Rich Wilhelm

Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

Sunday Morning, North Broad Street, part 1: The Beury Building

In abandoned buildings, architecture, Philadelphia on September 4, 2016 at 8:35 pm
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The National Bank of North Philadelphia, aka the Beury Building, aka the Boner 4ever Building.  Intersection of Broad Street, Erie Avenue and Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sunday morning, Sept. 4, 2016

Entry one of two on how Chris and I spent our Sunday morning.

My son Chris woke up early this Sunday morning, looking for something to do. It seemed like a good time to check out the Beury Building.

Taking a closer look at this classic work of architecture, which is on the National Register of Historic Sites–but, which also has an uncertain future–has been on the agenda for nearly a year. We first noticed it driving down North Broad Street on our way to an open house at Temple University last fall. Our older son Jimmy, was very interested in Temple and is now, in fact, a brand new freshman there.

The Beury dominates the intersection of Broad Street, Erie Avenue, and Germantown Avenue, though of course it was the “Boner 4Ever” graffiti that prompted a chortle from Jimmy’s throat. That detail flew directly over Chris, but the building itself did not, as Chris is very interested in architecture, particularly abandoned buildings.

We’ve driven past the Beury a few times since then, each time whetting Chris’ desire to get a closer look at it. Today was finally the day.

Some brief history: the Beury was completed in 1926 and was originally simply known as the National Bank of North Philadelphia. The building became known as the Beury Building because the first president of the bank was Charles E. Beury, who was also the second president of Temple.

Of course, these days the Beury is often thought of as the Boner 4Ever Building, apparently thanks to two intrepid graffiti artists who often work in tandem, and whose tags are “Boner” and “4Ever.” At least that’s what the Internet tells me. “Boner 4Ever” tags are painted on both the north and south walls of the building.

The Beury has been empty for decades, though it is on the National Register of Historic Sites. Idealistic plans for a Beury Building revival do exist, though realistically, such plans face enormous challenges.

The trip to and from the Beury from Phoenixville is relatively straightforward, but there is rarely a time/day during which you can make that journey without hitting some major traffic. Sunday morning, before 8:00 a.m., however, is eminently doable. Chris was amazed at how empty the normally clogged Schuylkill Express was. From the Expressway, we hit Route 1 north–the infamous Roosevelt Boulevard–until we exited onto 611, Broad Street. From there it is just a mile or so to the Beury.

North Broad was quiet this morning, though people were out and about. Some people were going to church; some to work. I noticed two men exiting a “gentlemen’s club” across the street from the Beury. Not sure if they were headed to church, but who am I to say?

I found a very convenient spot to park–a Checkers restaurant right next to the Beury and the small building that sits next to it. Chris and I each took a bunch of photos, though we neglected to take shots of each other  and I forgot to use my random arty shot filter (not the technical term) to add odd effects. No matter though. We got some good photos and maybe someday we can get a few more. I am hopeful that the Beury will continue to stand for us to return sometime.

Now, here are some of my photos.

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An imposing shot of the south wall, though this photo probably doesn’t do the building justice. Here though, we see “Forever,” rather than the “4Ever” on the north side. Also, notice the vegetation growing way up on the top floor.

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The small building in the foreground houses a barbershop. Not open during our early Sunday morning visit, but I wish it had been. I could use a haircut.

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The north side of the Beury, as well as the barbershop. Notice the barber pole graffiti on that building’s wall.

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The north side of the Beury, including a ghost sign and “Boner 4Ever.”

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Ghost sign on the north side of the Beury.

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A more detailed shot of the north side of the Beury.

Once Chris and I got the photos we wanted, we hit the road to visit another notable North Broad Street landmark.

 

 

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