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Philadelphia Historical Commission

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NEWS
September 10, 2008 | By Jennifer Lin INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The controversial Dilworth House condominium project on Washington Square was dealt a major setback yesterday when the city's Department of Licenses and Inspection reversed a decision to allow a partial demolition of the historic property. The five-member L&I review board voted unanimously to overturn the Philadelphia Historical Commission, which had approved demolishing the back half of the Dilworth House. Former Mayor Richardson Dilworth built the house in 1957 as a symbol of his commitment to the neighborhood's revitalization.
NEWS
November 11, 1999 | By Rita Giordano, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Girard Estate, that graceful old South Philadelphia enclave of spacious homes and tree-lined streets, has been named a local historic district by the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The commission voted unanimously yesterday to bestow the historic designation, which will help preserve the character and architectural integrity of the neighborhood. "It meets all the criteria [for historic designation]. It's an absolute city treasure," said Wayne S. Spilove, chairman of the Historical Commission.
NEWS
February 16, 2005 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The neo-Colonial brick house on the east side of Washington Square seems almost self-effacing. But the quiet and long-empty onetime residence of former Mayor Richardson Dilworth appears to be quickly emerging as the locus of a major preservation dustup. Developer John Turchi Jr. wants to demolish the mayor's house, whose 1957 construction is widely viewed as a turning point in the transformation of Society Hill. In its place, Turchi last week told the Society Hill Civic Association, he would erect a 14-story, $25 million condo tower - dubbed "Dilworth House" - designed by renowned Philadelphia architect Robert Venturi.
NEWS
March 5, 2004 | By David B. Brawer
For more than 50 years, Philadelphia has struggled with the question of how we are to survive as a modern metropolis after the manufacturing jobs that fueled the city's growth for 150 years left after World War II. How was the city to prosper as a destination, as somewhere more than a pit stop between New York and Washington? How were we to develop new jobs and a vibrant tourist industry? What, in the end, makes Philadelphia unique? The answer is simple: It's the history. Philadelphia is believed to have the largest collection of 18th-century buildings in North America.
NEWS
August 14, 1991 | By Thomas Hine, Inquirer Architecture Critic
More than 150 preservationists from throughout Pennsylvania gathered here yesterday to hear that efforts to protect the state's history have been put on hold - and to try to figure out what to do now. The meeting was organized by a coalition of preservation and other groups called Pennsylvania at Risk, in response to last month's Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that Philadelphia's preservation law is unconstitutional. "Our world has truly turned upside down," said Grace Gary, executive director of Preservation Pennsylvania, a statewide organization based in Lancaster, who called the session an attempt to understand "the new world order after the Supreme Court decision.
LIVING
May 5, 1999 | By Stephan Salisbury, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Dream Garden, the threatened glass mosaic created by Maxfield Parrish and Louis Tiffany more than 80 years ago, was the subject of a court hearing yesterday as lawyers for the city and the owner argued over the proper venue to determine the fate of the 49-by-15-foot work of art. The mural, designed for the lobby of what is now the Curtis Center off Independence National Historical Park, is owned by the estate of developer John Merriam, which has...
NEWS
June 5, 1988 | By Carl DiOrio, Special to The Inquirer
A pair of preservation officials, after touring the township earlier in the day, joined the move to save historic properties in Lower Merion. Martha Wolf, a preservation specialist with the Brandywine Conservancy, and Richard Tyler, executive director of the Philadelphia Historical Commission, spoke Thursday to the Ad Hoc Zoning and Planning Review Committee, which has been wrestling with implementation of a newly passed township preservation ordinance....
NEWS
December 15, 2003 | By Leonard N. Fleming INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Old City has been given a new distinction: historic district. Last week, the Philadelphia Historical Commission unanimously approved Old City as the ninth historic district designated in the city since 1984. The decision makes buildings, structures, sites and objects in the district subject to regulation and oversight by the commission on such matters as alterations and demolitions. "It's a great day for Philadelphia," said Michael Sklaroff, the commission chairman. "I don't know why it took so long.
NEWS
August 12, 1999 | By Nahal Toosi, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Residents opposed to the reconstruction of the McIlhenny mansion on Rittenhouse Square yesterday told the Philadelphia Historical Commission that a part of the structure once believed to be historically insignificant may in fact be historically valuable. The assertion, however, proved too complex and time-consuming for commission members, who decided to postpone debate until they could schedule a special meeting for the matter. No date was set. For months, several Rittenhouse Square residents and city preservationists have opposed the plans of the mansion's new owner, Henry McNeil Jr., to demolish and reconstruct portions of the structure, a patchwork of five linked buildings, 1914-16 Rittenhouse Square and, in the back, 1915-1919 Manning St. The mansion, on the southwest corner of Rittenhouse Square, is named for famed art collector Henry McIlhenny, who lived there for decades, entertaining such guests as Queen Elizabeth and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
NEWS
June 2, 2012 | By Walter F. Naedele and INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
David Amburn, 64, whose dreams of becoming an architect were realized in a long career of cutting-edge design in Philadelphia, died of cancer Tuesday, April 10, at his home in Hayesville, N.C., where he had lived since 2011. "From the time he was a little boy ... he designed homes with Lincoln Logs," said Mr. Amburn's sister, Peggy Epton. "And I don't remember him ever wanting to do anything else other than architecture. " In 2008, Mayor Nutter recognized Mr. Amburn, a partner in the Center City firm Amburn/Jarosinski, with an appointment to the Philadelphia Historical Commission, where he headed its architectural review commission.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
July 3, 2012 | By Valerie Russ and Daily News Staff Writer
THE SPRAWLING white villa at 40th and Pine streets, on the fringes of the University of Pennsylvania, is a historic mansion in disguise. Converted into a nursing home decades ago and later encased by concrete additions, the mansion has been a hulking, blighted eyesore for years, both before and after the Ivy League school paid $1.6 million for it in 2003. Still, neighbors and historic preservationists are fighting to save it from the wrecking ball in a case they say shows that the city agency in charge of protecting historic buildings no longer actually cares about history.
