Why I Love Philly: The Drake

Where Doc Savage Lives

Built in 1929 and standing on Spruce Street, the Drake is a beautiful relic from a bygone era. It’s a brick and terra cotta wonder that they certainly don’t build any more. It reminds me of Flash Gordon serials and pulp novels. Doc Savage lived in the Empire State Building in New York, but I imagine he had a place in the Drake when he came to Philly. Lamont Cranston and Richard Wentworth probably stayed there as well.

Back when I was going to art school in the ’80s, the Drake had fallen on hard times as did the rest of the city. The Drake was student housing, and the area was very seedy despite its proximity to the seat of city government, City Hall. Prostitutes sold their services at Broad and Spruce and the subway underneath was housing for dozens and dozens of winos and vagrants. They were dark times for the city.

Times have changed. That section of the city is very much sought after and the Drake is once again fancy digs for the well heeled.

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