Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

421 Seventh Avenue

This building—a remnant of the pre-skyscraper age on Seventh Avenue—has been many things in its life. These days it is known only by its address. For a long while it was the Federated Investors Building. In 1923 it belonged to the Stevens & Foster Co., which Father Pitt believes was a maker of steel pens. In 1910 it was marked Geo. A. Kelly Co. Wholesale Drugs. Before that, it belonged to J. N. McCullough. It was built in the 1890s on the site of the First United Presbyterian Church, whose congregation had moved to the East End.

This is another one of those pictures where old Pa Pitt has created an impossible perspective by distorting different sections of the picture differently. Sometimes the best way to tell the truth about a building is with a little bit of fakery.

Addendum: The architect appears to have been George Orth & Brothers. Source: Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders’ Guide, May 19, 1897: “On the site of the First U. P. Church on Seventh avenue, a ten-story brick building will be erected by Mr. Harry Darlington. The plans will be made by Architects Geo. Orth & Bros., Stevenson building.” The building as it stands is four floors shorter, but buildings often shrank between initial announcement and final construction.

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