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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2014, 9:28 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Philly as I see it (ongoing)

Just a look at how the city I have lived in for the past 12 years has evolved, mostly for the better but occasionally for the worse.
I'll be putting up stuff that I have taken recently as well as pics that I took years ago that I have to dig through the archives (ie my hard drives).

For now I'll be focusing on stuff in and around Center City, simply because that is where I spend the most time, but I will be branching out to other areas as well. I'll be covering buildings old and new, structures being built and torn down, graffiti, street art, oddities, trails, tracks, etc...etc...

I must give a shout to the creators of the two LA threads HERE and HERE I was thinking of doing something like this for a while, kind of documenting how the city has changed over time, but these two threads (along with a couple on SSC) are what finally pushed me to embark on this project so to speak....


************
With all that out of the way I'll start on my first set, which just so happens to be my most recent....the "just opened a few days ago" Dilworth Park.

This is a replacement of the original Dilworth Plaza that was completed in the mid 1970's (after about a decade of construction) as part of the ambitious plan by Edmund Bacon to refashion Center city to modern ideals. It was named after former Mayor Richardson Dilworth who served from 1956 to 1962.

Designed by architect Vincent Kling, the plaza consisted of multiple levels clad in concrete and granite including a large sunken courtyard that was integrated into the nearby underground transit facilities (Market Frankford, Broad Street and Subway/Surface trolley lines interchange almost directly beneath) and pedestrian concourse network that extends to Suburban Station, East Market Street and South Broad Street.

Over time this plaza proved unpopular among everyday people due to it's cold hard appearance, and the only ones who frequented it were skateboarders and the homeless. Also, pressure was on to retrofit the transit station beneath to allow ADA access. Finally in 2011 plans were approved for a new plaza that would also include a partial reworking of the station complex. After the Occupy Philly protesters were evicted from the space work began to tear up and dig down. Now after over 2 of construction (beset by delays thanks to unmapped underground infrastructure) what has been rechristened Dilworth Park is finally done......well almost....

All photos were taken Sunday September 8th. 2014 during the morning hours....


049 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

050 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^New visitors center

052 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

053 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

055 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Going under:
058 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

059 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Prior to the rebuilding, this was just an "exit only" area. Now, two new fare lines have been established featuring SEPTA's newest generation turnstiles. These are equipped with Transpass slots and NPT readers, but *do not* take tokens or cash fares. Those have to be taken to the booth here....

060 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Rebuilt stairways and interior: (note the color coding: Blue for market Frankford line, Orange for Broad Street line, and Green for Subway/surface trolleys)
062 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

063 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

064 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^Elevators are not yet ready....

065 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

069 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

070 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

067 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

073 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Rebuilt area meets the existing Suburban station passage:
074 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Second stair that leads out to the park's north side, right next to the visitors' center:
077 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

078 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Subway/surface trolley station ahead, passage to Municipal Service Building to right:
079 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

080 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

082 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

South side is still being worked on:
084 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

085 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

087 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

086 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^Second entrance to the fare lobby shown earlier, will open soon....

088 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

093 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

095 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Finally! The west portal is open again!!
099 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

100 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2014, 9:38 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Dilworth Park part 2

I made a return visit during the late afternoon:

193 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

195 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

198 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

199 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

207 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

200 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

203 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

201 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

202 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

204 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

210 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2014, 10:43 AM
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Wow, this is going to be an amazing thread for Philly! And thanks for the shoutout, I can see some influences DTLADenizen and I had made (construction updates/urban life/comprehensive photo set). Keep it up, I'm looking forward to seeing more updates. I'm excited to explore Philly through your photo thread.

I love the water area in Dilworth Park, and the surrounding architecture as well.
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  #4  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2014, 5:05 PM
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summersm343 summersm343 is offline
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Looking great Shadowbat! Dilworth Plaza is a really great addition to the area. Looking forward to seeing more pictures!
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  #5  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2014, 11:46 PM
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I too am looking forward to the rest of the thread. The park formerly known as Dilworth Plaza is nice to see, though it could probably be more inviting with some more landscaping around the edge of City Hall.
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  #6  
Old Posted Sep 9, 2014, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muji View Post
I too am looking forward to the rest of the thread. The park formerly known as Dilworth Plaza is nice to see, though it could probably be more inviting with some more landscaping around the edge of City Hall.
I 100% agree. I do think once the south side is open it will soften the Park with large lawn area and tree groves. Really looking forward to tracking the changes, thanks Shadowboat.
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  #7  
Old Posted Sep 9, 2014, 8:31 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Thanks All!!

