As I was digging through my filing cabinet looking for stuff for my retrospective of DUCKWORK, I found this page from an old school catalog showing what once was the Philadelphia College of Art. The blue border shows the boundaries of the old campus. The shot was taken from the Southwest aiming towards the Northeast.
In this picture which I have doctored the red area indicates a large section of the city that is no more. Anderson Hall at Broad and Spruce that held the classrooms has reverted to an office building. The school still owns the building at Broad and Pine, but the spot next to it, Arco Park, the stores, apartment building, The Swamp (where the cool kids lived), The Bellrich Hotel, Corson’s Pharmacy – all gone!
Here’s another view looking South on Broad Street. The building on the right is where PCA held the majority of its classes. It is once again an office building with dueling steak houses on the ground floor, strangely enough. The windows with the green awnings is one steakhouse and the windows with the red awnings is an entirely different steakhouse. They were once an art supply store and the school’s gallery. Now they sell meat and more meat. Weird.
Oh my god! The horror! It will be missed…sort of.
It was a weird and vibrant block, and I’ll miss it in a way. Yes, it’s been replaced by an enormous concert hall, but I think of that phrase “there’s 8 million stories in this naked city.” There weren’t 8 million stories on that block, but it was a place where people lived and small businesses operated. Now it’s a large sterile hall where bored security guards roam and musicians occasionally play.
I tried not to buy my art supplies at Utrecht. I worked at Gimbel’s and had a 30% discount. They had half a third floor
Gimbel’s is sadly gone and sorely missed.