CategoryChapter Programs

Skyline Spectacular: Outdoor Advertising Structures and American Architecture

Image Credit: Jack E. Boucher, photographer. EAST FACADE AS SEEN FROM EIGTH AND MARKET STREETS – Philadelphia Saving Fund Society, Twelfth & Market Streets, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA. 1985. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540

Presented by Craig Lee, art history Ph.D. candidate at the University of Delaware and Philadelphia Chapter SAH 2018 George B. Tatum Annual International Conference Fellow

Tuesday, October 2 at 6:00 p.m.

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, 219 S 6th St,

For Philadelphia Chapter SAH Members and their guests only, please register at info@philachaptersah.org

Initially dismissed as a visual blight, outdoor advertising structures rose with the twentieth-century’s new skyscrapers in the United States and soon came to overlook the urban realm, provoking intense public and professional debate about the changing nature of the American cityscape. Their transformational effect led to a range of responses across the country from new restrictive building codes and civic lawsuits to their embrace in architectural designs and urban depictions. Please join Craig to explore the history of rooftop billboards, illuminated spectaculars, and other forms of commercial signage on top of buildings in relation to the aesthetic politics of the American skyline

Annual Members Meeting & Program 05/16/2018

Please join the Philadelphia Chapter SAH for our annual meeting of the Members and program.

The “Lady Architect”: (Re)Discovering the Career
and Clientele of Minerva Parker Nichols (1862-1949)

by Margaret (Molly) Lester, Research Associate for PennPraxis and creator
of the Preserving Minerva website, www.minervaparkernichols.com

Wednesday, May 16 at 6:00 p.m.
at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia,
219 S. 6th Street

The program will begin following the annual meeting of the Members.

Free for Phila Chapter SAH members.
$15.00 for non-members, payable on site.
Registration requested at info@philachaptersah.org

Although her formal independent practice lasted just eight years and was concentrated in the Philadelphia area, Minerva Parker Nichols (1862-1949) built a career and clientele of architectural and social significance in the late nineteenth-century’s professionalizing field of architecture. Trained as an apprentice, Nichols designed over 60 commissions nationwide, earning plaudits and extensive press coverage from her peers. Yet, she is rarely recognized today for her contributions to the field of architecture—in particular, on behalf of female clients and women’s clubs in an era of growing economic independence for women. This oversight neglects one of the earliest case studies of a woman successfully contributing dozens of structures to the American built environment—including spaces explicitly for women—and creating a business model as an independent female architect where there was none. This talk is based on research that began 7 years ago for a Master’s thesis, and continues today.

Margaret (Molly) Lester is a Research Associate for PennPraxis, the center for applied research, outreach, and practice at PennDesign.  Her portfolio includes research, documentation, and field survey projects related to historic buildings and landscapes, ranging from eighteenth-century historic sacred places to twentieth-century public golf courses. Previously, she worked as a freelance architectural historian and preservation planner, a national program director for Partners for Sacred Places, and an architectural historian/historic tax credit consultant for Heritage Consulting Group. She holds a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Architectural History from the University of Virginia.

A TRIPLE TOUR IN TRAPPE PLUS THE BERMAN MUSEUM OF ART

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg House, Trappe, PA

Please join us on Saturday, March 17

10:00 a.m, to approximately 1:30 p.m.
$15 for Philadelphia Chapter SAH members and their guests, $20 for non-members, payable on site.
Registration required, please email your name and the names of your guests to info@philachaptersah.org

We will be guided through three historic properties: The Speaker’s House was the home of Frederick Muhlenberg (1750-1801), the First and Third Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1781-1791.  The house is currently being restored to its late 18th-C appearance. The Augustus Lutheran Church, a National Historic Landmark built in 1743, was where the Reverend Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (1711-1787), Frederick’ father, preached and became known as the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in the United States. And the Henry Muhlenberg House, a fully restored house museum furnished with many original family artifacts where Henry and his wife Anna Maria raised their large family, several of whom had a significant impact on colonial life in North America as pastors, military officers, and politicians. (www.speakershouse.org — www.augustustrappe.org — www.trappehistoricalsociety.org)

Then we will go to The Philip & Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College for a special tour of the exhibit Real Estate: Dwelling in Contemporary Art with Museum Director, Charlie Stainback.  Named by the Philadelphia Inquirer as one of “Fall’s 13 must-see art exhibits” it features the work of contemporary artists working with or responding to the varying aspects of real estate vernacular—buildings, rooms, structures, monuments, properties and houses.  From the monumental to ubiquitous building, the ordinary, or derelict piece of property to the historic site, architectural details or the room itself, the artists presented in Real Estate consider an array of norms that fall under the much broader term of “architecture”. (www.ursinus.edu/berman).

We will begin at the Augustus Lutheran Church, 717 W. Main Street Collegeville (Trappe), PA, at 10:00 a.m. and tour the three properties through noon, then we’ll gather at the Berman Museum, 601 E Main Street, Collegeville, PA, at 12:30 p.m.

All of these sites are within 1.5 miles along Main Street.

 

Save the Dates for Collegeville 3/10 or 3/11

We are working on a guided tour of the exhibit “Real Estate: Dwelling in Contemporary Art” on view at the The Philip & Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA, on either Saturday, March 10 or Sunday, March 11 at 12:30 p.m.
https://www.ursinus.edu/live/profiles/3083-real-estate-dwelling-in-contemporary-art/berman/exhibition.php

We are also hoping to set up a tour of the Speaker’s House less than a mile away in Trappe, PA, following the Berman Museum at about 2:00 p.m.  The home of Frederick Muhlenberg, the First and Third Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, is currently being restored to its 1790s appearance.

