Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) photos (2nd post of 4)

In September of 1974, a photographer named George Eisenman took a series of 10 photos of the Van Rensselaer house for the Historic American Buildings Survey. It looks like he got there in the nick of time, as demolition is clearly in progress. The scale, detail, quality and much of the original layout of the house has not yet been destroyed. That big drawing room overlooks Rittenhouse Square, and one can well imagine the Persian rugs, carved tables, silk shaded lamps, gilt framed pictures and comfortable upholstered pieces that must once have sat beneath that elaborate ceiling. Compare the wall moldings in the third image with the contemporary image in the post below. The hall view was taken on the second floor. That curved railing in the distance overlooks the main hall below; the stair in the foreground rises to an unusual third floor balcony that also overlooks the main hall. There's a HABS image of that too in the post below. The last image shows a small decorated dome that was located just inside the front door. Its destruction seems particularly gratuitous.

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