I have to look through my harddrive to see what I have of the "before" version. I know I have tons someplace....

In the meantime, here's some construction shots from above taken back in June, along with some close ups of City Hall:


011 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

054 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

083 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

076 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

065 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

055 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

051 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

048 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #8  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2014, 11:49 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Ok just found a couple. I know I have more but these will have to do. I want to move on to other stuff

These were taken Oct 2011 during Occupy Philly:
10-10-2011 028 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

10-10-2011 013 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

10-10-2011 012 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^Note how empty the lower level was compared to the surface....

10-10-2011 010 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

10-10-2011 008 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

10-10-2011 007 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

These were taken in May, 2008:
5-22-2008 024 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

5-22-2008 023 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

5-22-2008 029 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^Dug those light fixtures at least....

Next up Market East!
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  #9  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2014, 8:09 PM
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Great urban assets.
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  #10  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2014, 10:08 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Finally getting around to Market Street, figured I would start appropriately enough with Reading Terminal market....

Market street started out as High Street in William Penn's original plan for for Philadelphia. As quoted from Wiki:

Quote:
The High Street was the familiar name of the principal street in nearly every English town at the time Philadelphia was founded. But if Philadelphia was indebted to England for the name of High Street, nearly every American town is, in turn, indebted to Philadelphia for its Market Street. Long before the city was laid out or settled, Philadelphia's founder, William Penn, had planned that markets would be held regularly on the 100-foot (30 m) wide High Street. The city's first market stalls were situated in the center of the thoroughfare starting at Front Street and proceeding west eventually to 8th Street. The stalls soon became covered and were not taken down as planned. Later, additional covered sheds appeared west of Center Square as the city expanded westward. The street began to be called Market Street around 1800. The road's new name was made official by an ordinance of 1858, ironically, just a year before the market sheds were ordered removed.
Deemed unsanitary and an impediment to growing traffic, all of the market structures were razed with activity consolidated at a site on the northern side of the 1200 block which was first established in the early 1850's.

In the 1880's, the Philadelphia and Reading wanted the site for it's new passenger terminal. Eager to compete with Broad Street Station built in 1881 by it's arch rival the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Reading envisioned a palatal new structure that would not only contain a grand passenger terminal but the company's headquarters as well.

When the Reading made their plans known in 1889 this triggered protest from vendors that lasted until the railroad agreed to purchase and relocate the market one block north to 12th and Filbert Street under the platforms of the new terminal. This action required the terminal proper to be moved one story above street level.

Work finally began in 1891 and Reading Terminal Market opened in 1892, with the station itself opening on January 29th 1893. A elaborate head house in the Italian Renaissance style by Francis H Kimball fronted a train shed by the Wilson Brothers engineering firm. Measuring 267 feet with a height of 88 feet spanning 13 tracks, this structure set a world record for it's time. Under this grand structure, all of the Reading's long distance and commuter trains originated and terminated their runs.

Reading Terminal ca. 1912:

Phillyhistory

Inside the train shed Photo by George E Thomas:

Hiddencity

Reading Terminal served it's purpose well with traffic peaking during World War II (an average of 45,000 passengers passing through per day) A major renovation was carried out that "modernized" the terminal with a streamlined metal facade that was in sharp contrast with the ornate terra cotta and brick.


Exterior facelift taking shape Feb. 17, 1950:

Phillyhistory

Sun ray Drugs that opened on the corner later that year:

Phillyhistory

Despite these improvements, rail traffic declined on the Reading just like all other passenger rail lines starting in the 1950's, a victim of both highways and air travel. As the railroad and it's terminal declined, so did the market. Vacancy rose throughout the 1950's and 60's. By the 1970's the Reading went bankrupt and reorganized as a real estate company, owning the terminal as well as the track viaduct leading north. To them the rundown market was an impediment to the site's redevelopment. Trains still ran, now operated By SEPTA, but work was underway to build a new underground station that would unite SEPTA's former Pennsylvania lines (then terminating at Suburban Station) with the ex Reading routes, allowing through train service on both sides for the first time.

Still from Brian De Palma's Blowout (1981) showing John Trovolta, Nance Allen, and the platforms as they existed towards the end.

Image source

By the 1980's however, attitudes had changed, with the Reading Company viewing the terminal with it's market as an asset rather then a liability. Work began next door on a new office tower, One Reading Center, that was built in exchange for the company allowing the city of Philadelphia to continue work on the new commuter station which would be integrated with the old Terminal.

