From Taylor's sketchbook, 1861. The caption reads, ĺ─˙Northwest corner of Coates near Fairmount Torn down & added to the Park, 1869.ĺ─¨
The Buck Hotel was located on the northwest corner of Coates and Minor, according to Maps of the City of Philadelphia surveyed by Ernest Hexamer & William Locher in 1862 (found at the Free Library of Philadelphia, vol. 6, p. 89).
This image is an enlarged and rotated
version of the highlighted area below.
1862 Map showing the location of the Buck Hotel. (From Maps of the City of Philadelphia surveyed by Ernest Hexamer & William Locher, vol. 6., p. 89. The box and highlighting have been added.)
The arrow points to the corner where the Buck Hotel once stood. (Shown courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia. From Smedley's Atlas of the City of Philadelphia, by Samuel L. Smedley in 1862. The highlighting and arrow have been added.)
Its location today is roughly north of Fairmount Avenue close to Pennsylvania Avenue and can be seen in the image below.
The arrow points to the approximate location of the Buck Hotel. (Map from Google Earth. Arrow has been added.)
No record of a "Buck Hotel" has been found in that area in city directories from 1860. "Franz Herrman," the name that appears on the side of the building in Taylor's sketch, is also absent in city directories from 1860, but a "Francis Herrman" is listed in business directories as a proprietor for a tavern at the same location.
The land occupied by the hotel was acquired by the Fairmount Park Commission in 1868 and this provides some information on the site. Although the name of the owner - Hiram Miller - and the name of the hotel - Four Nations - described in the Fairmount records are both different from the information in Taylor's drawing, a "Brief of Title" in Fairmount Park records includes a sketch of the plot of land that clearly identifies it as the same land inhabited by the Buck Hotel. This can be seen in the image below.
(Found in the Fairmount Park records at the Philadelphia City Archives, Box A971.)
This can be inferred because Minor Street extends north from Coates Street, but does not cross it, so the drawing in the brief of title must be of the northwest corner of Coates and Minor, which corresponds to the location of the Buck Hotel on the Hexamer map from 1859.
A history of the land ownership can be seen in the "Brief of Title" found in the Fairmount Park records at the Philadelphia City Archives (Box A967). The chain of title lists deed holders as far back as William Penn.
The "Brief of Title" gives a chronological list of owners for this plot of land from the City of Philadelphia to Hiram Miller and all the way back to William Penn. (Found in the Fairmount Park records at the Philadelphia City Archives, Box A971.)
Further visual information can be seen in an undated photo found at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, seen below.
The caption reads, "Buck Tavern - On Landing Avenue (Coates St. now Fairmount Avenue) now included in Fairmount Park." No date or other contextual informaiton is given. (Found at Historical Society of Pennsylvania, in Perkins Collection, Vol. 13, p. 23)
The visible differences between the ground floor and the second floor, as well as the retaining wall that can be seen behind the hotel, suggest that regrading has taken place around this building. We have been unable to determine why this would have occured.
No insurance policies for a building on this site could be found by searching the names in the chain of title or by searching for all locations on Coates Street. (From Fire Insurance Records Database, http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/ffi/ffidefault.htm)
For Jeff Cohen, HSPV 600, Program in Historic Preservation, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania.
For educational purposes only.