Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele Floral Motif on Column


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The Architects and the Trumbauer Firm

Horace Trumbauer established his architectural firm in 1890. Staff of the Horace Trumbauer architecture firmHe erected buildings throughout the United States: Saint Catherine's Chapel (1901) in Spring Lake, New Jersey, the Hotel Pere Marquette (1925) in Peoria, Illinois, and the New York Evening Post Building (1925). However the vast majority of his buildings were designed for Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. In the greater Philadelphia area, Trumbauer erected several hundred buildings, from modest suburban homes to towering skyscrapers. Two of the most important are the Reading Railroad's imposing, classical station (1928) on Broad Street in North Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania's English medieval style Irvine Auditorium (1929).

In 1906 He recruited the accomplished young architect, Julian Abele, to join him. Over the ensuing 30 years Abele grew into the chief designer and primary consultant for the firm. During those decades, leading up to the Stock Market crash in 1929, as the city's business district shifted west from the Independence Hall neighborhood to Broad Street, Trumbauer and his talented designers, especially Abele, erected dozens of offices, homes, hotels, clubs, and cultural institutions for the city's burgeoning business class in the area.

Like William Penn, who devised Philadelphia's grid plan in the late seventeenth century, and Edmund Bacon, who led the drives to redevelop Penn Center and Market East after World War II, Horace Trumbauer and his gifted associates played a critical role creating the modern skyline around Philadelphia's City Hall. Perhaps more than any other architects, Trumbauer and Abele defined the Philadelphia cityscape we experience today.


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