Service to Market East was phased in starting July of 1984 with all ex Reading trains moving through by November. Reading Terminal was shut down to train traffic at this time. Refurbishment of the structure began, with the main facade being restored by 1987. In 1990, ownership was transferred to the new Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority to be redeveloped as part of the new center. Reading Terminal Market Corporation, the nonprofit established by City Council in 1994, took over management.

By the end of the 90's the market was back and better than ever with the refurbishment complete and new tenants in place alongside those who were there for generations. Conventions and tourist trade make up a considerable part of the customer base, but the market also caters to a sizable local crowd as well....


078 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
Looking to the head house at 12th and market. Hard Rack cafe takes up the corner space (recently expanded) with a Dunkin Donuts and Verizon store taking up the rest of the ground floor here. Marriott (whose main hotel is next door) expanded into the upper floors ca. 1999. One Reading Center (Aramark tower) rises to the right.

059 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
This clock was installed ca. 1897, alledgedly in response to a letter of compliant from a commuter who mentioned that the Broad Street Station (of arch rival PRR) had a clock featured prominently....

051 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

049 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

048 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

039 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

032 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

031 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^All these were taken around closing time on a weekday so it looks kinda deserted

Heading inside:
029 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

025 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

022 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

The interior is divided in a grid by "avenues" with four (A-D) running north/south and eleven (numbered) running east/west.
020 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

012 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

018 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

019 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

021 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

024 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Philbert the pig, the market mascot:
013 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

015 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Last edited by shadowbat2; Oct 1, 2014 at 10:30 AM.
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  #11  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2014, 10:24 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Renovated in the late 1990's, the bottom floors of the headhouse now provide access to Jefforson (formerly Market East) Station and the Gallery Mall on the lower floor, Hard Rock Cafe and a sports bar on the first floor and the Convention Center and Marriott on the second....
067 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

068 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^Train on the right was the Reading's flagship Crusader....

069 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

070 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Exhibit hall built inside the former train shed:
072 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Hope to get more pictures from here tomorrow....
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  #12  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2014, 4:06 PM
Insoluble Insoluble is offline
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Thanks for continuing to post to this thread! I'm loving the updates. I typically do groceries at the Reading Terminal a couple of times a week and it's fascinating to read about some of the historical background. Looking forward to future posts!
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  #13  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2014, 1:27 PM
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wow, great shots!!
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  #14  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2014, 8:40 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Finally got some more from Reading Terminal Market:

003 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

004 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

005 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

006 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

011 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

012 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Biggest Pumpkin in Philly:
013 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

014 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

016 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

017 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

They were having some sort of fall harvest festival that they were cleaning up when I got here....
018 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

019 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Sorry it has taken so long between posts, a lot came up in the past few weeks. Hopefully things will settle down for now
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  #15  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2014, 7:54 PM
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Awesome thread. Philly looks beautiful.

Love the vintage images
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  #16  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2014, 10:25 PM
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That market is incredible!
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  #17  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2014, 4:24 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Starting in the mid 19th Century, Market Street east of Broad became the city's prime shopping thoroughfare with no less than six major department stores operating between 8th and 13th Streets.

Strawbridge and Clothier, Lit Brothers and Gimbel's Philadelphia all faced off from three corners of 8th and Market. Frank and Seder stood at the northeast corner of 11th street catty-corner from Snellenburg's, which occupied the southern block between 11th and 12th Streets. Wanamaker's rounded out the bunch fronting the southern block between 13th and Juniper (Penn square).


057 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
Looking toward the corner of 8th and Market (taken from 9th Street) with Strawbridge's and Lit's next door to each other. Gimbel's Market Street storefront stood on what is now the surface lot in the foreground.

Founded by two Quaker merchants, Justus Clayton Strawbridge and Isaac Hallowell Clothier, Strawbridge and Clothier was first established in 1868. Among the buildings the store occupied was a house where Thomas Jefferson maintained an office as the first Secretary of State from 1790 to 1793. Later on one W C Fields was employed here for a short time taking money and orders from departments.


Postcard from 1910:

wikipedia

During the 1920's, a new building was commissioned to that would replace most of older structures on the site. Down the street, arch rival Wanamaker's had recently rebuilt their store into a grand new emporium that put all others to shame. Seeing the need to compete and expand, Strawbridge and Clothier went fourth with building a showplace store of their own, despite worries that such an extravagant structure (cost estimated at 6.5 million 1920's dollars) would go against the families' modest Quaker principles. Indeed, when the structure was finally completed in 1931, the cost had ballooned to 10 million and had opened just as the Great Depression was taking hold, nearly bankrupting the company.


