Oppulent Square Dancing in Palm Beach FL

Mar-a-Lago, first opened in 1927, is the most magnificent mansion on Florida's east coast built before the Great Depression. Planned by architect Marion Wyeth and interior designer Joseph Urban, with sculpture by Franz Barwig of Vienna, Mar~a~Lago is an adaptation of the Hispano-Moresque style. It is two storied and crescent-shaped in plan, with upper and lower cloisters along the concave side of the crescent facing Lake Worth. Mar-a-Lago main facade Constructed of reinforced concrete and hollow ceramic tile faced with stucco and/or stone veneer, its detailing is excellent, consisting of bas-relief and sculpture in Doria stone (fossil-bearing limestone from Genoa, Italy), antique Spanish glazed tile, and carved cypress details. A seventy five foot tower dominates the structure and provides a focal point for the Palm Beach area. Find a large collection photographs and detailed descriptions of the lavish ornamentation, finishes and furniture in the rooms. Introduction: Mar-a-Lago Estate, Palm Beach FL
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Greek Revival Plantation House

millford plantation newel post Elaborate Greek Revival newel post carved in the shape of a scroll One of the best examples of a Greek Revival house in the United States is to be found in a remote part of South Carolina, after much travel over winding dirt roads. From all who have made the journey, the trip is worth it to see this well preserved mansion, completed in 1841 and rumored to cost $100,000 for construction at the time. Read the complete article to see details of the exceptional Greek Revival architecture at Millford Plantation, and learn about tours and events at the historic house museum. Millford Plantation Greek Revival columns
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Lower States on the Delaware River

The George Read House is called Stonum, a historic residence not far from the banks of the Delaware river in New Castle DE, in what was originally called the "Lower States on the Delaware River". Read signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and later became Senator and Chief Justice for the state. He attended the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia but declined to vote for the Declaration of Independence. Once it was adopted by the new country, he signed the document and supported separation from England. The first part of his house dates from 1730, with additions made until the late 1800s and retains many of the original details. "Noteworthy original features of the main wing are the corner fireplaces, the detailed woodwork and elegant mantles, the 1-1/2-inch red pine flooring, the wooden cornice with its modillion course, and the exceptionally high 9 over 9 windows of the facade." Read the full article Stonum federal style fireplace Federal style fireplace mantel
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1400 renderings of Paris architecture before Baron Haussmann (1894)

Maison de la Brinvilliers rue de Bièvre, by Jules-Adolphe Chauvet Maison de la Brinvilliers rue de Bièvre by Jules-Adolphe Chauvet Over 1400 renderings of Paris street scenes from the late 1800s by the artist Jules Adolphe Chauvet can be seen at the Bibliotheque nationale de France. This body of work accidentally documents some of the buildings that were demolished by the urban development plans of Baron Haussmann. Description and more images from Bibliodyssey.
Rue St Louis en l'Isle n° 10

Check out Google maps for 10-12 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île to see how these exact same doors look now, about 120 years after Chauvet made his drawing.
3 rue du Plâtre, démoli en 1882 : 3e Arrondissement
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Restaurants on Kelly Drive, East Falls, Philadelphia

trolley car cafe logoWhile we were eating pizza near Kelly Drive inPhiladelphia at In Riva restaurant after a self-guided tour of historic houses in Fairmount Park - and even walking through the parking lot between the buildings - I completely missed the newly restored diner south of the Rt. 1 overpass called the Trolley Car Cafe in the historic "Bathey House". Opened in 2010 through the combined efforts of the Fairmount Park Historic Trust, local government and private organizations. Mayor Nutter was at the opening ceremonies in this isolated corner of the park. The building also brings together a community welcome center, on-site bike rental and repair store, on-site kitchen garden and other sustainable programs.
Trolley Car Cafe, East Falls
Inside the Cafe at Bathey (photo: archelo)
The Bathey House was built in the 1930s as a changing facility for a city swimming pool that had been abandoned and filled in.. The project won a Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia in 2011. The Trolley Car Diner & Deli is four miles due north as the crow flies on Germantown Avenue. This sister-store location opened in 2000 using a restored diner from Wilkes Barre, PA.
old bathey house
Bathey House before renovation (photo: by odhusky)
Johnny Mañana's is another restaurant nearby at ‎4201 Ridge Avenue, with good reviews. At the other end of Kelly Drive, Wheel Fun rents bikes at Llyoyd Hall on Boathouse Row, and there are a few restaurants near the Fairmount Water Works.

