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Frankford Chocolate Factory nominated for local historic designation

Fresh off its national historic designation

The Frankford Chocolate Factory, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, now seeks local historic designation.
Courtesy of Google Earth Pro

Fresh off its national historic designation, the Frankford Chocolate Factory on Washington Avenue in Graduate Hospital has been nominated to be added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

A Curbed tipster alerted us to the nomination, which was sent in early December and written by Dennis Carlisle, a self-described architectural history writer. It details the same history as the national nomination, harking back to the factory’s original purpose as the headquarters of Howell & Brothers Wallpaper Hangings Manufactory, one of the largest wallpaper manufacturers in the country during the 19th century.

As to why it deserves a spot on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, Carlisle writes that the factory satisfies certain criteria, including its ties to the development of Philadelphia; its connection to a prominent figure (John Wanamakerr); and that it exemplifies the historical and economic heritage of the community.

The nomination for local historic designation comes just weeks after the Frankford Chocolate Factory at 2101 Washington Avenue was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The national designation means that the factory, which is owned by a group of developers and poised for redevelopment, can make use of the 20 percent federal Historic Tax Credit.

But while national historic designation does not protect a property from demolition, local designation does. If the owners wanted to change the exterior of the property, which sits on 2.5 acres, they would have to work with the Historical Commission and receive approval.

The owners, who requested the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, have been working with the Graduate Hospital neighborhood in recent months to discuss the future of the factory. At the last meeting, the idea of redeveloping the factory into a mixed-use site with apartments, townhouses, and retail was proposed.

The nomination is now pending review by the Historical Commission. Stay tuned.

frankford chocolate factory

, Philadelphia, PA 19146