When compiling their eighth annual Endangered Properties List, which was released in December, the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia chose to focus on historic properties already highlighted in an effort to block literal or theoretical wrecking balls. Since the list started in 2003, in part to give upstart community efforts more attention and credibility, 61 historic properties have been named — some of which weren’t saved.
“Most of the time, when we’re trying to save a building, we find out about problems at the last minute and have to scurry for solutions,” Alliance executive director John Gallery said. “We want to highlight problems in advance, before the owners [give up and] want to demolish it.”
This year’s “still endangered” list features the Divine Lorraine Hotel and Alfred E. Burke Mansion on North Broad Street, the Cruiser Olympia on Penn’s Landing, the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building at 46th and Market, the Dilworth House in Society Hill, Germantown Town Hall on Germantown Ave. and Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park.
New to the list in 2011
The Alliance also included three properties that hadn’t been featured before: the Henry Pierce House in Glen Mills, Lavenrock Hill Estate in Cheltenham Twp. and 109 Elfreth’s Alley, an abandoned home on a block celebrated as the oldest residential street in America.
“The common thread in many respects is that a lot of these properties are caught up in the economic problems of recent years. Someone may have had a plan to [restore the property], but couldn’t finance it,” said Gallery.