Westcott Scrapbooks

Volume 5
Page 135
August 1881

Under “Local Affairs”

The Mechanics’ Insurance Company Building, at Fifth and Walnut Streets. –

When the Mechanics’ Insurance Company purchased the building at the southwest corner of Fifth and Walnut streets, of which recent mention was made, it was not intended that any exterior changes should be made to the building, but the Board of Directors have since concluded to put an entire new front on Walnut Street, and make many changes to the Fifth street side of the building, the plans for which have been drawn by Willis G. Hale, architect.

            The first story of the Walnut street front will be of iron, with a large plate-glass window on Walnut street, and two somewhat smaller, on Fifth street.  The upper stories will be of pressed brick, with black mortar and blue marble trimmings.  The recess head under the brick arches spring over the top of each window will beornamented with iron castings, containing fire insurance insignia.  The transom in the first story will contain stained glass.  Peerless brick in paneled work will constitute the cornice.  A tower, finished in a pointed roof, surmounted by a galvanized iron finial, will be placed on the corner of the building.

            The side front on Fifth street is to be renovated, and between the heads and sills of the windows buff and black brick laid in diagonal courses, and over each window head a galvanized iron cap.  The cornice will be of ornamental brick work and raised three feet higher than at present.  The door and stairway leading to the upper stories, now about the centre, will be removed to the south end of the building.

            The insurance company will occupy the entire first floor, 18 feet by 62 feet, the finishing of which will be in chestnut.  The upper floors are intended for office purposes.


Volume 5
Page 179
January 1882

Formal Opening of the New Mechanics’ Insurance Company, -- The new building of the Mechanics' Insurance Company of Philadelphia, Fifth and Walnut streets, was formally opened on Thursday.  The Company, which was organized in 1854, occupied since its establishment, until quite recently, two buildings on Sixth street, corner of Cherry.  These properties were sold in November to the Odd Fellows’ Association, the company having purchased in July last the building at Fifth and Walnut streets.  Shortly thereafter the work of improving the old structure was begun, and as it now stands the Mechanics’ Company’s building is practically a new edifice.  It has a handsome front on Walnut street, the first story of which is of iron and the upper stories of pressed brick, with ornamental blue stone trimmings.  On Walnut street is a high and wide plate glass window, and two smaller windows are on the Fifth street side.  The recess head under the brick arches sprung over the top of each window is ornamented with iron castings, containing fire insurance insignia.  The transom in the first story is of stained glass.  The cornice is formed of peerless brick in paneled work.  A tower, finished in a pointed slated roof, surmounted by a galvanized iron finial, surmounts the corner of the building.  The Fifth street front has been similarly remodeled.  The entrance to the insurance offices is from Walnut street.  The offices are handsomely finished in hard wood.  The entrance to the upper stories, which are arranged for lawyers’ offices, &c, is from Fifth street, at the southern end of the building.