Willis G. Hale's "City of Beautiful Buildings"

Photos and descriptions of architect willis gaylord hale's buildings

loladelphia:

Sweet Lorraine watching over North Philadelphia. I understand the argument that Divine Lorraine pictures are cliche and overdone, but it’s such a fascinating building. I can’t help but fall in love with it each and every time I see it.

loladelphia:

Sweet Lorraine watching over North Philadelphia. I understand the argument that Divine Lorraine pictures are cliche and overdone, but it’s such a fascinating building. I can’t help but fall in love with it each and every time I see it.

Morris Fleisher ResidencePhiladelphia, PA1880
From Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, nomination form:

The Fleisher House, located at 2223 Green Street, is an example of a Queen Anne style house with Eastlake-inspired elements. Morris Fleisher, a successful clothing merchant, hired architect Willis Hale in 1880 to design the two-bay, three-story house. It is adorned with exuberant polychromatic brick, marble, terra cotta and encaustic tile. Decorative molded brick pilasters frame the window openings. The cornice features a wide geometric frieze, a series of paired brackets, and a pressed metal cove molding. The patterning found throughout the facade was modeled after the philosophy of the late nineteenth century designer Charles Eastlake, who promoted flat ornamentation on his furniture designs.

Morris Fleisher Residence
Philadelphia, PA
1880

From Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, nomination form:

The Fleisher House, located at 2223 Green Street, is an example of a Queen Anne style house with Eastlake-inspired elements. Morris Fleisher, a successful clothing merchant, hired architect Willis Hale in 1880 to design the two-bay, three-story house. It is adorned with exuberant polychromatic brick, marble, terra cotta and encaustic tile. Decorative molded brick pilasters frame the window openings. The cornice features a wide geometric frieze, a series of paired brackets, and a pressed metal cove molding. The patterning found throughout the facade was modeled after the philosophy of the late nineteenth century designer Charles Eastlake, who promoted flat ornamentation on his furniture designs.

Garrick TheatrePhiladelphia, PA1900
The entrance of the Garrick Theatre at 1330 Chestnut Street standing next to the Hale Building. The figures were sculpted by Otto H. Jansen.
Home For IncurablesPhiladelphia, PA1880
Designed by Willis G. Hale in 1880 for the home at 48th St. and Woodland Avenue. The Inglis Home For Incurables would move to its current home on Belmont Avenue in 1927. After remaining vacant for a while the site would be turned into Comegys Park.
Myers BuildingBethlehem, PA1890
Designed by Willis G. Hale in 1890 for industrialist George H. Myers, the Myers Building is located at 521-525 Main Street in the Central Bethlehem Historic District. Still standing today, it now houses the store ‘In The Mood’.
From Bygone Bethlehem:

In 1892 George H. Myers, director of Bethlehem Iron Company, the First National Bank, and the Lehigh Valley Railroad, built this buiding, then the largest building in the Lehigh Valley. Five stories high and built of Milford pink granite, it was designed by Philadelphia architect Wills G. Hale, whose flamboyant, highly-ornate style was popular in the 1880s and 1890s. Myers lived on 231 East Market Street.

Myers Building
Bethlehem, PA
1890

Designed by Willis G. Hale in 1890 for industrialist George H. Myers, the Myers Building is located at 521-525 Main Street in the Central Bethlehem Historic District. Still standing today, it now houses the store ‘In The Mood’.

From Bygone Bethlehem:

In 1892 George H. Myers, director of Bethlehem Iron Company, the First National Bank, and the Lehigh Valley Railroad, built this buiding, then the largest building in the Lehigh Valley. Five stories high and built of Milford pink granite, it was designed by Philadelphia architect Wills G. Hale, whose flamboyant, highly-ornate style was popular in the 1880s and 1890s. Myers lived on 231 East Market Street.

"The Lorraine"Philadelphia, PA1892-1893
Designed in 1892 by Willis G. Hale as an apartment house, “The Lorraine” would later go on to become the “Divine Lorraine" after it was purchased in by Father Divine in 1948. After being purchase by Father Divine it would become one of the first hotels of its caliber to be racially integrated.
From the Historic American Buildings Survey:

The Divine Lorraine Hotel stands among the most visible buildings constructed during the decades that North Broad Street above Spring Garden Avenue challenged—to varying degrees of success—the old elite enclaves and institutions of Center City for designation as the most fashionable residential and civic district of Philadelphia. Constructed as an apartment house, the Lorraine stands among the earliest “full blown” examples of this type in a city known for its tradition of single family houses. The structure reigns among the important extant works of architect Willis G. Hale whose eccentric and unique high Victorian designs made him the darling of the fashion-conscious arrivistes pouring into Northwest Philadelphia late in the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century.

