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The exterior of a building by Frank Furness in Philadelphia. This is an old black and white photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The demolished works of Frank Furness in Philly

From the grand Broad Street Station to the original Rodef Shalom Synagogue

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Both iconic and whimsical, architect Frank Furness has long had a hold on Philly with beloved pieces like the Furness library on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus, or the National Landmark building at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

After the architect's death in 1912, there followed decades of neglect, during which many of his works were demolished.

While many of them were torn down in the early to mid-1900s, there are still a few pieces of his still in danger. Most notably (and most recent), is his 1874-built 19th Street Baptist Church, which—despite its stunning serpentine stone facade and historic status—is on track for demolition soon. Part of the reason for its fate is the same as other Furness buildings: it’s crumbling and potentially dangerous.

As Philly waits to see if it will lose another Furness piece, we wanted to take a look back at some of the prolific architect’s earlier works that never made it past the mid (or in a select few cases, late) 20th century.

The buildings are all either located in or near Center City, and are listed in order of date built.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in April 2015 and has since been updated with the most recent information.

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1. The McKean Townhouses

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1923 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

The wealthy McKean family hired Frank Furness to design a handsome mansion for their family at 1925 Walnut Street in 1869. Patriarch Thomas McKean ended up being so pleased with the final result that he had Furness design another home right next door at 1923 Walnut for his then three-year-old son, Henry. The homes were connected on the first floor, which allowed the space to be used as a grand ballroom from time to time.

The McKean’s home at 1925 was eventually demolished in the 1920s to make way for what is today the Chatham Hotel. But Henry’s home, which eventually sold to Edward T. Stotesbury of the famed Whitemarsh Hall, remains today and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2. Lutheran Church of Holy Communion

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1400 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

This church was built between 1870-75 by Fraser, Furness, and Hewitt for about $200,000, according to an article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Made of green serpentine stone, similar to that of the 19th-Street Baptist Church (built around the same time), the Lutheran church was well-received by the American Institute of Architects at the 1876 centennial.

The congregation worshipped in the Furness church for two decades, until it was demolished in 1901. But some of Furness’ interior work was saved—the pulpit, baptismal font, organ panel, altar and its railing, and carved reredos—and moved to the congregation’s new church.

The exterior of the Lutheran Church of Holy Communion in Philadelphia. This an old black and white photograph. via Moses King, Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians

3. Moore Residence

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510 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

Also known as the Darley Residence or the Johnson Residence, this stately home at 510 South Broad Street was designed by Furness for Bloomfield Hanes Moore and his wife, Clara Jessup Moore between 1872 and 1874. In later years, architect Charles M. Burnes was responsible for exterior alterations to the home, but Furness’ touch was evident within the opulent space, which boasted grand fireplaces and plenty of ornamental architectural details throughout.

One publication named King’s View of Philadelphia said in 1902 that the home was “unquestionably the handsomest residence on South Broad Street and one of the finest in the city.” We’ll have to take their word for it—the building was razed in the 1950s.

4. Rodef Shalom Synagogue

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615 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Completed in 1871, this was the Rodef Shalom congregation's first building, constructed at North Broad and Vernon streets. Furness designed the synagogue in the Moorish Revival style, and for years it remained an architectural showpiece on North Broad. But when the congregation outgrew the building, it decided to raze it to make way for Byzantine-Moorish style synagogue that graces the corner to this day.

5. Guarantee Trust & Safe Deposit Co.

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300 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Look familiar? The Guarantee Trust and Deposit Company building was very similar in style to Furness’ Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts building, which was constructed around the same time between 1873 and 1875. An 1876 article in The Public Ledger described the building as “extremely ornamental” “absolutely fire-proof as possible.”

The building, however, was demolished in 1957.

6. Provident Life and Trust Company

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42 S 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Built in 1876, the Provident Life and Trust Company is largely considered to be one of Furness’ greatest works. The stand-out building on 4th Street commanded attention, with its Moorish-influenced, modern Gothic style so typical of Furness works. The four-story banking room was one of the building’s highlights.

But Furness’ building had its issues, and over the years it saw multiple additions and renovations. It was eventually demolished in the late 1950s during Philly’s urban renewal campaign.

The exterior of the Provident Life and Trust Company in Philadelphia. This is an old historic photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

7. Church of the Redeemer for Seamen and their Families

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100 Queen St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Designed in 1878, the brownstone edifice contained a reading room that provided bibles and other religious reading for sailors and their shipmates. It also included a parish house, known as the “Brewer School House” in honor of its donor, Charles Brewer of Pittsburgh. The building was subsequently used as a club house for boys. And in the 1960s, it was used as the meeting place for the Queen Village Neighbors Association. The ornate Victorian structure burned down in 1974.

