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Presbyterian Historical Society Building, A Colonial Design Built In 1967

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    Architecture Architecture Apr 11, 2017 12:15 PM EDT

    The Presbyterian Historical Society building at Fifth and Lombard is an 18th-century landmark built in 1967. The symmetrical three-story building is capped with a gabled pediment and features some same dentil moldings that can found on the Pennsylvania Hospital or the Independence Hall.

    According to History, the Presbyterian Historical Society building was designed by an early preservationist of colonial architecture, G. Edwin Brumbaugh. He displayed a rigorous approach in restoring, measuring proportions and analyzing paint samples of buildings, which contributed to some of the most faithful replicas like the Dilworth House on Washington Square.

    His attention to details is evidently observed in the graciousness of the lobby, that includes a checkerboard floor and elaborate wainscoting, and the exact shade of robin's egg blue found in colonial homes. Brumbaugh's meticulous design of the Presbyterian Historical Society building is somewhat an immense contrast to that of other historic buildings, such as the Museum of the American Revolution at Third and Chestnut.

    Although Brumbaugh was a master of colonial design, he made sure that the Presbyterian Historical Society building would not be useless in the modern world. The building stores the church's archive, dating back to the time the first Presbyterians arrived in the New World, according to Philly.

    The Presbyterians are "fanatical about keeping records," marketing director Fred Tangeman said, explaining that the archive has been a crucial hub of information for many researchers. A climate-controlled storage was installed in the basement of the Presbyterian historical society building and was expanded in 1977 by Brumbaugh. The large archive now runs entirely through the block, and continues below the neighboring Old Pine Community Center.

    The Presbyterian historical society building has now reached age 50, which makes it an architectural antique, according to experts of preservation standards. Currently, the historical society is working on a major exhibit entitled, "Presbyterians and the American Revolution."

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