After a two year nomination process directed by Powers & Company Inc., the National Park Service recently approved Callowhill Industrial Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The six acre site covers fourteen city blocks and shows off the progression of industrial architecture from some of the most distinguished designers of their day. This prestigious list includes Philip Tyre, the Wilson Brothers, Ballinger & Perot, Philip Johnson, and William Steele & Sons.
The entire process began when the owners of the Heid building, located at 323-329 N. 13th Street, decided to pursue historic tax credits in order to transform the building into a residential and commercial property. Powers & Co. urged the owners to look through a wider lens at the possibility of an entire historic district. After conducting research Power & Company pinpointed the starting date of Callowhill to be 1830 and marked 1959 as the end point.
The Callowhill district has played an important role in various types of commerce and industries for years. The Goodwin Brothers’ building housed dress makers and printing businesses, the Smaltz Building was dedicated to ladies’ shoes, the Wolf Building was used by manufacturers of envelopes, folders, and various stationaries, and there were multiple automobile showrooms including the Packard Motor Company building. The most important property in the approval of this district was the Terminal Commerce Building, which established important rail industry presence within the district and created a lot of retail traffic for these businesses.
The exact boundaries of the Callowhill District are from Hamilton and 12th St. south to Pearl St, Pearl St. west to Broad St., then back north to Hamilton St.
Powers and Company is also currently examining other potential national historic districts in North Philadelphia, focusing on buildings located in Fishtown, on Columbia Avenue and Tulip Street.