PlanPhilly

Look Up! A well-preserved reminder of 19th-century hospitality

    • The St. Charles Hotel, 60-66 N. 3rd St., retains its mid-19th century exterior features.
      The St. Charles Hotel, 60-66 N. 3rd St., retains its mid-19th century exterior features.
    • The building has kept its Christian name and how offers luxury apartments.
      The building has kept its Christian name and how offers luxury apartments.
    • Retail businesses occupy the first level of the former hotel.
      Retail businesses occupy the first level of the former hotel.
    • The building's handsome second-story windows and ornate lintels have been preserved.
      The building's handsome second-story windows and ornate lintels have been preserved.
    • A few of the stained glass panels have survived the building's transitions.
      A few of the stained glass panels have survived the building's transitions.
    • Shields that probably bore the St. Charles name are still found on the first-floor columns.
      Shields that probably bore the St. Charles name are still found on the first-floor columns.
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“Look Up!” is a PlanPhilly feature that encourages appreciation of our architectural and historical environment. The photo essays focus on different Philadelphia areas and their distinctive building styles and details, all of which make up the physical fabric of the city and region.


As Philadelphia welcomes a resurgence of new hotels and proposals for even more, some of its early establishments enjoy new, repurposed lives.


The St. Charles Hotel, 60-66 North 3rd Street, has been reborn as St. Charles Court, four stories of luxury apartments and ground level retail shops in a lively section of Old City. The building is very well preserved, from its stained glass windows on the first story, to the ornate lintels on the second level, to the beautifully restored faux stone façade.


The St. Charles was built by Charles Rubicam in 1851, using brick and cast-iron, a new construction material, which was painted to imitate brownstone. The design also imitated Italian Renaissance palaces, with floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto a balcony that runs the length of the building.


Inside, the hotel featured eating and drinking saloons, a ladies’ parlor and 50 guest rooms, according to the Historic American Buildings Survey of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The stained glass panels, it adds, were designed by Huneker and Brant.


The first floor was altered in 1920; the second floor was transformed into offices in 1975; the transition to apartments began in 1980.


Rubicam also worked locally on the Caleb, Cope and Company Store on the 400 block of Market Street, which became Goldberg’s Army-Navy in the 1930s, but was demolished in 1970.


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Contact the writer at ajaffe@planphilly.com.




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About the author

Alan Jaffe, Contributor

Alan Jaffe has been a contributing writer for PlanPhilly since 2008, focusing on overlooked buidlings and historic preservation issues. He was a writer and editor in the newspaper industry for nearly 30 years, including eight at the Philadelphia Inquirer and nine at the South Jersey Courier-Post. He is currently the director of communications for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is also an antiques writer and collector and the author of “J. Chein & Co.: A Collector’s Guide to an American Toymaker.”

ajaffe@planphilly.com



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