Look Up! A well-preserved reminder of 19th-century hospitality

“Look Up!” is a PlanPhilly feature that encourages appreciation of our architectural and historical environment. The photo essays focus on different Philadelphia areas and their distinctive building styles and details, all of which make up the physical fabric of the city and region.

As Philadelphia welcomes a resurgence of new hotels and proposals for even more, some of its early establishments enjoy new, repurposed lives.

The St. Charles Hotel, 60-66 North 3rd Street, has been reborn as St. Charles Court, four stories of luxury apartments and ground level retail shops in a lively section of Old City. The building is very well preserved, from its stained glass windows on the first story, to the ornate lintels on the second level, to the beautifully restored faux stone façade.

The St. Charles was built by Charles Rubicam in 1851, using brick and cast-iron, a new construction material, which was painted to imitate brownstone. The design also imitated Italian Renaissance palaces, with floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto a balcony that runs the length of the building.

Inside, the hotel featured eating and drinking saloons, a ladies’ parlor and 50 guest rooms, according to the Historic American Buildings Survey of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The stained glass panels, it adds, were designed by Huneker and Brant.

The first floor was altered in 1920; the second floor was transformed into offices in 1975; the transition to apartments began in 1980.

Rubicam also worked locally on the Caleb, Cope and Company Store on the 400 block of Market Street, which became Goldberg’s Army-Navy in the 1930s, but was demolished in 1970.

“Look Up” Beaux Arts beauty at Penn

“Look Up” Moderne and Machine Age Schools

“Look Up” Frank Miles Day mansions
“Look Up” Thomas Ustick Walter’s columns

“Look Up”  Jacob Reed Building

“Look Up” Ronald McDonald House 

“Look Up” Jeweler’s Row

“Look Up” Abington’s flirtation with Hollywood

“Look Up” Rittenhouse Square’s stables

“Look Up” Fairmount’s contribution to the row home dynamic

“Look Up” Drexel’s Poth Dynasty

“Look Up” Wright’s Ardmore Experiment

“Look Up” Contemporary neighbors in Society Hill

“Look Up” Imaginative Eyre on Locust Street

“Look Up!” Elfreth’s Alley has issues

“Look Up” Architectural exercises on Boathouse Row

“Look Up!” John Notman’s brownstone temples

“Look Up!” 19th Century luxe on Locust St.

“Look Up!: 20th Century evolution in East Falls

“Look Up!” Rural retreats in Northeast Philly

“Look Up!” Modernist lines on Haverford Ave.

“Look Up!” Chestnut Hill’s modernist gems

“Look Up” Furness Chapel
Contact the writer at ajaffe@planphilly.com.

“Look Up!” The Art Deco Palace of Mt. Airy
Look Up! An architect’s legacy on Spruce Street
Look Up!” The French Village in Mt. Airy
“Look Up” and check out the nouveau mansions of North Broad

“Look Up” and check out elegant Southwark
“Look Up” and check out Henry Disston’s company town
“Look Up: and check out Spruce Hill
“Look Up” and check out Green Street
“Look Up” and check out West Laurel Hill
“Look Up” and check out Parkside
“Look Up” and check out Awbury Arboretum
“Look Up” and check out Nicetown
“Look Up” and check out Overbrook Farms
“Look Up” and check out Girard Estate
“Look Up” and check out Rittenhouse/Fitler Square

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