Know any more good (historic) restaurants near Fairmount Park for hungry tourists on an architectural pilgrimage in Philadelphia?


  • Theresa Everline, "Revival in Philly: After a green renovation, a bath house thrives as a café," National Trust for Historic Preservation (Apr. 4, 2011 Online Only) http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/story-of-the-week/revival-in-philly.html
  • "East Falls Heritage Tour" Destination Schuylkill River http://www.destinationschuylkillriver.org/east_falls_heritage_tour.php This walking tour takes visitors on a tour of the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia by way of architecture and remnants of its industrial heritage.
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Seven MPH on the Chamounix Speedway

The world moved much slower before the automobile. So for thrills, Philadelphia "drivers" would saddle up and race down Chamounix Speedway, named for Chamounix Mansion in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. Soon after the horse speedway opened, the Quaker City Motor Club modified the horse track for automobile races.
Segment of 1913 Fairmount Park Map at Chamounix Drive
1913 Chamounix Speedway
An article from The Horse Review (1900) published in New York mentions an alternate proposal to create the speedway on West River Drive because the soil on the banks of the Schuylkill River is level and smooth. New York equestrians used the Harlem River Driveway from West 155th Street to West 208th Street, "created at a cost of 7,000,000" until it too was given over to the new "gas wagons" in 1902. Chamounix Mansion and Gothic Carriage House are located in one of the most beautiful and remote parts of Fairmount Park, Pennsylvania.
Harlem River Driveway under Highbridge aquaduct, circa 1900
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Memories of Memorial Hall 1876

Driving the serpentine roads to see the Fairmount Park Houses on the west of the Schuylkill River leads to one of the first Beaux-Arts buildings in the United States. Memorial Hall was completed in 1876 as a permanent structure for the International Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, now occupied by the Please Touch Museum. The building has a big footprint, but during the centennial the Art Museum as it was called was dwarfed by the Main Exhibition Hall that covered 21 acres, or about 20 football fields side by side.
Memorial Hall - January 2010

((Image source))

The grand tradition of international exhibitions can be found as far back as the Book of Ester. The Carnival of Venice (Carnevale di Venezia) was started in 1268. Tradesman presented their goods for the approval of the doge until the celebration was outlawed by the fascist government in the 1930s, to be rekindled again in 1979. The "First Exhibition" organized in 1756 by the Royal Society of Arts in London was the beginning of the modern international exposition for the public display of goods to promote trade and industry. Two more exhibits in 1792 and 1802 were held in Paris, which stimulated the rivalry between nations for dominance in culture and technology. This culminated in the "Great Exhibition" of the Works of Industry of All Nations of 1851 where the legendary Crystal Palace was built in London (destroyed by fire on November 30, 1936).

Read stories of all the personalities and politicians that created these grand showrooms of the industrial revolution. Thoroughly researched book filled with rare photos that begins with first exhibition in this country at the Centennial in Fairmount Park. This created a wave of similar shows across the country: the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893), exhibits in the southern states and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (1904), and later in the western states hosted by Oregon, Wshington and California. 1876 Centennial exhibit Statue of Liberty Sculptor Bartholdi sent the Statue of Liberty's arm and torch for display at Centennial Lake near Memorial Hall
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Dogwoods blooming in Fairmount Park

This gallery contains 19 photos.

The last weekend in April is the perfect time to visit the Fairmount Park Houses in Philadelphia. Flowers and trees are blooming, everyone is getting over cabin fever from the winter months – and today Otto got a new bicycle. … Continue reading

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Courthouse turned Capital of United States

Not to be confused with the Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey (one of the oldest beach resort communities in the country), this Congress Hall in Center City Philadelphia is part of Independence National Historical Park. representatives-chambers-congres-hall-pa28 The building started as a County Courthouse but was derelict for years until a new tenant was found. Find out how the actually has a part in The Constitution of the new nation... Congress Hall Philadelphia 1789 - photographs and detailed drawings
window-jamb-elevation-drawing-congress-hall Senate Chamber window detail drawing Congress Hall
Senate Chamber, Interior, Second Floor, Congress Hall

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