Plans of the Bethlehem Loading Company and “Belcoville” site 1918.
“Philadelphia’s own Packard Motor Company Building (1911) situated on what was a bustling auto sales district along North Broad Street deftly straddled the line between functionality and ornament. The building was part showroom part service center–all on a 75’ wide lot hemmed in by Pearl and Wood Streets. Often grappling with dense urban sites in the construction of his early factories, Albert Kahn was comfortable with constructing to 8 stories. (He later found that vertical construction was inefficient in factory structures, thus the massive single story Willow Run plant. Ford, an avowed anti-urbanist, further cast factory production in the hinterland). Kahn’s brother Julius, an engineer, designed a means of cladding structural steel with concrete, creating the fireproof and open “Kahn System” which was used extensively in the Packard Building. Far more public, the salesroom off of Broad Street featured high wainscoting of oak and an ornamental plaster beamed ceiling all “in a manner that will hone the name Packard and be a shining example of Packard service,” according to the company’s magazine.”
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