Walnut loses large piece of facade

(Photo credits: J. Randall Cotton for the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia)


Sometimes, news just jumps out in front of you.

I was on my way to visit the Preservation Alliance headquarters on Walnut Street Wednesday morning when I ran into a phalanx of Philadelphia police cruisers and yellow tape. Walnut Street was closed between 16th and 17th and the sidewalks and street in that block were strewn with fist and football size chunks of what looked like polished granite.

After a heavy rain and lightning event Tuesday night the seven- story 1619-23 building on Walnut lost a rectangle of stone facade. It was obvious that the slabs that fell had been adhered with a bonding agent to the subsurface of the building.

Thankfully, no one was injured.

Elise Vider, Deputy Director/Chief Operating Officer of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia told me the building is listed as significant in the Rittenhouse Fitler Historic District. While the structure is in a National Register district it is not locally designated, which means it can be demolished or altered without city approval.


Here is the register info verbatim:

1619-23 Walnut St.

Built 1937 by Tilden and Pepper, architects for the Pennsylvania Company. 13-story, 8-register International Style office building. Black granite base, yellow brick piers framing central bays clad with gold veined black granite. 1st floor, original aluminum framed side entrance and shopfront with central entrance. 5th and 7th floors glazed with single light sash set flush with facades. Floors 3 through 12 have granite panels fined (sic) with bronze bolts. Crenelated parapet. Important early example of the international style in Philadelphia. Rich mixture of traditional and modern materials, ie granite and aluminum. Significant


The Apple Store blog (photo courtesy of Apple) reported in January that Apple was considering setting up shop in a portion of the building which was once home to Brasserie Perrier, Westinghouse Broadcasting and KYW Radio.




Posted by Matt Golas

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal