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  #21  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2014, 5:09 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Lit brothers was founded in 1891 by Samuel and Jacob Lit who opened a dry goods store across N 8th Street from Strawbridge and Clothier. As the store expanded, it acquired properties to the east and north. In many cases, existing commercial buildings were reused (one dating back to 1859) and new structures were added as well. Architects Charles M. Autenrieth and Edward Collins fashioned all structures, new and old, in the Renaissance Revival style with common display windows on the first floor. Octagonal turrets defined the corners right above the entrances. These architectural features (along with a copious amount of white paint) helped to unify the structures, which differed in age as well as facade material: marble, cast iron, granite, and brick.

By 1907 the entire northern block front of market Street between 7th and 8th belonged to Lits. Large roof top signs beckoned the store's name to passerby and many shoppers fondly remember the "HATS TRIMMED FREE OF CHARGE" inscription above the corner entrances.



HABS image from wiki

022 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Lits featured moderately priced merchandise and catered to a more ethnically diverse clientele than other Market Street merchants.


298 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

139 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

016 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Further expansion consisted of an additional wing along N 7th Street. Completed in 1919, this seven story structure consists of an Italianate facade executed in brown brick that stands as a sharp contrast to it's neighbor.

141 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

144 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

146 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Like Strawbridge's, Lits had it's service buildings north of the store between Filbert and Arch streets.

145 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

299 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

304 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

288 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Bankers Security corporation purchased Lits in 1928 and merged the company in with it's City Stores division, which operated mutiple retail banners across the country (today CSS industries) Starting in the 1950's Lits opened branch stores in Northeast and South Philadelphia as well as the growing suburbs. However by the 1970's the store found itself falling behind with the times with aging stores in declining areas. In 1977 the doors closed for good.

Throughout the early 80's the structures sat vacant and increasingly derelict. Developers eyed the site for a new office tower and demolition was approved despite a historic listing in 1979.



August 1984 Phillyhistory


Phillyhistory

Plans would change for the better however as the site was sold in 1987 to Brickstone Realty, who sought a different approach. Under their watch the buildings were restored externally and re purposed into modern office space with retail stores on the ground floor and lower level food court. Mellon Bank signed on as a tenant and the complex was renamed Mellon Independence Center upon reopening in 1989.

In February 2014, Brickstone put up for sale a 75% stake in the property, although it will continue to manage it. A renovation is planned that will redesign the interior, add new lighting and signage (and hopefully removing the ugly canopies in front of the entrances as well)


Oh and a tower is planned as well.

168 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Last edited by shadowbat2; Feb 17, 2015 at 12:44 AM.
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  #22  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2014, 5:15 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Some more of the Lits building:
137 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

050 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

017 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

023 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

024 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

029 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

032 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

033 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

057 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

165 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #23  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2015, 10:59 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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The square block bounded by market, chestnut, 11th and 12th was one of the many properties owned by Stephan Girard and were placed in an estate trust following his death in 1831. Once the richest man in the world, Girard's holdings were assessed at 7 million dollars (worth tens of billions today) In accordance to his will, 2 million dollars were set aside to establish a college in his name. None of the properties were to be sold and revenue from ground leases were to be used to fund the school's operations.

According to my research, the first retail stores were built on the site by the mid 1870's and by 1882, the 22 shops along Market street was taking in $32,812 a year while the 16 on Chestnut were making $56,000. A brand new department store was constructed by the estate in 1886 at 11th and Market that was leased to the Hood, Bonbright and Colonial, a retailer that would be purchased by N. Snellenburg and Co. in 1889.


11th and Market ca 1910:

source

Founded at 3rd and South Streets in 1869, the store would later move to 5th and south to a building that still stands today in a severely contracted form. With it's new location on Market Street the "thrifty store for thrifty people" formed one of the western anchors of Market Street east of City hall, and soon expansions were underway to fill the rest of the block to 12th Street, with a fifteen year initial lease signed on January 1, 1898.

Meanwhile, a 14 story office building was constructed on the western side of the block facing 12th Street. Designed by Girard College alumni James H Windrim this building was considered one of the first "skyscrapers" in Philadelphia upon it's opening on December 18, 1897. In addition to offices for rent, this structure also contained the headquarters of the Girard estate board for about a decade.

From 12th st ca 1898


source

Entrance March of 1970:

source

1916 saw the completion of the 8 story Snellenburg's Men's Store Annex that was leased to the company initially for 20 years. In 1939, a new structure was built taking up the entire Chestnut Street frontage. Besides containing a parking garage and new entrance for Snellenburg's, this building also housed several other retail outlets and office space.


