Wonderful stuff, transportation infrastructure. The Wayne Junction train station in North Philadelphia was built in 1881 to replace a ca. 1871 station. The new station was designed by prominent Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, whose quirky classical designs are tinged with whimsy.* It served a area that was growing quickly, fueled by factories locating near the railroads. Polish immigrants and others settled in narrow row houses that clustered and spread around the factories where most residents worked.
The station was rebuilt in 1901 by the Wilson Brothers & Company. At that time, the station was heavily used: by residents, an increasing number of commuters, and local factories whose products ranged from hothouse flowers to pencils to photography supplies to hosiery.
Then deindustrialization happened – though not at all so simply. Here’s the station today.
[Entrance off Windrim Ave]
[The main station house, which originally held the baggage room]
[Window detail on main station house. It looks a little like a church…]
[…A really odd church involving squids and dragons]
[Clearly a happening place. Once you could get to Washington DC, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles from the station.]
Most of the historical information in this post is drawn from research completed for a historic district nomination by fellow Penn grad student Kim Broadbent and me in 2010. You can download the completed National Register nomination here [PDF].
* Though Furness’s station was rebuilt in 1901, you can see other examples of his work in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Paul Peck Center at Drexel, and Penn’s Fisher Fine Arts Library – I spend a lot of time there.