Who built Boys' High School, Philadelphia

KorbenDallas

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They used to build some beautiful schools for boys in Philadelphia. Apparently it got torn down at some point.

Central High School (Philadelphia): In September 1900, the school moved to its third location in a newer and larger building located at Broad, Green, Fifteenth, and Brandywine Streets. In 1939, Central moved from its location at Broad and Green to its fourth, current, location at Ogontz and Olney Avenues. The building left behind became the Benjamin Franklin High School. And this BF High School of today is.... well it's ugly - New Looks.

Anything interesting you see?

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1904 Boys' High School, Philadelphia.jpg

Additional questions:
  • When was this building built?
  • Who built it?
  • When was it demolished, and why?
 

ISeenItFirst

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Yup, but for a building like this it’s very strange not to have any additional info. Is 1894 a date of renovation, construction or something else.

The architect’s name would be nice to know, or any info in general.
It is common to put a date stone for a building. It is sometimes year competed, but usually year started (If finished in a different year from start). It is not common practice to do this for a renovation, but I certainly wouldn't say that it has never been done.

I mostly see them on cornerstones, keystones, and foundation caps near an entrance. Changing out a stone in these locations is difficult to our it lightly.

Of course this one isn't carved in, so those numbers could have been added later, or could even be an address or some other purpose.
 

whitewave

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Are there any electrical wires running to it? I traced the wires from the electric poles as best as I could but they don't seem to run to this magnificent building.
 

ISeenItFirst

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Are there any electrical wires running to it? I traced the wires from the electric poles as best as I could but they don't seem to run to this magnificent building.
There is a wire front and center that attached to the building. It comes from right in front of the tree branch.

Doesn't really look electric though, and looks to go up at a fairly steep angle (could be perspective, I suppose). You can see something holding it on the building between those 2 windows. Wonder what that is. If it is electric, it is dangerous for a lot of reasons.
 

whitewave

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If we're looking at the same wire, I thought that went to the flagpole and was some sort of support. And would one wire be enough for a building that large?
 

ISeenItFirst

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If we're looking at the same wire, I thought that went to the flagpole and was some sort of support. And would one wire be enough for a building that large?
Yeah, back then it probably would be. Well, it still would be, it would just be a much bigger wire today. (Two actually)

I don't think it goes to the flagpole. I can't tell what its for. Maybe the window is an office and the resident puts his wet clothes on the line. Who knows.

Maybe some kind of radioa antenna?

Looking again, what is up with the other lines in the sky? On the left, some are chopped off and just hanging in space, and there is one on the right as well.
 
OP
KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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It is common to put a date stone for a building. It is sometimes year competed, but usually year started (If finished in a different year from start). It is not common practice to do this for a renovation, but I certainly wouldn't say that it has never been done. I mostly see them on cornerstones, keystones, and foundation caps near an entrance. Changing out a stone in these locations is difficult to our it lightly. Of course this one isn't carved in, so those numbers could have been added later, or could even be an address or some other purpose.
elmer_fisher.jpg

Elmer Fisher | Changing Vancouver

They do play with these numbers now and then. Obviously not by much in this case, but I only trust them somuch.
 

BrokenAgate

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They used to build some beautiful schools for boys in Philadelphia. Apparently it got torn down at some point.

Central High School (Philadelphia): In September 1900, the school moved to its third location in a newer and larger building located at Broad, Green, Fifteenth, and Brandywine Streets. In 1939, Central moved from its location at Broad and Green to its fourth, current, location at Ogontz and Olney Avenues. The building left behind became the Benjamin Franklin High School. And this BF High School of today is.... well it's ugly - New Looks.

Anything interesting you see?
Yes. What are those metal things on top of the domes? Wish we had better photos of those.
 

trismegistus

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Those domes don't look decorative - - they look utilitarian. It seems extra-obvious compared to the exquisite design of the building itself, which almost looks like a church.

Also, the use of gargoyles on the tower is curious - - I know Gothic revival is a thing but it does seem a bit out of place for the 1900s.
 

ScottFreeman

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They used to build some beautiful schools for boys in Philadelphia. Apparently it got torn down at some point.

Central High School (Philadelphia): In September 1900, the school moved to its third location in a newer and larger building located at Broad, Green, Fifteenth, and Brandywine Streets. In 1939, Central moved from its location at Broad and Green to its fourth, current, location at Ogontz and Olney Avenues. The building left behind became the Benjamin Franklin High School. And this BF High School of today is.... well it's ugly - New Looks.

Anything interesting you see?

Clickable: 2800 x 2239 px
View attachment 8401
Additional questions:
  • When was this building built?
  • Who built it?
  • When was it demolished, and why?
I really can't answer any of the questions but I'm starting to notice many of these pictures have been lightened or washed out? Maybe someone else is good with photoshop. I wonder what they look like darkened. I think I can make out the now familiar red/white or dark/light alternating colors over the window tops and in this and both the buildings behind and to the left and right of center. Also, if the building, which looks separate, behind on the right, has the same roof line height and peak ornament and is still there, perhaps the builder of it is listed? It almost looks like each one takes up their own block but maybe it's more of the campus. The domes look like they have the sliding doors of an observatory by this time.

My only reason for taking them down is that perhaps that color combination was getting too easy to spot with global travel and later color-photography becoming more commonplace. A few in a few cities can be explained but if you come home from holiday in Rome or Berlin with pictures of what look like the buildings two towns over, even down to the stone colors and round "gothic" windows? They were having enough trouble getting rid of the white stone cities as it is.
 
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HulkSmash

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It also appears that the right side is mud flooded. That far right corner street level looks higher then the center and left.

Here's another example of a grand building that if a construction company was tasked to create it today, could they?
 

ISeenItFirst

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It also appears that the right side is mud flooded. That far right corner street level looks higher then the center and left.

Here's another example of a grand building that if a construction company was tasked to create it today, could they?
Depends, does it have to BE the same or just look the same? The water gets muddy, punn intended, on many of these structures.
 

Magnetic

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I have come to the conclusion that the cornerstones dating in most buildings of this sort are from the latest renovation and not original build date. Ancient eroded brick in a building at UNC Chapel Hill, NC that has underground windows and doors has a cornerstone of 1967...apparently architects did not know to not put windows underground! Another Tartarian building has 1947 on its cornerstone with eroded weathered brick that matches the oldest structures. Cornerstones are nearly useless IMHO unless you want to know of the last "upgrade".
 
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