Roadside Online

Are mere facades worth saving?

Façadism came to the fore in the 1980s, with the somewhat dubious intention of “preserving” the fronts of historic buildings as facades for newer construction that rose behind. I think of this when I remember that I became a preservationist in response to the fact that we rarely replace what we have with something better. Instead of retaining the facade of The National, why not try to make newer landmarks?

Assuming its full execution, reconstruction will likely leave the National in better shape. The PHC meeting minutes from October 10, 2014 describe the condition of the tiles as “very poor,” and it approved a “complete disassembly of the orange tile wall and its faithful reconstruction.”“The PHC approval [of demolition] and the building permit predicated on it require salvaging the signage, storefronts, and other stainless steel elements as well as the granite channels,” says Jon Farnham, PHC’s executive director. “The façade will be reconstructed with the salvaged pieces and new matching tile.”

Source: The Long Death And Rebirth Of The National | Hidden City Philadelphia

Roadside Online

Rise and Fall of Philadelphia’s Diners

Published in Hidden City Philadelphia

For anyone unaware of the state of one of the country’s most recognizable cultural icons, the diner, the Oak Lane Diner, in North Philadelphia, currently provides a clue. The diner, one of the anchors of the neighborhood, remains boarded up. On June 6, the City posted a notice on the front door demanding its owners to either fix it or tear it down.

After its rise, fall, and rediscovery, the American diner may indeed serve up its last plate of meatloaf well within the lifetime of anyone born since 1980.

Contemporary Americans seem to prefer “fast-casual” chains (like Panera Bread) over diners, where you can get a pretty good meal for not a lot of money and you don’t have to bother with a server. Order, pickup, and go. We love this, especially in the suburbs.

Read more…