NEWS
June 2, 2012 | By Walter F. Naedele and INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
David Amburn, 64, whose dreams of becoming an architect were realized in a long career of cutting-edge design in Philadelphia, died of cancer Tuesday, April 10, at his home in Hayesville, N.C., where he had lived since 2011. "From the time he was a little boy ... he designed homes with Lincoln Logs," said Mr. Amburn's sister, Peggy Epton. "And I don't remember him ever wanting to do anything else other than architecture. " In 2008, Mayor Nutter recognized Mr. Amburn, a partner in the Center City firm Amburn/Jarosinski, with an appointment to the Philadelphia Historical Commission, where he headed its architectural review commission.
NEWS
September 10, 2008 | By Jennifer Lin INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The controversial Dilworth House condominium project on Washington Square was dealt a major setback yesterday when the city's Department of Licenses and Inspection reversed a decision to allow a partial demolition of the historic property. The five-member L&I review board voted unanimously to overturn the Philadelphia Historical Commission, which had approved demolishing the back half of the Dilworth House. Former Mayor Richardson Dilworth built the house in 1957 as a symbol of his commitment to the neighborhood's revitalization.
NEWS
February 7, 2006 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
A new design that would incorporate the facade of the Society Hill house built by former Mayor Richardson Dilworth into a controversial high-rise condo project was submitted yesterday to the Philadelphia Historical Commission. Developer John J. Turchi Jr., owner of the historically certified house on Washington Square, has also asked the commission to postpone consideration of the project, now scheduled for discussion and review at Friday's commission meeting Neil Sklaroff, Turchi's attorney, said the new design would provide greater acknowledgment of the significance of the site and of Dilworth.
NEWS
February 16, 2005 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The neo-Colonial brick house on the east side of Washington Square seems almost self-effacing. But the quiet and long-empty onetime residence of former Mayor Richardson Dilworth appears to be quickly emerging as the locus of a major preservation dustup. Developer John Turchi Jr. wants to demolish the mayor's house, whose 1957 construction is widely viewed as a turning point in the transformation of Society Hill. In its place, Turchi last week told the Society Hill Civic Association, he would erect a 14-story, $25 million condo tower - dubbed "Dilworth House" - designed by renowned Philadelphia architect Robert Venturi.
NEWS
September 28, 2004 | By Vernon Clark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Plans to build an 1,800-member church on the site of two architecturally stunning buildings in Mount Airy received a setback yesterday when one of the sites was designated historical. After a hearing lasting nearly five hours, the Philadelphia Historical Commission ruled that the Presser Home, a vacant former retirement home for music teachers at 101 W. Johnson St., should receive special consideration. The historical designation prevents demolition of the building or modification of its exterior without the commission's approval.
NEWS
March 5, 2004 | By David B. Brawer
For more than 50 years, Philadelphia has struggled with the question of how we are to survive as a modern metropolis after the manufacturing jobs that fueled the city's growth for 150 years left after World War II. How was the city to prosper as a destination, as somewhere more than a pit stop between New York and Washington? How were we to develop new jobs and a vibrant tourist industry? What, in the end, makes Philadelphia unique? The answer is simple: It's the history. Philadelphia is believed to have the largest collection of 18th-century buildings in North America.
NEWS
February 25, 2004
FOR ANYONE who doesn't know what a historical commission does, it's simple: A historical commission exists to protect us from politicians, especially those who want to eliminate it. Obviously, we don't support City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell's recent attempt to do just that. A bill she introduced would strip the Philadelphia Historical Commission of its primary powers and put them in the hands of City Council. That means that the rigorous review process of designating a building or a district as historical would be taken out of the hands of architects, designers, historians and city experts qualified to do the job of preserving our history, and put them in the hands of 17 elected officials, who are often more interested in preserving their own hides.
NEWS
February 19, 2004 | By Jeff Hurvitz
Cross into Philadelphia from almost any direction and you are struck by the weeds, graffiti and aura of neglect that seems in stark contrast to nearby suburban communities. Yet, as you get closer to the city's core, you get the feeling that a celebration of Philadelphia's vast architectural treasures awaits - from Center City's old mercantile buildings to the refurbished rowhouses and spacious Victorians of South, North and West Philadelphia. Now, in one of those inexplicable acts of a myopic public official, City Council is considering a bill that, if passed, could end Philadelphia's rich and necessary program of historic preservation.
NEWS
February 12, 2004
In an old town steeped in several hundred years of history, Philadelphians have to hope that a City Council proposal for a radical remake of historic-preservation rules would get a close - and skeptical - review. As for Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell's recent proposal, it should be scrutinized, and then sacked. Preservationists say the measure would undermine an already weakened climate for historic preservation in the city. Not only that, it could threaten Philadelphia's ability to draw on Gov. Rendell's proposed state aid to bolster older communities.
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