The Callowhill Industrial Historic District (CIHD) is bounded by North Broad Street to the west, Hamilton Street to the north, Pearl Street to the south, and 12th Street and the curve of the Reading Railroad Viaduct to the east. It is a relatively small historic district of 66 resources – 39 contributing buildings, one contributing site, one contributing structure, 24 non-contributing sites and one non-contributing building. The early phases of our exploration of The Eraserhood focus on the dedicated buildings within this district.
Immediately to the north of Carlton Street from the Heid Building stands 1238 Callowhill Street. Originally the Goodman Brothers and Hinlein Company, a dress trimmings manufacturing business, this building was dedicated on March 7, 1985, 25 years before the dedication of CIHD.
Now known as Beaux Arts Lofts, 1238 Callowhill was also the first building in CIHD to be converted into residential living space in 1995. Prior to this, according to http://www.beauxartslofts.com/about.html, the aforementioned Goodman Brothers and Hinlein “remained at 1238 Callowhill Street until the 1930’s when, reflecting the growth of the newspaper and printing industries in the area of Broad and Vine Streets, the building was taken over by a lithographic printing company.” (Those familiar with Eraserhead will remember the main character worked for a printing company.)
One of the most respected architectural and engineering firms during the twentieth century, Ballinger & Perrot, later known as the Ballinger Company is responsible for the design and construction of 1238 Callowhill Street. Ballinger and Perrot was among the first in Philadelphia to experiment with reinforced concrete, paving the way for multi-story industrial buildings, which would ultimately alter the shape and appearance of industrial architecture to taller buildings, which offered large, light filled spaces. When 1238 Callowhill Street was completed in 1909, it became the tallest reinforced concrete warehouse structure of the period, and it was held up as a classic example of reinforced concrete design for multi-story buildings.
Today this classic design and style still sets the tone of the neighborhood. Overlooking the open space between 12th and 13th Streets, adjacent to the Viaduct, where the Reading Railroad once maintained a coal yard, 1238 Callowhill offers clear vistas north toward Spring Garden and West toward Broad, including views of many of the other contributing buildings in CIHD.