Lawrence S. Williams, a local photographer who became known for capturing Philadelphia architecture during the 20th century, passed away this weekend from pneumonia.
But Williams' documentation of the city before skyscrapers took hold of the skyline remain archived in a collection of nearly 250,000 photographs held by the Antheneanum of Philadelphia. Williams worked with prominent landscape architect Edmund Bacon to document Philadelphia's changing architecture in the 1950s.
Here are some of our favorite photos of architectural stunners taken by Williams that capture Philly before any building rose above City Hall, from a parking garage at Penn to the Venturi-designed Franklin Court.
Market Street Bridge
Here's a photo of Market Street Bridge—notice 30th Street Station to the left and the lack of high rises in Center City to the right. Today, the bridge has become a gateway from the station to Center City, with University City District and Center City District partnering to beautify the bridge with trellises and seating.
Walnut 32 Parking Garage
They just don't make parking garages like they used to. This garage on Walnut Street and 32nd was designed by Mitchell / Giurgola Architects and built in 1963. The architects have said that their design—the diamond openings, the color palette—was inspired by neighboring buildings and structures, particularly Franklin Field stadium down the street.
Hill College House
Designed in 1958 by architect Eero Saarinen, this building at Penn first served as a women's only dormitory. Saarinen designed a mideival-like structure with a draw bridge and spiked fences intended to keep men out. It's slated to undergo an $80.5 million renovation beginning in May 2016.
Hospitality Center at Love Park
As the welcome center at Love Park undergoes renovations to look like this, we remember when it was called the Hospitality Center via this photo. Still looks pretty futuristic, eh?
Society Hill Towers
No Instagram filter could manage this beautiful shot of the IM Pei-designed Society Hill Towers. Built in 1964, the three concrete towers feature residential units with floor-to-ceiling windows. Originally built as apartments, they're now condominiums.
Here's an aerial view of Independence Mall before the site became part of the National Park Service and the Liberty Bell had a glassy home. Apparently a parking lot once sat on the site of today's National Constitution Center, across Independence Hall. Although a number of plans were proposed for the site, the local landscape architecture firm Olin ultimately brought its master plan to life in 1997.
This aerial shot offers a great view of the Venturi-designed Franklin Court, which was built in 1976 on the site of Ben Franklin's residence. The ghost-like white structures are reconstructions of Franklin's home and print shop.