Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pennsylvania R.R. Ferries Building - Market Street and Delaware Avenue - Philadelphia

Temple University Libraries, Urban Archives, circa 1899

Temple University Libraries, Urban Archives, circa 1899

Temple University Libraries, Urban Archives, circa 1899

Library of Congress - Circa 1900

Circa 1920s

Circa 1899

Philadelphia Geo Maps 1895

Philadelphia Geo Maps 1910

Philadelphia Geo Maps 1942

Doing some research and magnification of old photos I started to look for the name of the architect of old Pennsylvania Railroad R.R. Ferries Terminal building built around 1899 or so it would seem to me.  I also searched for some interior photos hoping for some grand lost architectural gem from the so-called Gilded Age at the turn of the Twentieth Century.

Looking further at the photos of what I thought was some lost cast iron façade of a lost grand building, I decided that cast iron may be involved, but more likely a lumber and tin covered façade, facing to a bunch of old piers and docks may be the likely answer to the old ferry terminal.

Maybe it was a temporary measure.  Maybe the envisioned new building never got built. I do not know at this time without further research.  I am guessing that the Hollywood like temporary sets of the Columbian Exposition, the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, was the inspiration of the ferry terminal in transition and in connection with the widening of Delaware Avenue along with other port improvements never got past a quick façade stage of transitional building. More research needed.

Below the photos above for your inspection are three port maps 1895, 1910 and 1942 to show how four ferry docks eventually got reshaped into five docks and maybe the reason for a temporary façade in the late 1890s.

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  1. Hi - My dad, as a 12 year old boy left his home in Upper Philly and rode 10 hours to his Aunt's house in Longport, NJ. He crossed the river on the ferry, convincing the ferryman to take him and his bike across. I have the newspaper articles about him, the missing Merion boy who rode 73 miles in 10 hours through the city and across NJ. I am a blogger and writing this story down for a post. I was wondering if I might use your photos in my post? Respectfully, Carlyn Riggs Bullock

  2. Carlyn Bullock please contact me e-mail for detailed response. thx