Chestnut Street looking east from 12th, November 1959:

source

12th Street looking north to Market, November 1959:

source

Butter sale June of 1946:

source

Quote:
"Here's a part of the crowd of 6000 who jammed the Snellenburg Store, 1125 Chestnut Street, yesterday when 4000 pounds of butter went on sale."

source

Quote:
"A Mechanical man Inspects a Mechanical Utility." Entertainment at a festival presented by local Ford dealers at Snellenburg's. A Ford V-8 sedan was given every day by Snellenburg's to a customer who best answered in 50 words or less the question, "Why is the Ford V-8 the most economical car to operate?"

source

Alleyway Action, 1937:

source

Snellenburg's opened a branch store in South Philadelphia, along with locations in Willow Grove and Broomall. However the company was starting to lose ground to it's competition by the early 60's.

Proposed reconstruction, 1955:

source

On February 1963, the day after Valentines, an announcement was made at 2pm ordering customers to leave at once. All employees were then informed that the store was closing for good. Unable to adapt to the changing retail landscape of the Philadelphia area Snellenburg's had thrown in the towel, selling its suburban locations to Lit brothers.

Community College of Philadelphia opened it's first location in the former Men's store. Later the building was used for the Philadelphia Family Court, Domestic division. This was where one would go for custody hearings, Child support, order of protections etc. All these facilities moved to the new Family Court building in late 2014.

As for the main store....


source
This 1965 rendering was the first inkling of a proposal to shrink the store to two stories and "redevelop" it as a commercial structure (I'm just amazed they actually took the time to produce a rendering of something like that). In the end this contraction was done, only with a more "interesting" roofline....

In the mid 2000's a developer acquired the lease on the land from the Girard Estate Trust, which still owns the block to this day. Two towers of "Liberty Place proportions" were proposed before the global recession put the kibosh on the scheme. The leasing rights were them sold to another developer that is planning the East Market development.

Old Snellenburgs's store cut down in size:

7297 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

281 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Looking down 11th Street with the Snellenburgs Men's store and garage:
7299 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7302 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

024 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7303 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Sadly this elaborate front facade will be destroyed with the excuse being it is "deteriorated beyond repair". The proposed facade is decent on it's own but still, I'm gonna miss this....
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  #24  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2015, 11:17 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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The Stephen Girard building has survived with it's exterior features amazingly intact, having escaped the mid 20th century butchering craze of the lower floors that so many Philadelphia buildings have endured....

7320 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7314 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7322 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7315 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7319 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

View along Ludlow Street:
7318 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

351 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Looking down Clover Street, which was converted into a driveway serving the parking garage:
7323 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

348 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7324 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Garage and offices fronting Chestnut:
7305 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7306 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7308 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7309 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Last edited by shadowbat2; Feb 14, 2015 at 3:08 AM. Reason: fixed street name
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  #25  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2015, 11:48 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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A look inside the garage itself:
361 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

One of the smallest and scariest elevator I've been in:
7344 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7328 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7350 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

A few from the roof:
7332 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7339 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7330 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7329 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^That site is currently undergoing redevelopment with the smaller buildings now demolished....

Going down a few levels:
378 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

391 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7357 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7361 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7362 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Girard Building up close and personal:

7365 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7363 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7364 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Off the balconies, these little streets take on a Gotham look:
7359 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

7352 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

(I should mention that all the small streets here are to be preserved as part of the redevelopment and the street in the second to last image will be continued through to Market, allowing a full view of Reading Terminal head house in the background)
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  #26  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2015, 11:54 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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...and finally some of the most recent pics I took of the demolition that is currently underway: (Most of the others were taken back in June, 2013)
025 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

023 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

022 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

020 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

013 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

009 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #27  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2015, 2:30 PM
McBane McBane is offline
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Good stuff, keep on posting...
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  #28  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2015, 11:22 PM
psueng7 psueng7 is offline
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Girard Sq

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowbat2 View Post
The Stephen Girard building has survived with it's exterior features amazingly intact, having escaped the mid 20th century butchering craze of the lower floors that so many Philadelphia buildings have endured....
Original front elevation:


Quote:
Looking down Ranstead Street, which was converted into a driveway serving the parking garage:
7323 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr


Apologies for being pedantic, but that is Clover St.
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  #29  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2015, 11:44 PM
psueng7 psueng7 is offline
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Girard Sq

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowbat2 View Post
1916 saw the completion of the 8 story Snellenburg's Men's Store Annex that was leased to the company initially for 20 years.
Thanks for the date, I've been trying to figure out when 34 S 11th was built. I was guessing early 1920's. In addition to the Snellenburg's men's annex the building also served as warehouse space for the main store on Market St. There were two (possibly three) giant water-hydraulic freight elevators used to move stock around the building. There was also a below grade conveyor system used to move stock under Ludlow St into the basement of the Market St building. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowbat2 View Post
In 1939, a new structure was built taking up the entire Chestnut Street frontage. Besides containing a parking garage and new entrance for Snellenburg's, this building also housed several other retail outlets and office space.[/B]
I have access to existing drawings for 1101 Chestnut St which suggest that ground was broken in 1939, and steel erection occurred in 1940. Uncertain if the building opened in 1940 or 1941. The original anchor tenant on the Southwest corner was Lane Bryant department store.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowbat2 View Post
The picture above was taken in Snellenburg's Men's Annex at 34 S 11th St.

