Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania Western Headquarters Building

We’ve seen this building before, from an angle, but here is old Pa Pitt’s best attempt (so far) at seeing it head-on from the front, the way the architects (Dowler & Dowler) might have drawn it back in 1957. The picture is a composite, and there are stitching errors if you examine it closely; but it still gives a better impression of the design of the building than any other picture of it that Father Pitt has seen.

One of the building’s most attractive features is the Pennsylvania relief with rotating globe, illustrating the slogan “Anywhere Any Time by Telephone.” The relief shows outsized Pittsburgh as “Gateway to the West,” and the clearly less important Philadelphia as home of the Liberty Bell and City Hall. The globe used to rotate to show the part of the earth currently illuminated by sunlight; but both the globe and the clock above it have stopped, and the plastic window over the globe is sadly fogged. Now that the building has become luxury apartments, perhaps an enlightened ownership will put a little money into restoring what used to be one of downtown’s unique attractions.

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