Support for the Historic Designation of the Philadelphia Gas Works in Point Breeze

By David Brownlee

Philadelphia Gas Works

Philadelphia Gas Works

Philadelphia Gas Works

Philadelphia Gas Works

April 6, 2021


Dr. Jonathan Farnham, Executive Director

Philadelphia Historical Commission

1515 Arch Street, 13th Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19102 via email to preservation@phila.gov


Dear Dr. Farnham:


The Design Advocacy Group urges the Historical Commission to adopt the carefully crafted recommendation of its Committee on Historic Designation regarding the remarkable small group of nineteenth-century buildings of the Philadelphia Gas Works in Point Breeze.


As we all work to bring our city back to life--and into a better life, one of our most important "natural resources" is our historic architecture. However, as many of us have long recognized, and as the Mayor's Historic Preservation Task Force emphasized, we are inadequately safeguarding (and taking advantage of) the historic resources located in the city's diverse neighborhoods, where ordinary people lived and worked--and continue to do so. The PGW buildings, which stand far from the offices and landmarks of Center City, are such buildings. And, because this industrial zone is poised for reimagining, they are both valuable and vulnerable. As city-owned resources, they should be examples of the kind of protective but forward-looking stewardship that the times demand.


The mid-nineteenth century Philadelphians who designed, built, and worked in these handsome Gothic Revival structures were very ambitious for their city, and we should form a partnership with them, across the years, as we seek to realize our own ambitions for Philadelphia.


This letter is approved by the Steering Committee of the Design Advocacy Group, a 1700- member organization dedicated to excellence and equity in the built environment of Greater Philadelphia.



David B. Brownlee, FSAH

Co Vice Chair, DAG

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