Reforming Faith by Design: Frank Furness’ Architecture and Spiritual Pluralism Among Philadelphia’s Jews and Unitarians

Philadelphia never saw anything like it. The strange structure took shape between 1868 and 1871 on the southeast corner of North Broad and Mount Vernon streets, in the middle of a developing residential neighborhood for a newly rising upper middle class. With it came a rather alien addition to the city’s skyline: a boldly striped onion dome capping an octagonal Moorish-style minaret that flared...
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Editor’s Letter

The features in this edition focus on Pennsylvanians who strived for a more equitable, pluralistic America. The articles cover a period from the mid-19th century into the early 20th, a time when movements for civil rights were emerging and new barriers were being broken in several social and cultural realms. The story of Octavius V. Catto reflects a key moment in the history of the struggle for...
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Waynesboro Historic District

  Three miles from the Pennsylvania–Maryland border is the Keystone State’s most recent listing in the National Register of Historic Places: the Waynesboro Historic District, located along Main Street and Clayton Avenue in the borough of Waynesboro, Franklin County. The district’s period of historic significance dates from 1780 through 1965, beginning with the construction of a log building...
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Pittsburgh’s Wood-Paved Roslyn Place

It’s not often that architectural historians look down — we usually leave that to the archaeologists — but on Roslyn Place, one of Pennsylvania’s newest National Register–listed historic districts, we turned our heads to the ground to consider something that is rare in America: a wood-paved street. Roughly 26,000 oak blocks make up the 250-foot-long cul-de-sac surrounded by 18 houses in...
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Frank Furness by George E. Thomas

Frank Furness Architecture in the Age of the Great Machines by George E. Thomas University of Pennsylvania Press, 312 pp, cloth $59.95 The rehabilitation of Frank Furness, whose idiosyncratic Victorian buildings scandalized generations of Philadelphians, began in earnest with Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966). Venturi praised Furness for the exact same reason...
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“Keeping with the Dignity of the Commonwealth”: 50 Years of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence

The stately Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence overlooking the Susquehanna River at 2035 North Front Street in the Uptown neighborhood of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, reaches its half-century mark in 2018, a milestone that is being observed with a variety of events and programs throughout the year. The Georgian Revival mansion was completed in 1968, during the term of Gov. Raymond P. Shafer, its...
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Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City by Joseph E. B. Elliott, Nathaniel Popkin and Peter Woodall

Philadelphia Finding the Hidden City by Joseph E. B. Elliott, Nathaniel Popkin and Peter Woodall Temple University Press, 192 pp., cloth $40 For me, Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City is a whatever-happened-to sequel to the Philadelphia I first discovered in the 1980s. Recently deindustrialized and far from redeveloped, Philly in that decade was indeed a 12 Monkeys city, referencing the 1995...
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Mt. Lebanon Historic District

Although Henry Ford had introduced the Model T in 1908, making the automobile affordable for the average American, it was not until the 1920s that automobile ownership really began to rise. In 1910 there were 500,000 cars in use. By 1920 the number rose to 9.5 million. By 1930 it sprang to 27 million. With so many cars, people who worked in cities were no longer tied to railroads or streetcar...
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Meet Andrea W. Lowery, PHMC’s New Executive Director

In August 2017 the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) appointed Andrea W. Lowery as the new executive director of the agency. A preservationist with more than two decades of experience, Lowery succeeds James M. Vaughan, who retired in July 2017. Lowery has worked for PHMC since 2011, most recently serving as chief of the agency’s Division of Architecture and Preservation...
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Worthy of Preservation? Considering the Future of Architecture in Historic Preservation

The roots of historic preservation run deep in this country, especially in Pennsylvania. Taking hold in the 19th century as a response to unchecked modern development, the field has grown into a multidisciplinary profession, but what galvanizes concerned citizens to oppose the demolition of historic properties for new construction remains much the same today as two centuries ago. After the U.S....
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