The Kingston Lounge, “Guerrilla Preservation and Urban Archaelogy” has posted a moving and informative photo journal of the history and recent dismemberment of this once-grand landmark on North Broad Street. While we strive to grapple with the shells on our blocks and in our neighborhoods, it is sometimes easy to forget that we have architectural treasures that are falling apart in our bustling commercial center as well. Thanks, Kingston, for reminding us and for the moving pictures. From The Kingston Lounge on the Divine Lorraine Hotel –
It is unacceptable that this building, a national as well as a local landmark, is falling prey to demolition-by-neglect. While the figure of Father Divine and the nature of his movement may be controversial, it is uncontroversial that he was an important precursor to the civil rights struggle, and that the Divine Lorraine had a significant role in this history, both by association and by virtue of its status as the first integrated hotel in Philadelphia. Further, it is a remarkable building, and one of the few Hale commissions still standing. The avarice of a developer who gutted the building, “taking her for all she was worth”, and then walked away, should not be allowed to cause the eventual destruction of this treasure. I would urge all of my readers in Philadelphia to get involved on some level with the preservation of this structure. And I would urge all of my readers outside of Philadelphia to spread the word. If there is enough public outcry over this, if the right people are appropriately shamed, perhaps the Divine Lorraine stands a chance of being a jewel of Philadelphia once again.
We second Kingston. Read the history and view the pictures of this faded glory on N. Broad Street: The Kingston Lounge: The Divine Lorraine Hotel.