201 South Broad Street
|A ghost of it's former self.|
So popular, in fact, that its very creation is somewhat mythical. The legend has it that Philadelphia's most badass turn-of-the-20th Century power-couple, Geleanor (George Widener and Eleanor Elkins), was responsible. You see, George and Eleanor were the spoiled trustafarian offspring of two great Philadelphia dynasties. Their marriage was the thing of gossip and scandal.
|People Magazine November 6, 1911.|
George was like, "Motherfucker, I'm going to build a much more luxurious hotel right across the street! All the other rich motherfuckers will love to be able to smoke during their group sex!". At the same time, the Ritz Carlton series of hotels was flourishing in Europe and announced its intentions to expand into North America. Widener was like, "Check and Mate, motherfucker.", hiring Grand Champion of Asshole-Wrestling Horace Trumbauer to design it. What he turned out became legendary.
This beast opened in 1912 and was built with only 49 super-expensive-ass rooms. The rest of the building was filled with restaurants and ballrooms. There was a buffet in the basement, a cafe in the lobby, a gigantic main restaurant on the 2nd floor, private dining rooms on the fourth floor, and a gigantic kitchen that served them all that took up the entire third floor.
Geleanor was so goddamn excited about it that they went to France to find the most badass chef possible. They wanted their patrons to have the real deal, not some American dude who cooks French food. If their customers didn't hear the chef say "sacre bleu!" every so often they would be pissed. On their way home, shit didn't go too well, and only Eleanor came back. Geleanor was no more.
|George Widener as depicted by Guy Standing Jr. in the appropriately named 1957 film, Titanic.|
|Addition under confucktion in 1914.|
|This picture from 1914 shows the Ritz-Carlton in full-scale badassitude.|
|Here's the rendering for the horrific mangling of the former Ritz.|
|The crap facade in 1990's.|
Thankfully, someone at U. Arts woke the fuck up and realized that the building should be returned to it's former grandeur. They ripped off the grand grid of shit and used a fiber-reinforced cast stone to replicate it's original intricately detailed 2nd to 5th floor. It's a good thing Trumbauer wrapped the limestone detailing around the back of the building. It was used as a guide.
|Limestone facade from the bum bathroom behind the building.|
Geleanor has many living descendants. They should go on down to Broad and Walnut and show some respect for their great-grandpappy's work and smoke a cigarette inside.