Two Grecian Temples
Pete Smith submitted this interesting question for our readers.
I was amused by two images that I recently found in the archives of the Library Company of
Philadelphia. Readers of The E-Sylum should recognize the building on the left as the Second
Philadelphia Mint. It was located at the northwest corner of Chestnut and Juniper with South
Penn Square on the north. It was about a half-block east of Broad Street.
I was not familiar with the building on the right. It was built as the 7th Presbyterian Church at the
southeast corner of Broad and South Penn Square. Its back was next to the Second Mint which
can be seen at the left side of the image.
The Mint cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1829, and the building was ready for occupancy by
January 1833. Construction of the Third Mint was completed in 1901 and the Second Mint was
shortly demolished to be replaced by the Widener Building.
The church was built in 1842. The congregation was renamed The Tabernacle Church with their
last meeting there in 1884. The church was replaced by the ornate Betz Building which was built
in 1892 and demolished in 1926.
Thus for fifty years there were two Grecian temples on the same block in Philadelphia. Did any
drunken patron ever wander into the wrong building?
I recognized the Second Building but not this specific image and I don't know where it was first
published. Can any E-Sylum reader identify the first place it was published?
Interesting question. Can anyone help?
My guess (and it's only a guess) is that these two similar sketches may have been prepared for a guidebook of downtown Philadelphia. I tried a Google image search but came up empty - all it could tell me was what we already knew - the Mint building is an example of Classical Architecture.
THE BOOK BAZARRE
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