Item No: pdcf00331
Title: Mercantile Branch
Additional Title: Exterior evening view of the new Merchantile Branch building, 1953
Historic Street Address:
1021 Chestnut Street
Print and Picture Collection
This is a 1953 exterior evening view, looking into the new Mercantile Branch, designed by Sydney Errington Martin, and opened on December 9, 1953. It replaced the demolished 1869-vintage Mercantile Library building at 10 S. 10th Street, which had been the branch's home since 1944.
The building represented a new trend in libraries towards bright, modern designs, and therefore has architectural landmark status. Note the large white space on the left-hand wall--it would soon be graced by a mural by Raymond Spiller, as part of the "1% For Art" initiative. (A partial view of that mural can be seen in image #pdcf00332.)
The Mercantile Branch served the Center City population, until it closed in 1989.