The exterior of the Church of the Redeemer for Seamen and their Families. This is a historic photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

8. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station

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2400 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

This grand train station at 24th and Chestnut was built in 1888 as the main passenger station for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Furness designed a Flemish Revival-style station that was built on stilts, which the main entrance sitting 30 feet above ground level. In addition, he smartly designed separate areas for departures and arrivals.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad eventually shuttered its services in 1956, and the train station was destroyed in a fire in 1963.

The exterior of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station in Philadelphia. This is a black and white photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

9. Alexander J. Cassatt Townhouse

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202 W Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Furness designed this stately house right on Rittenhouse Square for railroad tycoon Alexander J. Cassatt in the late 1880s. It wasn’t the first time the two worked together: Furness also designed Cassatt’s main barn house on his 600-acre estate called Chesterbrook Farms.

But while the main barn house remains, Cassatt’s townhouse was demolished just after 1971. Today, the Rittenhouse Hotel stands in its place.

Fun fact: Cassatt was the brother of famous impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt, who has a tea room named after her in the Rittenhouse Hotel today.

The exterior of the Alexander J. Cassatt Townhouse in Philadelphia. This is a black and white photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

10. Broad Street Station

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1400 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

In 1892-93, Furness was given the task of expanding and renovating Broad Street Station, which was originally designed by the Wilson Brothers. When it eventually opened in 1893, it became the world’s largest passenger railroad terminal.

But in 1923, the train shed was destroyed in a fire and subsequently demolished. The station continued until 1952, when train services ceased, and by 1953 Furness’ grand building was demolished.

The exterior of Broad Street Station in Philadelphia. This is an old historic photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

11. The Franklin Building

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125 S 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

In 1895, Furness’ childhood friend-turned-sugar tycoon William West Frazier hired the architect to design an office for the Franklin Sugar Company. Like most of Furness’ work, the building at 125 S. 12th Street was pretty ornate, adorned with statues and a wrap-around balcony.

The building eventually met the wrecking ball sometime around 1940 to make way for a parking lot, which remains to this day. The history of the sugar company is detailed in a mural by the lot.

The exterior of the Franklin Building in Philadelphia. This is an old photograph. Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia

12. The Arcade Building

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1500 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Pleased with Furness’ work on the Broad Street Station expansion, the Pennsylvania Rail Road hired him again in 1902 to design the Arcade office building adjacent to the station. It featured the same red brick, stone, and terra cotta as the train station, and the two were connected via pedestrian bridge over Market Street. It, too, eventually met the wrecking ball in 1969.

The exterior of the Arcade Building in Philadelphia. This is an old black and white photograph. Courtesy of Library of Congress

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1. The McKean Townhouses

1923 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

The wealthy McKean family hired Frank Furness to design a handsome mansion for their family at 1925 Walnut Street in 1869. Patriarch Thomas McKean ended up being so pleased with the final result that he had Furness design another home right next door at 1923 Walnut for his then three-year-old son, Henry. The homes were connected on the first floor, which allowed the space to be used as a grand ballroom from time to time.

The McKean’s home at 1925 was eventually demolished in the 1920s to make way for what is today the Chatham Hotel. But Henry’s home, which eventually sold to Edward T. Stotesbury of the famed Whitemarsh Hall, remains today and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1923 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

2. Lutheran Church of Holy Communion

1400 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The exterior of the Lutheran Church of Holy Communion in Philadelphia. This an old black and white photograph. via Moses King, Philadelphia and Notable Philadelphians

This church was built between 1870-75 by Fraser, Furness, and Hewitt for about $200,000, according to an article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Made of green serpentine stone, similar to that of the 19th-Street Baptist Church (built around the same time), the Lutheran church was well-received by the American Institute of Architects at the 1876 centennial.

The congregation worshipped in the Furness church for two decades, until it was demolished in 1901. But some of Furness’ interior work was saved—the pulpit, baptismal font, organ panel, altar and its railing, and carved reredos—and moved to the congregation’s new church.

1400 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

3. Moore Residence

510 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19146

Also known as the Darley Residence or the Johnson Residence, this stately home at 510 South Broad Street was designed by Furness for Bloomfield Hanes Moore and his wife, Clara Jessup Moore between 1872 and 1874. In later years, architect Charles M. Burnes was responsible for exterior alterations to the home, but Furness’ touch was evident within the opulent space, which boasted grand fireplaces and plenty of ornamental architectural details throughout.

