Broad Street Station

Discussion in 'History' started by Asuit, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. Asuit

    Asuit Well-Known Member

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    This is Broad St Station, 15th and Market St. C1882 Demolished 1953 BroadStStation15thSt.jpg This Clock, Statues, Gargoyle's, stood over the NW Cor BroadandMarketPRSNWcor.jpg These, are close ups of the Reliefs BroadStationreliefs.jpg broad street station.facade detail.jpg Train, going west, down Vine st. Ha Ha! BroadStStationTrsin.jpg
     

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    #1 Asuit, Oct 19, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
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  2. Asuit

    Asuit Well-Known Member

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    More Photo's... BroadStreetStationinterior.jpg IMG_1378.JPG IMG_1377.JPG IMG_1379.JPG IMG_1381.JPG
     
    #2 Asuit, Oct 19, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  3. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    Never saw an interior photo of Broad Street Station. Thanks for that.
     
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  4. Asuit

    Asuit Well-Known Member

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    Here is a nice aerial view, of Broad Street Station. IMG_1516.JPG
     
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  5. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    Little known fact regarding the lost terracotta sculptures on the exterior of the old Broad Street Station of Austrian born artist Karl Bitter is that he was commissioned to do four sculpture groups on the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC which never got finished owing to his tragic death. To this date, plain stones atop the columns act as gravity anchors holding down the rest of the facade in place, instead of those never done sculptures.

    Karl Bitter - Wikipedia



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  6. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    The statue below I presume a plaster model of the one that never got carved for the MET.

    I read a Letter to the Inquirer Op-Ed in 1957 that expressed the fact that when they tore down Broad Street Station that nobody wanted to save the Bitter Terracottas, no doubt the P.R.R. would have donated them to any museum etc. willing to the pay the expense of removing them. But I guess in 1957, some of this art must have seemed so anti-modern and even medieval. Though today in all that glass, steel and plain stone of center city Philly a few of these lost terracottas would look nice in a pocket park downtown on incorporated into some skyscraper monstrosity etc.

    Speaking of tempory, Bitter did the Battle Group on the Dewey Arch in NYC in 1899. NYC went absolutely apeshit crazy over Admiral Dewey raising the USA to world power status with the decisive battle of Manilia LOL.

    Links below with plenty of photos of the Olympia batteship, still in Philly?, of a three day celebration of the the victory of the Spanish American War over three days September 28, 29, 30 1899. All celebrations in the harbor, Hudson and massive parade through a plaster victory arch based on the Arch of Titus in Rome. Dozens of famous sculptors like St. Gaudens, Daniel Chester French etc. along with Bitters made various plaster sculptures decorated the temporary $150,000 arch. The $1,000,000 needed to build a permanent replacement of all this sculpture never materialized. NYC is in many ways a boom and a bust town with a short attention span.

    So I am not so greatly disappointed that Bitter's Broad Street sculptures did not survive in light of the artist willing to do plaster sculpture, almost stage props that were torn down only months later in 1900.

    The other link a bio of Bitter and more pics of his works.





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    Karl Bitter - Wikipedia

    The Dewey reception in New York City : nine-hundred and eighty views and portraits / compiled and published by Moses King. 1899.

    Karl Bitter; a biography, by Ferdinand Schevill; issued under the auspices of the National Sculpture Society.




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  7. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    Still a bit off topic but I followed through on Bitter's St. Paul Building Caryitids aka "the three races" (left to right Caucasian, African and Asian) that survived the primitive 1896 skyscraper to become decorative art, a ruin folly, in an Indiana Park.

    St. Paul's building originally opposite St. Paul's Chapel at Broadway and Vesey St. btw. for map reference.

    http://nerdfightasticadventures.blogspot.com/p/ruins.html



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  8. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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  9. brian collins

    brian collins New Member

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    I am seeking more information regarding the ten terracotta sculptures by Karl Bitter that were on the top of the train shed that burned in 1923. The ten sculptures depicted the ten largest cities the PRR served at the time. I can tell you at least one of them survived. The one depicting Cincinnati is in Cincinnati on a wall at an old PRR station. Do the other nine exist today? I assume all ten were saved from the fire and eventually shipped to the applicable cities for future display. I have bought books about Karl Bitter and the ten sculptures are barely mentioned. Do better pictures of each of the ten sculptures exist?
     
  10. Asuit

    Asuit Well-Known Member

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    According to this link, all 10 Karl Bitter pediments from Broad Street Station, were destroyed. Karl Bitter - WikiVisually
     
  11. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    First I heard of these city terra-cottas in the old Broad Street Station. Sounds a bit like it has the makings of an urban legend.

