Living In A Legend

Living In A Legend

Not too many buildings get a second, much less a third, chance to be useful.  Why gut and preserve when you can rebuild?  So when a building with significant history gets that chance, it's big news.

This week, the Divine Lorraine on North Broad St debuted its fully restored lobby, but that the building is still standing defies the currents of history.  It was designed and built between 1892 and 1894 by Philadelphia architect Willis Hale.  Most of Hale's buildings in Philadelphia no longer stand, because the architect had ornate, Victorian tastes that fell out of favor in the 20th century.  The Divine Lorraine is lucky not to have been a victim of these changing tastes and preferences.

The building was originally conceived as apartments for North Philadelphia's growing upper class, but in 1900 it was converted into a luxurious hotel.  By 1948 the hotel was less luxurious, but still operating when it was purchased by Reverend MJ Divine, a controversial figure who claimed he was an incarnated deity.  Divine racially integrated the hotel, making it the first hotel of its class in the US to be fully racially integrated, while operating his religious sect from the building.  Divine plays a strange role in religious history, with Jim Jones later claiming to have received the Reverend's reincarnated soul.  

By the early 2000s, the building had fallen into disuse and disrepair.  Divine's group sold the building to developers, who tried and failed to restore the building, instead resorting to stripping the abandoned building essentially down to its studs.  Eventually, a new developer was found to take on the project.  They have completely restored the building to its 1930 appearance, and they have fully restored the units to their luxurious former glory.  Do you want to see what living in history looks like? Click on the (really long) link below and pick a unit.  I'd love to show it to you!,-75.16081438960731,39.9673619299402,-75.15929625930488

Brooke Willmes Headshot
Phone: 267-980-5858
Dated: September 17th 2017
Views: 369
About Brooke: I have 14 years’ experience in residential and commercial properties throughout the Philadelphia a...

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Brooke Willmes
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