Fairmount Park Welcome Center


Image courtesy Fairmount Park Archives

Fairmount Park Welcome Center
1599 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia
1960; Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson

UPDATE MARCH 2015: Preliminary design schemes for the new LOVE Park were released on March 24. THE GOOD NEWS: the historic Welcome Center is included in and compatible with all four prospective plans. THE BAD NEWS: officials are still leaving open the possibility of demolition. The fate of the building is expected to be announced at the next public project meeting on April 30. “Save the Saucer” supporters can sign our petition or email info@fairmountparkconservancy.org to let City officials know that the Welcome Center is a modern Philadelphia landmark worth saving!

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2015: Preservation Pennsylvania, our statewide partners in preservation advocacy, have added the Welcome Center to their 2014 “Pennsylvania At Risk” list.

Fans of midcentury modern architecture are rallying to save the former Philadelphia Hospitality Center (now known officially as the Fairmount Park Welcome Center and unofficially as the Love Park Visitors Center) from possible demolition after the City of Philadelphia announced plans to redesign Love Park with or without the quirky flying-saucer-shaped building in place.  Built at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 1960 by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the building actually predated the surrounding Love Park by five years. It was designed by architect Roy Larson of Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson as a futuristic celebration of postwar Philadelphia optimism, attracting visitors to the heart of Penn Center, one of America’s most ambitious experiments in urban renewal.

The building survives today as one of the best and most intact examples of flamboyant midcentury modern architecture in Center City Philadelphia and has been determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  But without a strong show of public support for its architectural and cultural significance, competing pressures to add green space and concession areas to Love Park could undermine preservation efforts.  Recognizing the building’s potential as a model 21st-century preservation project, the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance have launched a social media campaign to #savethesaucer.

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              Resources and Links

              Media coverage of the Fairmount Park Welcome Center:

              Places to Save

              You can help Save the Saucer by signing the following petition, which will be delivered to the Fairmount Park Conservancy as part of their public engagement effort for the redesign of Love Park/JFK Plaza:

              The iconic Fairmount Park Welcome Center is an important one-of-a-kind building that deserves to be protected from demolition.  Its restoration and creative reuse as part of Love Park’s redesign would be a model 21st-century demonstration project that preserves one of Center City’s best and last examples of optimistic, innovative mid-century modern architecture. The building is structurally and functionally sound; its demolition is both economically and environmentally irresponsible. As plans are being made for a redesigned Love Park/JFK Plaza, I support the Preservation Alliance and its Young Friends in their calls to “Save the Saucer!”   

              You can also add personalized comments by clicking the “READ THE PETITION” bar below to edit this message.

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              Back to Places to Save