Has John Wanamaker been forgotten at 2032 Walnut?
In 1861, John Wanamaker (1838-1922) opened his first store at Sixth and Market Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he eventually became one of the first entrepreneurs in America to have a set price for goods. His entrepreneurial success won him high regard and eminence as a merchant, religious leader, civic and political figure, and as the 35th United States Post Master General.
Wanamaker did so well that between 1883 and 1886, he commissioned Theophilus Parsons Chandler, Jr. (1845-1928), the eminent Philadephia Architect and founder of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, to design a Jacobean Revival double row mansion to serve as his urban dwelling. The house was featured in King’s Views of Philadelphia (as seen above).
Today only the facade exists as it is now structurally related to a modern row of townhouses and a residential high-rise immediately adjacent. While we deplore this action, as this leaves only facade in tact, but we are happy in some ways to at least have that… So next time you in 2000 block of Walnut Street, please pay homage to what was once a symbol of the highest eminence among residential buildings in urban Philadelphia–the home of John Wanamaker at 2032 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.