F. Plans

For twelve decades, excepting a hiatus around the middle of this century, the area has been a home to the Library Company. After leaving its Furness-designed quarters, demolished in 1940, to consolidate operations in its Ridgway Building at Broad and Christian streets (now the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts), the Library Company returned to the area in 1965 with its present building on the site of three Victorian townhouses. Substantial renovations were carried out by the Vitetta Group in the 1990s, creating the present gallery and expanding the facilities for readers.

Several months ago, the Library Company began planning for the renovation of the building to its west, a townhouse at 1320 Locust Street that was built in 1883-84 for one of the enclave-dwelling elite. Modest in a streetscape of neighbors of equal size, it was nonetheless highly distinctive in character, and almost certainly designed by Furness & Evans. 1320 Locust was built for J. Gardner Cassatt, brother of painter Mary Cassatt and of Alexander J. Cassatt, a longtime executive of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and its president from 1899 to 1906. Although J. Gardner Cassatt did not stay long, the house experienced relatively few owners and only rather modest changes over the years.

The Library Company is now working with Becker Winston Architects to plan the reuse of the Cassatt house as a residential research center devoted to the study of early American history. The house is remarkably intact, and the architects are designing renovations that will preserve some of its principal spaces while adapting it to its new use.

Section F: [exhibition]
Last Revision. 03/10/00 eb.