His name may not be as commonly heard as Louis Kahn or Frank Furness, but chances are, you’re already pretty familiar with Julian Francis Abele’s work. An architect who rose to success during the turn of the 19th century, Abele is behind the designs of some of Philly’s most beloved and iconic buildings.
He was the first black student to graduate from UPenn’s architecture program, and later went on to become the chief designer for Horace Trumbauer. Though well respected among designers in Philly at the time, it wasn’t until after his death in 1950 that he began to receive recognition for his role in designing the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and in later years, Duke University’s campus.
It’s been difficult for historians to pinpoint exactly which designs Abele had a hand in, because he had a policy of not signing blueprints and designs, but there are many that we know for sure he was behind
Here, we follow Abele’s life in the Philadelphia area, noting all of the major places and events that shaped his future career, as well as all the known major buildings and structures he designed during his time in the city.
Did we miss anything important about Abele’s life or his designs? Let us know in the comments.Read More