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Annual Pizza & Pictures Party

Tuesday January 23, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
219 S. 6th Street

Please join us for an evening of fun
and good food!

SNOW DATE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31

Pizza and beverages will be provided.  Please feel free to bring a dessert to share if you wish.  There is no charge for Philadelphia Chapter SAH members AND each member is invited to bring one guest as a prospective member.  Additional guests are welcome at $15.00 each.

Please RSVP to William V. Kriebel, Phila SAH Treasurer at kriebewv@drexel.edu or call 215-735-3697.

If you would like to bring a few digital images to give a short (5 minute/10-15 image) talk on a recent project, current research, or “What I did on my summer vacation,” please contact Bruce Laverty at laverty@PhilaAthenaeum.org or call 215-925-2688.  Digital images should be placed on a thumb drive as individual image files or in a Power Point file.

 

Real Philadelphia: Selections from the Robert M. Skaler Postcard Collection

Join us for a special tour with Bruce Laverty, Curator of Architecture

Monday, December 4th at 6:00 p.m.
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
219 S. 6th Street
Free, but registration required. Please email us at info@philachaptersah.org

More than 250 examples of “real photo postcards” are on display from the a popular and wide-spread type that were produced by professional and amateur photographers alike between 1904 and 1918. These extraordinary images depict Philadelphia at the zenith of its industrial prosperity. Of particular note are the scores of pictures of children who played on the streets of the ever-growing row-house neighborhoods of the Workshop of the World.

Bob Skaler began collecting postcard views of Philadelphia in the 1960s at flea markets, yard sales and antique shops. His collection has appeared in the several books he has written for Arcadia Publishing including Society Hill and Old City, West Philadelphia and Philadelphia’s Broad Street. He felt The Athenaeum would be the best repository for his collection of 1,899 postcards making them available to historians and researchers.

The exhibit is free and runs through January 26, 2018.

Save the Date for these Upcoming Phila Chapter SAH Programs

Monday, December 4, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Curator’s Tour of
Real Philadelphia: Selections from the Robert M. Skaler Postcard Collection
with Bruce Laverty, Curator of Architecture
at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
Annual Members Pizza & Pictures party
at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Full details and registration information will be sent out about a month before each event.

Special Curator’s Tour

Tuesday, November 14 at 5:00 p.m.
The Heritage Center of The Union League of Philadelphia, 140 South Broad Street

Free but space is limited, please register by emailing us at info@philachaptersah.org
Priority given to Phila Chapter SAH members

Please join us for guided tour of this exhibit which honors the second clause in the first line of the Union League’s by-laws, “Every member shall support the Constitution, and the free enterprise system.”

The exhibit celebrates entrepreneurship, with a focus on nine entrepreneurs, from William Penn to Atwater Kent. Individuals whose vision, hard work, and willingness to take risks helped build the City of Philadelphia. See the inventions, artifacts, and important documents from business and industry that bring to life the birth and rise of Philadelphia.  See the Thomas Holme’s original 1683 Portraiture of Philadelphia map, the money box of “Financier of the Revolution” Robert Morris, Stephen Girard’s desk, and nearly 100 other original artifacts and documents of iconic Philadelphia entrepreneurs.

Guest Curator and Historian and Archivist Jack McCarthy will share his insights into preparing this exhibit.

For additional information visit www.ulheritagecenter.org

Exhibition Tour with curator Bruce Laverty

2017-05-11 Laying Tracks poster

Thursday, May 11 at 6:00 p.m.
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, 219 S. 6th Street
Cost: Free, but space is limited.  Open to SAH Phila Chapter members and their guests only. Registration required at ffaphila@hotmail.com

The introduction of railroads in the 1830s initiated a revolution in the development of American industry, land use, and social patterns. The new technology challenged the nascent American professions of architecture and engineering to create entirely new building and structural types to meet railroad needs— passenger waiting stations, bridges, train sheds, repair shops, grand downtown depots, and even bedroom suburbs. For more than 100 years, Philadelphia’s most important designers met this challenge, including William Strickland, Thomas U. Walter, John Notman, Theophilus P. Chandler, the Wilson Brothers, Frank Furness, Horace Trumbauer and Paul P. Cret. This exhibit features drawings, prints, photographs, and manuscripts that document how these Philadelphia architects and engineers transformed not only their own city, but much of the American landscape.

The exhibition is on view February 13 through May 12, 2017.  http://www.philaathenaeum.org/

 

Don’t Scare the Horses: The Development of the American Estate Garage

2017-04-04 American Estate Garage Westthorpe

By Jeff Groff, Director of Interpretation and Estate Historian,
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Tuesday, April 4 at 6:00 p.m.
Room B-3, Meyerson Hall, Univ of Pennsylvania
Free and open to all.  Seating is first come, first served.  No registration required.

Innovation and speed were the keystones of American life in the early twentieth century with the wealthy embracing every new means of transportation to move about—and to show off their success.  At their country places, new types of buildings were designed to house their automobiles, and an important new type of servant was added to the estate  staff list—chauffeur.  Jeff Groff, director of interpretation & estate historian at Winterthur, will explore the design and function of these early garages; their evolution into key estate  features; and the need to define the chauffeur’s duties, status, and relationship to fellow servants and employers.