Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chesnut Street's Scientology Headquarters

From the sidewalk, the PMC Group building at 1314 Chestnut looks like just another vacant storefront on Chestnut's walk of shame. But look up. Designed by A.J. Sauer and Co. in 1923, the former Cunningham Piano Company isn't your ordinary Chestnut Street stump.

In fact, the narrow tower gives most of the occupied Walnut Street facades an architectural run for their money. While many of its counterparts have been chopped off or boarded up, the tower stands largely in tact, and in surprisingly good condition.

Currently owned by the Church of Scientology, the vertical lines of the windows on a towering facade barely the width of two townhouses carry your eyes to a rooftop fit for an alien spacecraft's landing pad.

But in all seriousness, while the controversial church will undoubtedly face neighborly opposition, the organization has money and is known for meticulously restoring their historic buildings around the world. If L. Ron Hubbard's followers want to contribute to Chestnut's renaissance - and Philadelphia's weirdness - I won't stand in their way.

Check Philadelphia Freedom Org for renderings.

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