Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hale Building: Philadelphia

Over and over again the Hale building on Chestnut Street appears in my mind when I think of Philadelphia. This kind of building doesn’t exist in the cities where I came from – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Eugene, Tacoma, Seattle.

It’s a mysterious and evocative building. Obviously inhabited by its own soul – I doubt whoever owns it can do much more than observe the affairs that swirl around this property of theirs.

Beings come and go in the purple hours before dawn visiting someone great who lives and watches from the top stories.

The decaying posters along the sidewalk unfold at night to become the wings of creatures who fly off.

Windows are blackened but faces appear and disappear without a sound.

You’ll feel a tug at your pant cuffs as the breeze from an invisible overcoat curls down the wall, levels out and goes past you, making its way down the sidewalk.

Here’s more information from the Philadelphia Buildings and Architects website.

Designed in 1887 by Willis Gaylord Hale (1848 - 1907) across the following addresses:
1325-1327 SANSOM ST
1326-1328 CHESTNUT ST
100-120 S JUNIPER ST


Anonymous said...


Great building; detested when it was built. You should join our "modernism" group of the Society of Architectural Historians


ellen said...

thanks so much for the photos! i fell in love with this building this spring when i was visiting philly. i really hope someone pours money into the rafters.

Jen said...

thanks for a wonderful profile of this building,
will you be doing more?

CAVU said...

Great images!!

My GGGrandfather William Gray built this building (and many more in the area).

Michael Gillespie
michaelg (at) gray.mb.ca