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Courtroom Cowboy's Mural Makes the List of the Top 23

Philadelphia made a list of 23 Stunning Urban Murals on Web Urbanist. (You know if we didn't, we'd be pissed.) The chosen work? The five-story-high mural on the side of the Beasely Building at 12th and Walnut, where "Courtroom Cowboy" Jim Beasley used to prep for the demolition of his opponents.

Beasley commissioned "Building The City" in 1997. Though muralist Michael Webb and curmudgeonly Beasley worked well together on the project, Webb threw in some elements Beasley hadn't approved of—including his daughter's dead dog Harold. When Beasley saw it, he told Webb, "I hate that goddamn dog." But he didn't have him painted over.

The building has an interesting history. It was built in 1894 as the "Episcopal Church House." At the time, it was expensive: $155,000. By the time Beasley bought it 100 years later, it sold for a little under a million. Home of the famed disco Second Story, the building at the time was considered a risky purchase. In Ralph Cipriano's biography of Beasley, Webb tells him that when he'd start painting at 4 a.m., "his audience included hookers, drug dealers and crackheads." He also said the mural was Beasley's "gift to the neighborhood."

· Urban Landscapes Transformed: 23 Stunning Urban Murals [Web Urbanist]