    I have not seen any references until now in much research on the Internet on Bitter. Not to say that sketches and photos do not exist but they likely are still unscanned/imaged in libraries or dedicated art archives on the subject.

    Queen City Discovery


    Is this the source of your story? Any other clippings? etc.


    In terms of further research the likely place to find data would be search on Stephens, Armstrong and Conklin and later Armstrong and Conklin as famous Philadelphia terra cotta makers and under that old spelling, not necessarily terracotta. That and unpublished Karl Bitters archives wherever they may exist.


    The Clay Worker



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    This article make its sound that the Bitter bas reliefs on ten American cities would be finished and installed after the opening day of the newly expanded renovated Broad Street Station. That would mean to me less newspaper articles on the subject.

    That duplicate terra cotta panels may have been installed in PRR stations around the country, along with panels put in BSS. Terra Cotta is a product that can be duplicated in mass etc.

    That the Cincinnatti panel could have survived the 1923 fire and then be placed in the Cincinnati train station sounds like an internal corporate thing on which little published material is likely available.

    An interesting tangent to the whole old BSS story btw.
     
  12. brian collins

    brian collins New Member

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    Thank you for the reply Phillyxpat. The item marked as destroyed in your link refers to the pediment over a walkway on the second floor level. I was referring to the ten sculptures on the third level of the building that are all shaped like church windows. I don't think there were duplicates as the one on our dinner train route in Cincinnati was installed there after 1923 but before 1933 when the local station was torn down. Just as they were able to save the "Spirit of Transportation" after the fire, I think they saved all ten terracotta sculptures as well. What else would they have done with them but to send them to the applicable cities. This indeed remains a mystery.
     
  13. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    I will keep this in mind if I run into anything related to topic. Never know what you may run into. It sounds like a story worth telling once more facts are unearthed.
     
  14. brian collins

    brian collins New Member

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    You asked for my source. I own the Cincinnati Dinner Train and also the Cincinnati Railway. The route we take each Saturday actually stops at the sculpture and we tell the story,,,,it is the historical highlight of the trip. The story was told to me by the historians at the Cincinnati Railroad club. The Conklin-Armstrong lead is a good one. I guess Karl Bitter designed them but Conklin made and hung them.
     
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  15. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    "Chinese Wall" - Broad Street Station - Market Street - Karl Bitter - Cities of America - Terra Cotta Series - 1903 Wikipedia Commons


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    I can make out Pittsburgh clearly above. No doubt if not on Market Street, the others would be on Filbert Steet side of the train shed.


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    #15 Phillyxpat, Jun 4, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
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  16. phillyaggie

    phillyaggie Well-Known Member

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    Those gothic-revival tower spires of the old Broad St Station remind me of the ones at the Masonic Temple. The architects of one or the other (not sure which was the older building) probably made an extra effort to try to blend in and probably made for a grander look.
     
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  17. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    Karl Bitter - Broad Street Station - City Terra Cottas - Post Train Shed Fire - Harrisburg Courier - 5 Aug 1923



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    If there were ten, then we can presume they were two irretrievable after the fire. And if so, what two cities? And who else bothered to accept the offer besides Cincinnati and Boston?




     
    #17 Phillyxpat, Jun 4, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
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  18. Titus

    Titus Well-Known Member

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    Wow - what a find.
     
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  19. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    That Terra Cotta by Karl Bitter belongs in the local museum and not out in the cold.
     
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  20. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    From what I understand, one issue is the question of ownership of the sculpture. And considering the means to remove it a second time, it probably would destroy the artifact. Not withstanding, a few summer art student interns sketching, measuring and photographing the remains of a Karl Bitter terra cotta could make a future reproduction in terra cotta possible for the people of Cincinnati.
     
  21. Mark Beatty

    Mark Beatty New Member

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    #21 Mark Beatty, Aug 7, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
  22. Mark Beatty

    Mark Beatty New Member

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    The only original photo I can find of the sculpture when the sedation was active.

    This station was used by President William Howard Taft to visit his hometown, and Teddy Roosevelt to visit his daughter Alice Longworth who lived in Cincinnati.

    Torrance station sculpture.jpg
     
  23. brian collins

    brian collins New Member

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    Thank you Mark. This helps a lot. The article says "stored away for several years" yet the fire in Philly was in 1923 and this article is 1924,,,,confusing. Now if we could only find out if the other nine still exist and find out who the two people depicted are. I think they are Major Benjamin Stites and his brother Hesichya, but not sure.
     
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