Back to top

Photographic views of New City Building
Albums of progress photographs of the early construction of City Hall built 1871-1901 on Penn Square after the designs of John McArthur, Jr. Photographs show different stages of the construction of the foundation and lower floor of the building between 1873 and 1875. Includes images of the dirt sub basement; construction materials, equipment, and workers; aerial views of the built foundation; partially completed walls and abutments; and studio views of columns and architectural ornaments. Several of the views include scaffolding; horse-drawn carts; pulleys; piles of construction debris; Pennsylvania Railroad cars on Market Street; and workers and well-dressed men, probably the commissioners, reviewing and posed on or near constructed parts of the building and construction materials. Views also show surrounding cityscape, including the Masonic Temple (Broad and Filbert); United States Mint (1331-1337 Chestnut Street); the Seventh Presbyterian Church (Broad Street above Chestnut Street); Pennsylvania Railroad Freight Depot (13th and Market); La Salle College High School (Filbert and Juniper); Sharpless & Watts, flooring tile (1325 Market Street); the spires of Arch Street Methodist Episcopal Church (s.w. cor. Broad & Arch) and First Baptist Church (n.w. cor. Broad and Arch); and other surrounding businesses (beer hall, wall paper, and furniture) and residences., Volume 1 (Oct. 1873-Aug. 1874) contains two tipped in letters, dated December 26, 1873 and June 27, 1874, from President of the Commissioners for the Erection of the Public Buildings Samuel C. Perkins. Correspondence presents the stereographs, "authorized to be taken by the commissioners," as a means for the library to "have for preservation in [the] archives a complete photographic record of the progress of a work which under any aspect must be considered as of marked importance in our local history.", Stereographs numbered, dated, and printed with the series title "Views of Construction in Sub-Basement" or "Views of Construction" and the names of the architect, chief assistant, and board of commissioners on the verso., Calf bindings, polished and mottled., Cataloging funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (PW-506-19-10), 2010-2012., Volume 1 image reproduced in The Print and Photograph Department of the Library Company of Philadelphia's Center City Philadelphia in the 19th century (Portsmouth, N.H.: Arcadia Publishing, 2006), p. 116., Samuel C. Perkins, a Philadelphia lawyer, served as president of the Commissioners for the Erection of the Public Buidlings 1872-1891., Housed in phase boxes.