Monday, March 17, 2014

Salvaging the Boyd

After a valiant effort on behalf of preservation activists, Live Nation didn't waste time beginning demolition at the historic Boyd Theater after last week's decision by the Historical Commission.

As often is with historically designated buildings in Philadelphia, there was a public misconception about what was designated historic. The most astounding aspect of the theater is its massive Art Deco auditorium, but the only piece protected by the Historical Commission was the fa├žade which will be restored by iPic Theaters.

Philadelphia's independent blogosphere will likely follow the Boyd's demolition while the mainstream press will follow iPic's redevelopment. Meanwhile it's important to use the momentum generated by the Friends of the Boyd and the Preservation Alliance to move on to the next threatened historic site.

For the moment, I'm curious what will be salvaged from the Boyd's auditorium and where it will end up. A few months ago I was at Ted's Bulletin, a new restaurant on 14th Street in Washington, DC, and was surprised to see the entire interior adorned in the salvaged remnants of West Philadelphia's Convention Hall.

Convention Hall met a familiar fate, its demolition the result of University Hospital's ambitious development and last minute efforts on the part of preservationists. Before that happens again, let's get out in front of the next great loss. We need a Friends of Robinson's, Friends of the Roundhouse, and Friends of the Divine Lorraine to make sure we don't lose another architectural legacy.

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