Jul 9, 2013

Stealing Allentown's Treasures


                                                   click photograph to enlarge
The merchants who built Hamilton Street counted on architecture to attract shoppers into their emporiums. Large neon signs wouldn't appear for another fifty years. The soffit and fascia shown above, halfway between 7th and 8th on Hamilton, is one of the most elaborate facades in Allentown. One thing you can say about Allentown City Hall, they never let culture, art, or history get into the way of their plans. As successful cities come to value and profit from their history more and more, Allentown keeps using the standard catalog of proven failures. I know from other projects on Hamilton Street that Pawlowski isn't big on history. The Cityline Building in the 800 Block was permitted to stucco over beautiful brickwork. Sad that the puppies, who are directors at the Art Museum and Historical Society, remain silent on the planned destruction. It's hard to describe the magnificence of the skylight shown below, also in the targeted block. It's very large in three sections, in pristine condition. Should be quite a snack for Pawlowski's bulldozer.
UPDATE: The bulldozer prevailed, and the former architectural treasures of our mercantile history were not preserved, save for this blog's archives. Above is reprinted from May 2011

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

On topic but different. Know you request readers stay on topic but isn't Schreiber's Bridge a city treasure? Did you see the poured concrete 3 foot high barrier installed on the left hand side and the original stones cut away and what...where are they, will they be put back after 15 St. complete?

michael molovinsky said...

@7:24, yes, i believe that concrete barrier is a temporary solution until the 15th street bridge is complete. that side of the bridge was completely rebuilt last year, but then hit again by another truck. it's very hard to impossible for a tractor trailer to make that turn without hitting the bridge entrance walls. unfortunately, neither pawlowski or the city engineer has a feeling for our historic structures. neither voiced any support for saving the reading rd stone arch bridge, built the same year, in 1828.

Anonymous said...

The glass ornamented ceiling on the photo you just displayed was in my office for a year when my biz I was above the New York Urban store. It's a shame how it was destroyed.

Alfonso Todd

michael molovinsky said...

alfonso @10:27, that office has quite the history. it also had been the office of charles snelling, up to the mid 90's. i suspect the window was saved, but not the history, maybe not even the future. time will tell how long the arena lasts.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Stop your wiening. It's the City Without Limits!
We are open for business.

Anonymous said...

I missed you at the Urban Dwellers boutique grand opening this morning. I guess that would have been good publicity on behalf of the administration to report about.....A minority owned urban clothibg store opening on the 800 block of Hamilton. Oh that is less than a half block from the arena site. What do you have to say about this?

michael molovinsky said...

@6:47, the arena displaced 34 minority merchants, many of which were selling similar merchandise. at the debate on wfmz 69, one of city designated participants referred to the displaced merchants as a cancer. what do you have to say about that?

Anonymous said...

I know the owner of URBAN DWELLERS and I had a client tell me that because some of the shirts had marijuana leaves, the Chamber didn't want to endorse them. In fact, many people didn't know about it until the last minute because the owner had to send out his OWN FB invitations... SMH

Unsure why people keep saying DIVERSITY is the strength our City when you barely see any when it comes to businesses and events...


Alfonso Todd

michael molovinsky said...

alfonso @10:59, comment 6:47 was antagonism toward me, as if this city really wants diversity on hamilton mall. although the comment may have originated with the blog mentor, there are other apologists for city policy which resent this blog. it's not enough that there is no political opposition, no press opposition, they still resent the dissent from one lone blogger.

Anonymous said...

Please, sir.

"Unauthorized, outlaw renegade blogger shamelessly promoting insurrection" would be a more apt and honest description.

I have every confidence that once the state-sponsored Phantoms finally arrive in the City Without (Spending?) Limits to start the 2014/15 AHL campaign ...

... people will flock to Hamilton Street by the thousands to buy shirts adorned with marijuana leaves prior to an exiciting ice hockey game at the Pawlowski Palace of Sport ...

... and then, after the game, stampede on over to the posh Cosmoplitan restaurant so as to gorge on fresh lobster, prime steak and expensive wine, of course.

Clearly, you have some sort of problem with Progress, Comrade Molovinsky.

Most respectfully as always,

VIKTOR TIKHONOV

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael, cannot speak for other situations mentioned in your post but did want you to be aware that we are using grant money obtained through the City of Allentown to restore the original facade above The Archive at 627 Hamilton Street.

When the facade put up by Emil Otto was torn down last fall we found the original facade from 1925 which still says American Medicine Company. We have a professional restoration company working on bringing it back to it's glory and it should be done in the next few weeks. This will include the medallions which were ruined when the facade was put over it 45 years ago.

Stop by in a few weeks to check it out!