This is a photo-montage that I have been thinking about putting together for a while now. For the fire buffs and preservationists out there this may be the last record of Philadelphia’s Old Fire Department Headquarters AKA The Race St. Firehouse.
Like most things worth keeping in any big city the old building was torn down to make way for the expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. As usual the idiotic politicians decided that what makes a city great- it’s history wasn’t worth preserving. In fact a number of architechturally important buildings were torn down to expand the white elephant convention center. Instead of saving the building and maybe incorporating it into the design- something that would have required a eighth graders imagination they destroyed it.
So in memory of the building and it’s history I am putting it on the Web where it will live forever. Enjoy.
Side shot of the building.
LADDER 23 One of the original companies stationed here.
I took these pictures over the span of a couple months as the building was being prepped for destruction.
Ladder 23 “C” Plt. L to R- Johnny K, Kenny M, Harry The “King” and Freddy P.
One thing that made this building famous were the six gargoyles that adorned the front apparatus bay corners. They were removed prior to demolition and taken to a “secure undisclosed location” presumably by a state agency. I was promised that the one pictured, representing our company, Ladder 23 would be returned. It hasn’t been. As the only company still in service that operated from this building, that gargoyle is part of the company heritage. Hopefully it will be returned to Ladder 23 at some point. The following are pictures of the others;
Engine 31 gargoyle.
ENGINE 17 gargoyle.
The following shots are of the interior. In it’s final years the building was used by the Police Department. Inside there were two ornate fireplaces. It’s hard to imagine this as a public building.
Beautiful wood paneling and another fireplace.
Random interior shot.
Most likely the Commissioners office.
I believe this was an old hose table but I’m not 100% sure. It was in the basement.
Second floor interior courtyard / roof. It was designed by the same architecht who designed Philly City Hall. The courtyard allowed natural light into the building.
Old hose tower with center city in the background.
City crests- also removed prior to destruction.
The demolition begins:
Construction / DESTRUCTION fencing goes up, Gargoyles and crests removed.
Rise of the machines.
Cranes start clearing the site.
Site shot from the parking garage across the street.
What would Billy Penn say???
The hose tower clings to life…
It’s just a matter of time.
The deed is done. The site is scrubbed clean in the name of “progress”.