Great post, thank you for taking the time to put all of that together!
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  #30  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2015, 3:07 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psueng7 View Post
Thanks for the date, I've been trying to figure out when 34 S 11th was built. I was guessing early 1920's. In addition to the Snellenburg's men's annex the building also served as warehouse space for the main store on Market St. There were two (possibly three) giant water-hydraulic freight elevators used to move stock around the building. There was also a below grade conveyor system used to move stock under Ludlow St into the basement of the Market St building. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this system.



I have access to existing drawings for 1101 Chestnut St which suggest that ground was broken in 1939, and steel erection occurred in 1940. Uncertain if the building opened in 1940 or 1941. The original anchor tenant on the Southwest corner was Lane Bryant department store.
Thanks for all the info! If you are able to post the original rendering/plans for 1101 Chestnut that would be great!

Yeah I got the streets mixed up since there is a Ranstead street that runs roughly along the same route through other blocks. I also came across the name "Girard street" which apparently was a private street that ran through the block as well at some point....
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  #31  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2015, 3:19 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Old Snellenburg's details revealed:
014 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

015 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

018 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Nearby 15-21 S 11th street, bought by Brickstone Realty to be converted into offices/retail. The Sound of Market music store was located here until very recently....

005 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

012 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #32  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2015, 8:11 AM
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Dr Awesomesauce Dr Awesomesauce is offline
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I like what you're doing here. Keep up the good work!
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  #33  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2015, 1:24 PM
psueng7 psueng7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowbat2 View Post
Thanks for all the info! If you are able to post the original rendering/plans for 1101 Chestnut that would be great!

Yeah I got the streets mixed up since there is a Ranstead street that runs roughly along the same route through other blocks. I also came across the name "Girard street" which apparently was a private street that ran through the block as well at some point....
Sure, I can post some 1101 Chestnut later on, I don't have access right now.

Girard Street was the name of the current Ludlow St between 12th and 11th streets until sometime post WWII. I have seen drawings referring to "Girard St" south of Snellenberg's and North of the Stephen Girard Building dated 1948, so we know Ludlow was called Girard St at least until 1948.

The entire block is privately owned by the estate of Stephen Girard so I have no idea why they renamed the street to Ludlow!
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  #34  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2015, 6:52 PM
psueng7 psueng7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psueng7 View Post
Sure, I can post some 1101 Chestnut later on, I don't have access right now.
Here are a few drawings of 1101 Chestnut from ~1941.







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  #35  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2015, 8:53 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Those are incredible Thank you!

I'm assuming that Lane Bryant was the one committed tenant at the time and the other storefront were designed later to fit individual tenant needs. Guess Snellenburgs just leased that one central storefront just so it could have frontage on Chestnut. Funny thing is, I don't see any evidence of a physical connection across clover Street in those blueprints....so I'm wondering how shoppers got from Chestnut to the rest of the store....

Also I see Ballinger's name on there Designed many industrial buildings around Philly (have a few blueprints myself)
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  #36  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2015, 3:22 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Reading Terminal headhouse up close:
025 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Random Market Street between 8th and 5th Street:
026 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

027 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

028 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Kirshbaum Building:
030 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Declaration House (Graff House) replica, the site where Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence.
032 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

The original house was replaced by a Frank Furness bank building in 1884:


source

Which in turn was heavily altered and demolished partially, then fully, to allow the construction to take place on the Graff house replica. This was completed in 1975, two hundred years after the first.....


064 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #37  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2015, 10:01 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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A couple of shots from the 2015 Philadelphia Flower show, the first I ever attended

Theme this year was "Celebrate the Movies"


Nightmare before Christmas:

381 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Peter Pan:

432 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Finding Nemo:
443 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

The Sorcerers Apprentice:
465 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Chronicles of Narnia:
472 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

471 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Alice in Wonderland:
458 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

459 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

457 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

The Parent Trap:
452 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

The Prince of Persia
431 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Tarzan:
422 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

Cars:
399 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

401 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
^yes with live chickens!

Pirates of the Caribbean:
394 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #38  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2015, 10:12 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Celebrity roses:
417 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

416 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

415 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

412 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

411 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

A few shots of the Grand Hall (former Reading Terminal trainshed) since I was never able to get pictures before:

474 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

478 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

480 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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  #39  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2015, 7:32 PM
Eightball's Avatar
Eightball Eightball is offline
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Cool historic photos
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  #40  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2015, 9:48 AM
shadowbat2 shadowbat2 is offline
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Sorry for the long absence, been extremely busy for the past couple of months and haven't had the time to add to this thread for a while.

Here are some more shots in and around City hall:

054 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

056 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

059 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

061 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

066 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

067 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr

070 by tehshadowbat, on Flickr
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