One publication named King’s View of Philadelphia said in 1902 that the home was “unquestionably the handsomest residence on South Broad Street and one of the finest in the city.” We’ll have to take their word for it—the building was razed in the 1950s.

510 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

4. Rodef Shalom Synagogue

615 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Completed in 1871, this was the Rodef Shalom congregation's first building, constructed at North Broad and Vernon streets. Furness designed the synagogue in the Moorish Revival style, and for years it remained an architectural showpiece on North Broad. But when the congregation outgrew the building, it decided to raze it to make way for Byzantine-Moorish style synagogue that graces the corner to this day.

615 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

5. Guarantee Trust & Safe Deposit Co.

300 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Look familiar? The Guarantee Trust and Deposit Company building was very similar in style to Furness’ Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts building, which was constructed around the same time between 1873 and 1875. An 1876 article in The Public Ledger described the building as “extremely ornamental” “absolutely fire-proof as possible.”

The building, however, was demolished in 1957.

300 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

6. Provident Life and Trust Company

42 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
The exterior of the Provident Life and Trust Company in Philadelphia. This is an old historic photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Built in 1876, the Provident Life and Trust Company is largely considered to be one of Furness’ greatest works. The stand-out building on 4th Street commanded attention, with its Moorish-influenced, modern Gothic style so typical of Furness works. The four-story banking room was one of the building’s highlights.

But Furness’ building had its issues, and over the years it saw multiple additions and renovations. It was eventually demolished in the late 1950s during Philly’s urban renewal campaign.

42 S 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

7. Church of the Redeemer for Seamen and their Families

100 Queen St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
The exterior of the Church of the Redeemer for Seamen and their Families. This is a historic photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Designed in 1878, the brownstone edifice contained a reading room that provided bibles and other religious reading for sailors and their shipmates. It also included a parish house, known as the “Brewer School House” in honor of its donor, Charles Brewer of Pittsburgh. The building was subsequently used as a club house for boys. And in the 1960s, it was used as the meeting place for the Queen Village Neighbors Association. The ornate Victorian structure burned down in 1974.

100 Queen St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

8. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station

2400 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
The exterior of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station in Philadelphia. This is a black and white photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This grand train station at 24th and Chestnut was built in 1888 as the main passenger station for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Furness designed a Flemish Revival-style station that was built on stilts, which the main entrance sitting 30 feet above ground level. In addition, he smartly designed separate areas for departures and arrivals.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad eventually shuttered its services in 1956, and the train station was destroyed in a fire in 1963.

2400 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

9. Alexander J. Cassatt Townhouse

202 W Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103
The exterior of the Alexander J. Cassatt Townhouse in Philadelphia. This is a black and white photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Furness designed this stately house right on Rittenhouse Square for railroad tycoon Alexander J. Cassatt in the late 1880s. It wasn’t the first time the two worked together: Furness also designed Cassatt’s main barn house on his 600-acre estate called Chesterbrook Farms.

But while the main barn house remains, Cassatt’s townhouse was demolished just after 1971. Today, the Rittenhouse Hotel stands in its place.

Fun fact: Cassatt was the brother of famous impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt, who has a tea room named after her in the Rittenhouse Hotel today.

202 W Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103

10. Broad Street Station

1400 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The exterior of Broad Street Station in Philadelphia. This is an old historic photograph. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In 1892-93, Furness was given the task of expanding and renovating Broad Street Station, which was originally designed by the Wilson Brothers. When it eventually opened in 1893, it became the world’s largest passenger railroad terminal.

But in 1923, the train shed was destroyed in a fire and subsequently demolished. The station continued until 1952, when train services ceased, and by 1953 Furness’ grand building was demolished.

1400 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

11. The Franklin Building

125 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The exterior of the Franklin Building in Philadelphia. This is an old photograph. Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia

In 1895, Furness’ childhood friend-turned-sugar tycoon William West Frazier hired the architect to design an office for the Franklin Sugar Company. Like most of Furness’ work, the building at 125 S. 12th Street was pretty ornate, adorned with statues and a wrap-around balcony.

The building eventually met the wrecking ball sometime around 1940 to make way for a parking lot, which remains to this day. The history of the sugar company is detailed in a mural by the lot.

125 S 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

12. The Arcade Building

1500 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
The exterior of the Arcade Building in Philadelphia. This is an old black and white photograph. Courtesy of Library of Congress

Pleased with Furness’ work on the Broad Street Station expansion, the Pennsylvania Rail Road hired him again in 1902 to design the Arcade office building adjacent to the station. It featured the same red brick, stone, and terra cotta as the train station, and the two were connected via pedestrian bridge over Market Street. It, too, eventually met the wrecking ball in 1969.

1500 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19102