MOTU@5 | How We Got Here Online Exhibit | The architecture of Philly’s transportation system

Throughout October, MOTU and the Free Library of Philadelphia will be showcasing unique archival images from Philadelphia’s transportation and utilities history in an on-line exhibit called “How’d we get here?”.  Every and Monday and Wednesday in October we will be showcasing a certain segment of the exhibit (all photographs are from the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Print and Picture Collection).

Last week Wednesday we took a look at the Broad Street Station and Fire and today we’ll be taking a brief look at the history of transportation architecture in Philadelphia by selecting three of our favorite photos from the “Architecture of Philly’s Transportation System” portion of the exhibit.  You can check out all of the historic architectural renderings online here and in person at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Central Branch (1901 Vine Street).

Philadelphia was at the heart of the American industrial revolution, thanks in no small part to the Pennsylvania Railroad. At the turn of the century it was the largest corporation in America, and its managers, vice presidents and presidents made sure that the stations reflected its stature. These plans and renderings show the imagination of early Philadelphians, dreaming their city of tomorrow, the one we live in today.

Proposed Broad and Ohio Station

proposed broad and ohio station

Instead of this grand Baltimore and Ohio train station, Philadelphians can find an apartment tower at 24th and Chestnut.

Proposed Benjamin Franklin Parkway by John H. Windrim, 1930s

proposed parkway by Windrim 1892

There were many proposals for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and while Philadelphia architect, John H. Windrim’s proposal did not make the final cut, it looks awfully close to the design proposed by the project architect, Jacques Gréber.

Plans for the Underground Concourse

engineer plans  subway top 5

These plans show the vision for the underground concourse beneath City Hall Station which was completed in 1928.


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