As Brewerytown hit incredibly hard times over the last few decades, many blocks in the neighborhood fell into serious disrepair, with several experiencing wholesale demolition of vacant properties in the interest of public safety and blight removal. The 1200 block of N. Etting St. is an excellent example of this phenomenon, though it's finally seeing some new development after years of vacancy. Some blocks, though, have remained amazingly intact, like the 2900 block of W. Flora Street.
Looking west on Flora St.
This block is not only impressive for maintaining almost all of its original housing stock, but also because the homes on both sides of the street were seemingly designed by the same individual, as they all feature similar architectural details. One exception is the three story double-wide Humble Tabernacle of Love church in the middle of the block, which possesses some unique architectural features (sweet cornice!) and rises a story above all the other structures on the block. Incidentally, there's a new home under construction next door. That property, 2923 W. Flora St. was previously a two story home that matched its neighbors but had clearly been sitting vacant for many years.
When we told you earlier this week about the upcoming renovation of the Pyramid Electric building at 31st & Glenwood, we made a point about the continuing northward movement of development in Brewerytown. We thought of Oxford Street as the northern border for development at the time, but completely forgot about the former Eastern Building, located at the intersection of 30th Street, Glenwood Avenue, and Cecil B Moore Avenue. We last checked in on this property back in 2013, and boy did it look like crap back then.
In the past
The building actually has a pretty interesting history, having been built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Realty Company, and intially used as a parking garage for the American Railway Express Company. Next, Esso Standard Oil used the building through the early 1950s. After that, it was a factory for the Eastern Electric Company, which is the reason we refer to it today as the Eastern Building. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006 despite being in horrendous condition by that point.
It seems we've done a lot of lamenting over lost architecture today, so for a moment let's appreciate 2837-39 Cambridge St., an older building that has survived the decades and looks like it was maybe once a fire house, or more likely a carriage house.
Wonderful details for this building
The building has a number of amazing details, with textured brown stone on the first story, handsome lintels above the windows, and various details sprinkled into the brickwork. It stands to reason that the large central opening was once the front door, though various renovations over the years have moved the door to the western side of the building. It was converted to apartments somewhere along the way, and we're pretty sure there are four apartments spread over the building.
Immediately next door at 2841 Cambridge St., developers built a contemporary home in the last few years. Looking at the buildings side by side, we see a major contrast between the old and the new.
The older building and a newer one next door
Both of these buildings stick out from the rest of the homes of the block, which are are pretty traditional. Many of the homes on the north side have front porches, and MM Partners built some new construction in the last couple years further down the block.
MM Partners has a major new project on its hands and Brewerytown could be getting a new crown jewel. Recently, a reader pointed us toward an Instagram post from the developers sharing the news that they had purchased 3101 Glenwood Ave., a six-story vacant warehouse that was home to the Pyramid Electric Company from 1980-2000. The building was designed by Leroy B. Rothschild and constructed in 1922, originally housing a furniture business. It's fair to assume that it looked much better back then, compared with today.