69th Street - Yesterday & Today
|69th Street - Yesterday & Today 26" x 36" acrylic on canvas|
The 69th Street Terminal was the transportation hub that connected the inner city with the suburbs, housing the subway/elevated trains, buses, trolleys and a high speed line that led to Norristown in Montgomery County.
On the corner of 69th and Market Streets stood an imposing and decorative building encrusted with hundreds of thousands of glazed yellow and cream terra cotta tiles in an array of shapes and motifs. We, who lived there, knew it only as the McClatchy Building, built by real estate developer John H. McClatchy and opened in 1928, featuring a variety of Byzantine Revival motifs including Mayan, Heraldic, and Egyptian. Backlit pilasters of architectural brass and colorful stained glass punctuated the facade that featured a 10-minute light show that would repeat after six times an hour an hour.
By the 1960s, the elaborate plans for the building that McClatchy dreamed had faded, but the structure continues to remain a magnificent example of the art deco period architecture only otherwise seen in the area in glimpses on Garrett Road nearby, and Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore.
In recent years, a girded walkway was built from the corner of 69th and Market to the Terminal. The
|Richfield Road facing the side of what used to be Lit Brothers|
16" x 20"acrylic on canvas
On the return from a photo reference trip to West Philadelphia in 2009, I shot the scene shown in the painting from a moving car. After looking at the photo I realized the detail it would require to paint the tiled facade, but with patience, I managed to capture enough of the spirit of both the signage and the building to make this one of my favorite works.