Sunday, June 28, 2009
Founder's Hall is an example of absurdity funded with too much money.
Long story short - Stephen Girard, the richest man in the country at the time (1831) left a boatload of money in his will for a school for orphans. White orphans. Eventually the court ruled that it could be opened up to all races (and chicks).
Founder's Hall was commissioned to look like a Grecian temple. There was no allowance in the will for repairs and boy, was this building pricey to repair (ever seen a floating staircase made of marble?). Alas, it was abandoned and new buildings were created and still exist today as the active school. Founder's Hall was the second most expensive building in the country in 1848 (topped only by the US Capital building).
It is bitter sweet to gain access to an amazing space in Philadelphia that has been abandoned, not to mention the neighborhood in which it is situated. I had the same experience when I went on the mural arts tour of West Philly. It's sad to go through the hull of what once was.
column dressings added as a part of a movie being shot here