This 47,448 square foot behemoth will probably one day become the coolest apartment building on the Reading Viaduct, but for now, it’ll continue to sit there, looking like shit. This beastoid was built around 1917 or 1918 (nobody really knows) for the Haverford Cycle Company. The ONLY reason anyone knows this is because of the ghost signs on the building stating “The Bicycle with a National Reputation”.

The Northwestern folks commissioned architect Phillip Merz to design a monumentally impressive bank building that would stand out on a corner that already boasted such great architecture as the Lorraine Hotel, Park Theatre, and American Trust Loan and Guarantee Investment Company. Following the trend of neoclassical architecture that was so popular at the time–new money must look old, now isn’t that the story here?–Merz gave them a 50′ x 90′ stone monolith. It was built in 1918 and boasted Anti-Hydro, a high tech waterproofing concrete, for its foundation. It cost $200,000–over $2 million today.

I read a really fun article lately that made a humorous proposal for a David Lynch monument in Callowhill. Lynch has repeatedly cited Philadelphia, and more specifically Callowhill as the inspiration for everything he’s done to date. I’m envisioning his trademarked zig zag floor pattern covering the path up the Reading Viaduct towards a statue of the alien baby from Eraserhead. It was a silly off the cuff proposal, but whether you like Lynch or not (or perhaps more applicable, whether you GET him or not), he is one of the most prolific film makers of the late 20th Century, and although he’d probably loathe what’s become of his neighborhood, the fact that he credits this industrial relic as his muse could be used to the neighborhood’s advantage.