Wikipedia

Strawbridge's persevered however and opened branch stores in Ardmore and Jenkintown during this period.

After World War II, the company set it's sights on expansion once again, opening a store in Wilmington in 1951, and in the 1960's worked with developer James Rouse to open several store to anchor shopping centers in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Strawbridge and Clothier would play a major role in the redevelopment of Market East starting in the 1960's. However it would not be until the 1970's that the end result, the Gallery mall (another venture with James Rouse) would open it's doors with the store anchoring the east end and a rebuilt Gimbel's at the west.

In 1996, the Strawbridge and Clothier families sold the chain to May Department stores group. With the merger of Federated (owner of Macy's and Bloomingdales) and May stores in 2006, Federated decided to do away with the Strawbridge's name and operate a Macy's store in the Wanamaker building, where May had operated a store under it's Lord and Taylor division. (Federated would eventually change it's name to Macy's Inc.) As part of the deal, the Strawbridge's store at 8th and Market would close.

Until 2014, this retail space would sit completely dormant. Finally on October 23rd, New York City based Century 21 stores opened taking up part of the first floor and all of the second. Philadelphia Media Holdings (owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News) is based on the third floor, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has offices on the upper floors. Vacancies still persist in the remainder of the street floor as well as the entire lower level, though it is rumored that Eataly might be taking up space here. Only time will tell....


Early store building constructed in 1897 to the design of Quaker business architect Addison Hutton in the Renaissance Revival style. This is now Century 21's main entrance.
124 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

184 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

033 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

058 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^The former Corinthian Room Restaurant space is still preserved as part of the building's office conversion.

Main building constructed between 1928 and 1931. Architects Simon and Simon took cues from the Beaux Arts, classical and Colonial styles to create a structure that is both impressive yet restrained (when compared to Wanamaker's).
133 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

176 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

179 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

017 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

058 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

034 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Strawbridge's had two "merchandise" buildings across Filbert Street that were once joined by a multi level skywalk similar to the one in the background (which connects to a parking garage). These buildings were renovated (badly on the outside at least) by PMC group into apartments.

062 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

064 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
Note the hacked off ornament. Nice touch guys LOL
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  #18  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 12:27 AM
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In 1987 I moved to Philly for school. The biggest thrill for my Mom was to visit me and then go to Strawbridge and Clothier and walk around for hours. Never buy anything. Just dream.
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  #19  
Old Posted Nov 3, 2014, 4:01 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Yeah I always headed to Strawbridges as well just to look around. Really liked the massive rugs they had on the fourth floor and loved riding those Deco/streamlined escalators in the Hutton building and being greeted by the aroma of the Corinthian Room at the top, though I never took it upon myself to eat there.

To be honest though, Strawbridges (at least when I was there) never really impressed me as a whole. Besides the rugs, the restaurant, and the main floor, the place felt like any mall store with all the standard drop ceilings and cookie cutter departments with stuff that could be bought cheaper at TJ Maxx or Ross. Whether it was 8th and Market, Neshaminy or King or Prussia it all felt the same to me. Century 21 on the other hand feels a lot better in terms of atmosphere. Everything has a sense of freshness to it (of course it's new and all but still). Best of all, the windows are exposed to let natural light back in and allowing views of the street, making it feel truly "urban" in a sense.

I have to take a moment to say that I really like the way that downtown stores have been bringing the windows back. I've been to stores in vintage buildings that are taking down the walls and opening the sales floors back to the outside world (Macy's Herald Square is the most recent example), and a lot of new urban stores (like the new Nordstrom Rack on Chestnut) are actively embracing windows as well.

It seemed so many urban department stores were wanting to wall over their windows in decades past with excuses being it "saves energy" or "keeps customers more focused on the merchandise". Though in some instances it was a simple contraction of selling space, which I believe might have been the case at Strawbridge's.

Anyway enough rambling, I got some more pics of the Strawbridge's buildings from the backside:

8131 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

8133 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^This storefront on Filbert Street is not part of C21 and I'm assuming is being marketed to a new tenant....

8134 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^You can see the fresh limestone from where the multi-level skywalk to the merchandise/service building once joined....

8137 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

8142 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

8145 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #20  
Old Posted Nov 3, 2014, 4:25 AM
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Love that Strawbridge building
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