Monday, August 16, 2010

intrigued by the abandoned

Over the past month and a half as I have been out and about in Philly, I have noticed so many abandoned buildings all over the city. These are not normal buildings-but massive, ornate, amazing, gorgeous structures that were once something of great grandeur and are now in desolate areas, graffiti stricken and boarded up-left to be destroyed by whoever seizes the opportunity. 

Yesterday, a colleague of mine and I were running errands and we passed one of the buildings that I am in awe of. I constantly think about the Divine Lorraine Hotel and what it once was. My curiosity and love of historical treasures prompted me to do some research online late last night.

I found out that the Divine Lorraine Hotel was built in the late 1800s as a luxury apartment community, Lorraine Apartments, for the wealthy that came to Philly to do business with steel, railroads, and other highly profitable business ventures of the time. 
circa 1949
In the mid 1900s the building was purchased by a Pastor of the name Divine. Pastor Divine turned the structure into a luxurious hotel-the only one of its time to have servants quarters, butlers, dining rooms, and elevators. The Pastor also allowed for mixed racial company which was radical at the time. Throughout the hotel, one could find paintings above doorways that said, "Let there be America", "Abraham Lincoln spoke about freedom", "International Harmony", "Racial Harmony."
Divine Hotel lobby
guest room and bath
dining hall

After Pastor Divine's death, the building has been sold many times over and various owners have allowed it to sit and collect "dust" to say the very least. Supposedly in Fall 2009 (which has clearly passed) the Divine Lorraine Hotel was to be turned into condos. 
Divine Lorraine Hotel now, July 2010

I am eagerly waiting and hoping for this amazing, historical, structure to be turned into something usable and appreciated. Evidently, financing has been the problem. Until then...the hotel is home to squatters, homeless, and random visitors. 

Is there anything in your city or area where you live or work that you are intrigued by? 

Luv & smiles,

Philadelphia Historical Society

14 thoughts:

WendyB said...

It's amazing to see those old pictures and compare them to the more recent ones.

Brina said...

I just love old architecture. That building is too cool to let sit abandoned forever. I especially love how the Pastor was way ahead of his time and included all people! Thanks for sharing! :)

Annie said...

There is this old train station in Detroit that these pictures remind me of. It's a huge building, and super ornate and beautiful. There are a whole bunch of abandoned buildings in the city, but that one is by far the most beautiful.

Mandy [Mandy's Yellow Corner] said...

Wow, this was a fascinating post! David and I LOVE the old buildings downtown, and share your sadness over the ones that look like they're just falling apart. What a shame.

Kayla said...

I think of things like this all the time. There are tons of houses from the 1800's in my town that are just sitting there. When I'm married (and the boy makes us rich ;} ) I want to buy one and return it to it's former glory. And I can't believe they abandoned that fab grand piano in there. I want it.

Ramblings of a Small Town Girl

Cassie said...

What an amazing post, Gina. I too am always amazed by the beautiful buildings left abandoned. There used to be so many in Omaha, NE, where I'm from. They started turning them into condos and apartments as well, which I think is a wonderful idea. I loved reading your post and seeing the pictures ;D

E said...

Oh I'm so glad you shared what they used to be! I always wonder about abandoned places around DC...

Robyn said...

We don't have any really interesting abandoned buildings in my area, but we do have a ton of run down homes. I always want to creep inside them.

The Bonjour Family! said...

How interesting. Such a beautiful building!

Melissa said...

Oh, it's so cool that you looked this up and learned about the building!

Lelan @ Good Gravy! said...

I'm a lover of old buildings and their histories, too. How crazy is that dining hall photo?!

Ashley said...

So sad that such a beautiful structure just got forgotten about - it looks like it was quite something in its day! There are tons of things like that in my city, in upstate NY - I know that my mom talks of her grandfather who used to own a huge apartment complex in Utica, which is now abandoned just like this one in Philly. So sad :(


Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea said...

I love architecture and old buildings!

Collette Osuna said...

Hello...I just found your blog....Love it!!! Love all the pics...I too really like to visit and learn the history of abandoned buildings...:)

Have a great day!

Im a new follower:)

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