About Philadelphia Apartments

Welcome to the Philadelphia Pennsylvania blog. This blog contains a wealth of information about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Apartment living, and housing opportunities in our great city and other metro areas of the U.S.. Learn about efforts at restoring architectural relics of the past - former factories, warehouses, schools, hotels, hospitals, train stations - into first-class houses and apartments, and in preserving these distinguished residential communities for future generations. Please enjoy your stay on our Philadelphia apartments blog and feel free to share your stories on life in Philly and the city of brotherly love. In addition, we welcome all commentaries regarding building remodeling, home remodeling, kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, and house hunting. Thank You!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Old Quaker Apartments

These unique 19th century buildings originally housed a quaker mission and a working home for the blind.
Today they are landmarks for luxury apartment living.

Philadelphia Apartment Rental Leasing Office: 215.222.2233

Imagine living in Philadelphia during the Industrial Revolution of the post-Civil War in late 19th century America. The downtown area was thriving as the center of commerce expanded. Manufacturers flourished in old city and along the banks of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. As the business core of the city grew, the population moved westward, building around the lush rolling greenery of massive Fairmount Park.

West Philadelphia was already home to the esteemed University of Pennsylvania, and rows and rows of elaborate brownstone and brick mansions were being built on the neighboring streets. Old Quaker Building Along Lancaster Avenue, a major thorofare that was well-traveled since colonial times by farmers and merchants who brought goods to Philadelphia from the fertile farms of Chester and Lancaster counties, the Old Order of Quakers decided to build a Mission at 3514 Lancaster Avenue in 1870. The quaint, three-story stucco structure, distinguished by a cubic belvedere on the roof, and intricately carved coping and fluted columns on the porch, had the appearance of a 19th century park house.

In 1880 the Quakers sold the building to a philanthropic organization, The Working Home for the Blind, and the Mission House became the office while an adjoining building was constructed at the corner of 36th & Lancaster to house the dormitories and workshops.

The elaborate Italianate design style of the larger, brick and granite-trimmed building was best characterized by such features as a dramatic rooftop dome, distinctive copper cornices with pressed swags, large arched windows, intricate hand-carved interior moldings and handsome working hearths. While the Mission House was more intimate and "suburban" in style, the Workshop was open and airy and a textbook example of the era's finest institutional/industrial architectural design.

For most of the next 100 years the buildings served the needs of The Working Home organization, but by the end of the 1970's both properties had outlived their original purposes. In 1985, Historic Landmarks rescued the fading relics and spent over $6 million to develop The Old Quaker Building, a creatively designed apartment community of 76 distinctive residences.

Great care was taken to preserve the significant architectural details of the past and complement them with a host of contemporary amenities. The facades of both properties were restored to their original splendor. The interiors were reconfigured to create innovative floor plans that were generous in space. Brick walls were exposed and re-pointed to add style and texture to each residence. Original timber ceilings were revealed to add height and drama. The oversized windows were revitalized to flood rooms with plenty of natural light. Even the landscaped private courtyard that was created, and the charming Victorian-era lobby with its original woodwork still intact, are elements of style that you just don't see every day.

If you're looking for a residence that is truly unique and private and suits your sense of style, and is well-managed and well-located, you haven't seen anything until you've experienced the qualities of the landmark Old Quaker Building.

Philadelphia Apartment Rental Leasing Office: 215.222.2233

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