"The Lorraine"
Philadelphia, PA
1892-1893

Designed in 1892 by Willis G. Hale as an apartment house, “The Lorraine” would later go on to become the “Divine Lorraine" after it was purchased in by Father Divine in 1948. After being purchase by Father Divine it would become one of the first hotels of its caliber to be racially integrated.

From the Historic American Buildings Survey:

The Divine Lorraine Hotel stands among the most visible buildings constructed during the decades that North Broad Street above Spring Garden Avenue challenged—to varying degrees of success—the old elite enclaves and institutions of Center City for designation as the most fashionable residential and civic district of Philadelphia. Constructed as an apartment house, the Lorraine stands among the earliest “full blown” examples of this type in a city known for its tradition of single family houses. The structure reigns among the important extant works of architect Willis G. Hale whose eccentric and unique high Victorian designs made him the darling of the fashion-conscious arrivistes pouring into Northwest Philadelphia late in the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century.

Chestnut Street National Bank (Singerly Building, 1888; Union Trust Restaurant, 2009; Quaker City National Bank; Union Trust Co.; Jack Kellmer Jewelers; Integrity Trust Company Building, Commonwealth Title & Trust Company?)Philadelphia, PA1888
The Chestnut Street National Bank (and Chestnut Street Trust and Saving Fund Company), at 713-721 Chestnut Street, was designed by Willis G. Hale in 1888 for William M. Singerly, president of the bank and owner of the Philadelphia Record, for whom Hale earlier designed the Philadelphia Record Building.
Athletic Club of the Schuylkill Navy (Athletic Club of Philadelphia)Philadelphia, PA1889
Willis Hale designed this building at 1626-1628 Arch Street for the Athletic Club of the Schuylkill Navy in 1889. The building was demolished in 1972.
West End Hotel (Thackara Manufacturing Company, Weightman Building)Philadelphia, PA1889
The West End Hotel building at 1524-1526 Chestnut Street was designed by Willis G. Hale in 1889. In 1896 the building, which was home to the Thackara Manufacturing Company as well as the architectural offices of Willis G. Hale was destroyed in a fire.
112-132 S. 39th St.Philadelphia, PAThese row houses were designed by Willis G. Hale at an unknown date. Today they house students at the University of Pennsylvania and over the years have housed a few fraternities and sororities.
Office of William M. Singerly, The Philadelphia Record BuildingPhiladelphia, PA1882
The office of Philadelphia Record owner William M. Singerly in the Philadelphia Record building at 917-919 Chestnut Street was designed by Willis G. Hale in 1882.
From the Thompson Westcott Late Scrapbooks:

     Removal of the Philadelphia Record” to its New and Handsome Building, — For some days past extensive preparations have been going forward looking to the removal to-day of the ital Philadelphia Record, from its old quarters at Third and Chestnut streets to the new and spacious building erected by the proprietor, Wm. M. Singerly, for the purposes of his journal, on Chestnut street, above Ninth, adjoining the new Post-office.  A new Hoe perfecting press, and also an old one of similar style, were placed in the cellar the past week, on which part of the edition was run off.  In the composing room the gas fixtures have been provided, and new iron frames for the compositors’ cases, the latter containing a new font of type, with which to bring the paper out in a new dress on Monday morning, when it will be issued for the first time from its new quarters, the final steps towards this end being taken to-day in the removal and setting up of the pres at work last night and of some of the heavier portions of the machinery.  For a time, the publisher, cashier, bookkeeper and clerks will occupy the offices on the sixth floor, the publication office not being expected to be ready for occupants until the first of next month, at which time the tenants of the other portions of the building will be given possession.  A pit has been dug in the basement over which it is intended t place another perfecting press as soon as circumstances may render necessary such addition to the printing machinery.  It is the intention of Mr. Singerly to issue a Sunday paper on and after to-morrow week, the size of the sheet being the same as that published daily, but containing, if possible, more reading matter.     The new edifice, which occupies the site of the old Markoe House, purchased by Mr. Singerly, and demolished to make[way] for his imposing structure, has a front of [illegible 100?] feet on Chestnut street, and extends nearly the whole depth of the lot back to Chant street, 220 feet.  The material of the front is Fox Island granite, with polished granite trimmings, the eastern corner, adjoining the Post-office having a face of 30 feet, being of the same construction and design as the portion fronting on Chestnut Street.  The height of the building, to the top of the cornice, which is eight feet above the roof of the Post-office building, is 96 feet, of modern style with gothic details.  In the centre of the front a square iron tower, reached by a spiral staircase from the sixth floor, surmounts the building, and affords a fine view of the city and surrounding country, the elevation being about 147 feet.  The openings in the front of the building are very large, the head of one window forming the sill of the other.  The lintels are furnished with polished raised panels of massive appearance, decorated beneath with carved leaves.  On each side of the entrance there are triple columns each 16 inches in diameter, in two sections, with a band-stone between them.  The shafts of these are of heavy dark Quincy granite, polished.  The space between the face of the pedestal upon which these columns rest gives a recess entrance to the doorway of six feet.  Over the entrance is a semi-circular projection for a statue which it is intended t place there.     The building being of massive design and contructions, the foundations were necessarily made as solid and enduring as possible.  There are sixteen foundation piers, each is feet square, and supporting an estimated weight room the corridors above of 240 tons.  The height of the basement, which is equally as roomy as any of the six stories above is 15 feet; of the first floor 20 feet; second 15; third, 14; fourth 13 ½ ; fifth 12, and sixth, 16 feet.  The basement will be occupied by the press room, engine room and carrier room, the former being 45 by 71 feet with stone floor, and provided with all the latest improvements for printing and prompt delivery of the paper.     The first floor is divided by a [illegible] corridor, running from the main entrance to the rear of the building.  On the [west?] side of this corridor is one continuous [store?] room front to rear, supplied with a skylight in the centre.  The publication office, 58 feet long and 16 ½ feet wide, and handsomely [furnished?] in hard woods, polished, occupies the front half of the eastern side, with windows on Chestnut street and alongside the Post-office front.  Back of this is a wide iron [a___tone?] stairway, leading to the top of the building, by half flights to each floor.  Behind the stairway and along the northern end of the eastern side are the offices of the proprietor and cashier, with closets and wash rooms for the clerks and other employees.      The second floor front is one large room at the head of the corridor, the sp[ace?] on the west side and on either side [illegible] the stairway on the east side , being broken up into numerous good-sized communicating rooms, intended as offices for [lawyers?] and others, and all finished in hardwood, in handsome style.  The door frames along the corridor are models of richness and elegance, and do not fail to attract the attention of the most casual observer.  These rooms have all been rented, as well as those on the third and fourth floors, which, though not finished as elaborately as those on the second floor, correspond in general style.  Peirce’s Business College will occupy several of the largest rooms on this floor.     On the fifth floor will be the editorial and reportorial rooms, library, &c each department having space assigned it corresponding to the force employed.  At present these are scantily though newly furnished, the design being to fit them up in harmony with the general style of interior finish, as soon as time is given from more pressing demands.     The front half of the sixth floor, 47 by 58 feet, is the composing room, while the other half, in the rear of the stairway, is intended for an extra composing room, stereotype foundry and mailing room.  A small elevator in the back part of the building leads from the foundry to the press room, for the delivery and reception of the stereotype plates before and after printing from them, while in front of the stairway a large passenger elevator runs from the basement to the sixth story.     The building, which is fireproof, is to be heated by steam, and every provision has been made to secure proper ventilation, while comfort has been otherwise looked after in supplying the premises with all modern improvements, such as pneumatic tubes, electric call-bells &c.

Office of William M. Singerly, The Philadelphia Record Building
Philadelphia, PA
1882

The office of Philadelphia Record owner William M. Singerly in the Philadelphia Record building at 917-919 Chestnut Street was designed by Willis G. Hale in 1882.

