Listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, the Philadelphia Bourse at 13 South Fifth Street has a rich and storied history. Founded by the grain and commodities exporter George E. Bartol in 1891, The Philadelphia Bourse was constructed from 1893-1895. Bartol was inspired after traveling in Europe and seeing the great Boerse in Hamburg, Germany, and he wished to construct a similar business hub in Philadelphia.
G. W. & W. D. Hewitt, a prominent architectural firm at the dawn of the twentieth century, was elected to design the building and model it after what Bartol had seen in Germany. This firm was founded in 1878 by George Wattson Hewitt and William Dempster Hewitt, a familial pair of architects who specialized in ecclesiastical constructions, hotels and palatial residences. It was one of the first steel frame buildings to be constructed at the time. The use of such materials as Carlisle Redstone, Pompeian buff brick and terra cotta in its portico helps give the building’s exterior such a distinct and earthy color.
The Philadelphia Bourse became simply The Bourse in 1979 when it was purchased by Kaiserman Company Inc. and ceased to be a center of commodities exchange in favor of becoming a commercial complex. The renovation of this building (adapting it to fulfill its current purpose) took nearly three years to complete. It cost $20M dollars, nearly 20 times the cost of its original construction. —-Alex Graziano