Field Notes Blog

Tomorrow’s Landmarks Today

Two things are true about architectural taste: 1) Almost every new style and new generation of buildings will eventually be loathed as out-of-date and ugly. 2) Almost every “out-of-date and ugly” style of building will eventually be appreciated as historic and beautiful. It was true for Colonial buildings, for Federal buildings, for Victorian buildings, for […]

Tube Tuesday: Architectural Wallflowers

In this gem of an interview produced by Temple University, photographer Betsy Manning and professor Ken Finkel (whose Redbricker column for Philly Brownstoner never ceases to amaze/amuse) discuss Manning’s passion for documenting the lesser-known corners of the city.  She describes her subjects as “architectural wallflowers”– overlooked, ignored, nondescript, until you stop and really see them.  The […]

Six Degrees of Edmund Bacon

Edmund Bacon, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Planning Commission from 1949 to 1970, is often called the father of modern Philadelphia.  His hand guided virtually every major postwar project in the city.  He was also the father of actor Kevin Bacon, whose six degrees of separation from every actor known to man is the stuff […]

Tube Tuesday: Philadelphia Plans For “New” City

Another gem from the dustbin, this is classic footage of the 1947 Better Philadelphia Exhibition and its famous flipping model designed by Louis Kahn, Edmund Bacon, and Oskar Stonorov.  The narration on this newsreel is sadly lost, so we may never know what’s going on with the guy in the undershirt and sandals.  Read more […]

Unlisted: Overseas Motor Works

Written and drawn by Ben Leech Unlisted is a series of portraits highlighting Philadelphia buildings not yet listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.  To learn how to protect a building by nominating it to the Register, click here. Address: 1501 Fairmount Avenue Architect: Unknown Built: Unknown (c.1930s) What ancient art deco civilization left […]

Tube Tuesday: Vintage Philly

Pure vintage boosterism.  Worth it for the street scenes alone– skip up to 2:30 for some amazing neon, “flashing in the night of complacency and ignorance!”

Unlisted: Sound of Market

Written and drawn by Ben Leech Unlisted is a series of portraits highlighting Philadelphia buildings not yet listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.  To learn how to protect a building by nominating it to the Register, click here. Address: 15-21 S. 11th Street Architect: Sauer & Hahn? William Steele & Sons? Built: 1912 […]

Tube Tuesday: The Eraserhood

 A portrait of “Eraserhood,” the Callowhill neighborhood that inspired David Lynch’s Eraserhead.  A portion of this neighborhood is in the process of being added to the National Register of Historic Places (but not because Lynch lived here): http://planphilly.com/gritty-callowhill-recognized-national-historic-district