• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

All Lit Up: Mesh mockup atop Lit Brothers

Lit Brothers could soon have large, animated digital ads on its roof as part of the Market East Commercial Advertising District. So, at the Historical Commission's request, a "media mesh" mockup panel was installed atop Lit's at 8th and Market. Take a gander.

  • Lit Brothers rooftop


Crews installed the mesh mockup Tuesday and the building owner has agreed to leave the sample in place at least through the Historical Commission's Architectural Committee meeting on October 23, possibly until the Commission meeting on November 9. So if you're interested there's plenty of time to check it out.

Jonathan Farnham, Executive Director of the Historical Commission, confirmed via email that only the densest type of mesh was installed on the mockup. And, sadly, we can't get the full effect because it will not be illuminated at night.

Back in 2011 City Council passed legislation designating Market East (from 7th to 13th streets) as a special Commercial Advertising District, which permits building owners to install large format digital signs, as long as they also make significant improvements to the building. Historic buildings are excluded from the legislation [pdf] passed by City Council last year, unless owners can prove that their buildings historically had large commercial signage. And in that case, the Historical Commission must approve of the proposed sign. Back in the day Market East was overflowing with bold ads and commercial signs, and in the case of Lit's the roof had a sign for the department store throughout most of the 20th century.

Here's what Lit Brothers looked like in 1984, for example:

  • Lit Brothers, August 1984 | Office of the City Representative | phillyhistory.org


Back in August the Architectural Committee recommended denying the request for the rooftop signage, so expect a lively discussion at their upcoming meeting on October 23.

We're curious what you think. And I imagine the Historical Commission is too.

About the author

Ashley Hahn, Contributor

Ashley Hahn is an independent writer with a background in historic preservation and city planning. She started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from 2015-2017. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York. She is a Philadelphian by choice.

Contact Ashley via email or find her on twitter: @ashleyjhahn.


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