From the Thompson Westcott Late Scrapbooks:

     Removal of the Philadelphia Record” to its New and Handsome Building, — For some days past extensive preparations have been going forward looking to the removal to-day of the ital Philadelphia Record, from its old quarters at Third and Chestnut streets to the new and spacious building erected by the proprietor, Wm. M. Singerly, for the purposes of his journal, on Chestnut street, above Ninth, adjoining the new Post-office.  A new Hoe perfecting press, and also an old one of similar style, were placed in the cellar the past week, on which part of the edition was run off.  In the composing room the gas fixtures have been provided, and new iron frames for the compositors’ cases, the latter containing a new font of type, with which to bring the paper out in a new dress on Monday morning, when it will be issued for the first time from its new quarters, the final steps towards this end being taken to-day in the removal and setting up of the pres at work last night and of some of the heavier portions of the machinery.  For a time, the publisher, cashier, bookkeeper and clerks will occupy the offices on the sixth floor, the publication office not being expected to be ready for occupants until the first of next month, at which time the tenants of the other portions of the building will be given possession.  A pit has been dug in the basement over which it is intended t place another perfecting press as soon as circumstances may render necessary such addition to the printing machinery.  It is the intention of Mr. Singerly to issue a Sunday paper on and after to-morrow week, the size of the sheet being the same as that published daily, but containing, if possible, more reading matter.
     The new edifice, which occupies the site of the old Markoe House, purchased by Mr. Singerly, and demolished to make[way] for his imposing structure, has a front of [illegible 100?] feet on Chestnut street, and extends nearly the whole depth of the lot back to Chant street, 220 feet.  The material of the front is Fox Island granite, with polished granite trimmings, the eastern corner, adjoining the Post-office having a face of 30 feet, being of the same construction and design as the portion fronting on Chestnut Street.  The height of the building, to the top of the cornice, which is eight feet above the roof of the Post-office building, is 96 feet, of modern style with gothic details.  In the centre of the front a square iron tower, reached by a spiral staircase from the sixth floor, surmounts the building, and affords a fine view of the city and surrounding country, the elevation being about 147 feet.  The openings in the front of the building are very large, the head of one window forming the sill of the other.  The lintels are furnished with polished raised panels of massive appearance, decorated beneath with carved leaves.  On each side of the entrance there are triple columns each 16 inches in diameter, in two sections, with a band-stone between them.  The shafts of these are of heavy dark Quincy granite, polished.  The space between the face of the pedestal upon which these columns rest gives a recess entrance to the doorway of six feet.  Over the entrance is a semi-circular projection for a statue which it is intended t place there.
     The building being of massive design and contructions, the foundations were necessarily made as solid and enduring as possible.  There are sixteen foundation piers, each is feet square, and supporting an estimated weight room the corridors above of 240 tons.  The height of the basement, which is equally as roomy as any of the six stories above is 15 feet; of the first floor 20 feet; second 15; third, 14; fourth 13 ½ ; fifth 12, and sixth, 16 feet.  The basement will be occupied by the press room, engine room and carrier room, the former being 45 by 71 feet with stone floor, and provided with all the latest improvements for printing and prompt delivery of the paper.
     The first floor is divided by a [illegible] corridor, running from the main entrance to the rear of the building.  On the [west?] side of this corridor is one continuous [store?] room front to rear, supplied with a skylight in the centre.  The publication office, 58 feet long and 16 ½ feet wide, and handsomely [furnished?] in hard woods, polished, occupies the front half of the eastern side, with windows on Chestnut street and alongside the Post-office front.  Back of this is a wide iron [a___tone?] stairway, leading to the top of the building, by half flights to each floor.  Behind the stairway and along the northern end of the eastern side are the offices of the proprietor and cashier, with closets and wash rooms for the clerks and other employees.
     The second floor front is one large room at the head of the corridor, the sp[ace?] on the west side and on either side [illegible] the stairway on the east side , being broken up into numerous good-sized communicating rooms, intended as offices for [lawyers?] and others, and all finished in hardwood, in handsome style.  The door frames along the corridor are models of richness and elegance, and do not fail to attract the attention of the most casual observer.  These rooms have all been rented, as well as those on the third and fourth floors, which, though not finished as elaborately as those on the second floor, correspond in general style.  Peirce’s Business College will occupy several of the largest rooms on this floor.
     On the fifth floor will be the editorial and reportorial rooms, library, &c each department having space assigned it corresponding to the force employed.  At present these are scantily though newly furnished, the design being to fit them up in harmony with the general style of interior finish, as soon as time is given from more pressing demands.
     The front half of the sixth floor, 47 by 58 feet, is the composing room, while the other half, in the rear of the stairway, is intended for an extra composing room, stereotype foundry and mailing room.  A small elevator in the back part of the building leads from the foundry to the press room, for the delivery and reception of the stereotype plates before and after printing from them, while in front of the stairway a large passenger elevator runs from the basement to the sixth story.
     The building, which is fireproof, is to be heated by steam, and every provision has been made to secure proper ventilation, while comfort has been otherwise looked after in supplying the premises with all modern improvements, such as pneumatic tubes, electric call-bells &c.

Heywood Chair Factory (TenTen, c. 2003; Weightman Factory & Warehouse; Heywood Factory & Warehouse)Philadelphia, PA1892
The factory at 1010 Race Street was designed by Willis G. Hale in 1892 for the Heywood Company. It has since been converted into the TenTen condos.
Main Building, Jewish Foster Home and Orphan AsylumPhiladelphia, PA1881-1890
The Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum at Mill and Chew Streets after the fire in 1999 and before demolition in 2007-2008.

Main Building, Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum
Philadelphia, PA
1881-1890

The Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum at Mill and Chew Streets after the fire in 1999 and before demolition in 2007-2008.

Main Building, Jewish Foster Home and Orphan AsylumPhiladelphia, PA1881-1890
Additions and alterations were made to the existing building, the Fraley Smith residence, by adding 3rd and 4th stories and a new wing from designs by Willis G. Hale. The Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum at Mill and Chew Streets in Germantown later sold the building to the Ancilla Domini Academy and was later passed to the Manna Bible Institute who owned the building when it was destroyed by fire in 1999. The remaining structure was demolished in 2007-2008 by the current property owner, La Salle University.

Main Building, Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum
Philadelphia, PA
1881-1890

Additions and alterations were made to the existing building, the Fraley Smith residence, by adding 3rd and 4th stories and a new wing from designs by Willis G. Hale. The Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum at Mill and Chew Streets in Germantown later sold the building to the Ancilla Domini Academy and was later passed to the Manna Bible Institute who owned the building when it was destroyed by fire in 1999. The remaining structure was demolished in 2007-2008 by the current property owner, La Salle University.

1500 Block North Seventeenth Street (Houses), West sidePhiladelphia, PA1886
Designed by Willis G. Hale in 1886 as part of a residential development by Peter A. B. Widener and William L. Elkins.
From the Historic American Buildings Survey:

The dwellings in the 1500 block of N. Seventeenth Street stand among the most lavish in North Philadelphia. Developed by streetcar barons Peter A. B. Widener and William L. Elkins and designed by Willis G. Hale the eccentric architect for the city’s nouveaux riches, these semi-detached houses are larger and considerably freer in their exterior detailing than most other urban residences in the area. Despite not having high profile siting along N. Broad Street or any of the premier east-west avenues extending to Fairmount Park, their robust street presence was carefully thought-out and constructed. The twin residences were clearly meant for and ultimately inhabited (if only for a few decades) by families comprising the upper tier of the expanding post-Civil War bourgeoisie who settled in the area. Hale’s eclectic exterior organization for the houses is representative of the high-Victorian fantasy common in Philadelphia buildings during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

1500 Block North Seventeenth Street (Houses), West side
Philadelphia, PA
1886

Designed by Willis G. Hale in 1886 as part of a residential development by Peter A. B. Widener and William L. Elkins.

From the Historic American Buildings Survey:

The dwellings in the 1500 block of N. Seventeenth Street stand among the most lavish in North Philadelphia. Developed by streetcar barons Peter A. B. Widener and William L. Elkins and designed by Willis G. Hale the eccentric architect for the city’s nouveaux riches, these semi-detached houses are larger and considerably freer in their exterior detailing than most other urban residences in the area. Despite not having high profile siting along N. Broad Street or any of the premier east-west avenues extending to Fairmount Park, their robust street presence was carefully thought-out and constructed. The twin residences were clearly meant for and ultimately inhabited (if only for a few decades) by families comprising the upper tier of the expanding post-Civil War bourgeoisie who settled in the area. Hale’s eclectic exterior organization for the houses is representative of the high-Victorian fantasy common in Philadelphia buildings during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.