Monday, April 26, 2010

A step back in time at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia

It’s Sunday night as I write this and I’ve just gotten home. George is nearly on my lap due to a thunder and lightning storm that’s going on and I am beat from the weekend.

On Saturday morning, I left to see my brother who is still in the hospital in Philadelphia. I took the photos I had done for him and hung them up in his room. He especially liked the lilacs. And I read him the well wishes that you all sent him, which made him smile. “They don’t even know me,” he said. “But they know you’re my brother,” I told him. He closed his eyes and smiled.

After several hours, I had to leave to pick up my son who was coming in on the bus from New York City. He texted me to say he’d be there soon, so I headed up to 30th Street Station, which is a short drive from the hospital.

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I have never been inside this beautiful building before and was completely amazed. Unfortunately, I had the ISO set to 1250 on the camera, which gave these photos more noise (grain) than I expected, so please bear with me.

This is the war memorial at the station, commissioned from renowned sculptor Walker Hancock. The “Angel of Resurrection” was dedicated to the Pennsylvania Railroad employees who died during World War II. The giant bronze statue of an angel lifting a fallen soldier is located on the eastern end of the concourse.

This is the statue from the classic film, “Witness”. Here’s a clip from YouTube that includes it. The angel is in the very beginning of the scene which is over 5 minutes long and includes the murder scene, which you probably do not want to see. Just a warning.

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This is a beautiful station with its art deco decor and old time elegance.

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You can really see the grain here. Sorry.

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The station is nearly the size of a football field. The beautiful marble floors, the soaring 95-foot high coffered ceiling and the long pendant light fixtures all add to the elegance.

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There were birds flying about and some had landed on the floor.

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I liked the ample seating the station offers, making it comfortable while you’re waiting for your train or bus or just waiting to pick someone up. There was a college student sitting across from me, working hard on her studies.

My sister surprised me with a piece of information on our mother’s past that I hadn’t known until this week. I always knew that my mother worked as a telephone operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad before she met and married our father. But what I never put together was the fact that she actually worked here, at the 30th Street Station.

Built by the Pennsylvania Railroad beginning in 1930, it is one of the largest rail stations in the country.

And that concludes our lesson for today. Hope you’re ready for the test tomorrow.

(I’m kidding).

48 comments:

The Wife of a Dairyman ~ Nancy said...

Wow, that's a great piece of history that you just found out about your mother. Maybe next time you're at the station, you can see where she actually worked.....if the room is available for viewing. Would make for great documentation on your family history!

Jeanne Walker aka Rileigh's Lolli said...

Most new buildings today are so sterile and boring. They just don't build 'em like they used to!
This station is stately and beautiful...and so very full of history...if walls could only talk!

Did you know before or after visiting the station that your mother worked in it? I was wondering if you felt her presence?

Hugs and have a great week! Jeanne

Hilary said...

Nothing compares to these older, beautiful structures these days. What a wonderful set of photos (your high ISO grain wasn't bad at all.. stop that!) ;) and even more wonderful knowing the connection to the past. Beautiful post, Kate.

Oliag said...

I think these are great indoor shots...I love traveling with you!

Low Tide High Style said...

How cool to be in the same place where your mother once worked. And your photos are wonderful as always, regardless of your ISO settings! That angel statue is amazing! I hope your brother is on the mend!

Kat :)

Holly said...

little bits of information like that tug at you don't they? I love learning things like that about my family.

The photos are gorgeous and I like the grain in them, makes them look more antique-y.

Hope your brother is doing better.

Jan said...

Thank you for those photos. I go past 30th St. Station often and have never been inside. I will try and stop next time.

Caroline said...

Sometimes grain is good!!! I love these photos. My fave is the couple walking (in total sync no less) and the birds. I bet if you played around with that and added some vintagy effects you could make that really cool (but, it's damn cool now).

Anonymous said...

Buildings from before the 50s had so much more beauty and character than those of the past 50 years. I love old train depots and bus stations. The depot in Kansas City, MO was "saved" and is very pretty.

TSannie said...

And I am so much more impressed by the architecture of yesterday than what we have today...just beautiful!

Julie Harward said...

I'm glad that touched your brothers heart..thats what we are here to do. Love the beautiful building..so glad we have all these gorgeous places of the past, they are hard, and costly, to build like that today! Kissed hugs to George too. Come say hi :D

willow said...

Oh, gosh, this is my daughter's old stomping ground. She's moving to New York this weekend, so I most likely won't be seeing much of Philly anymore. Gorgeous pics.

Mary Lou said...

You sure do get around. and around some beautiful places, I might ad.
I hope your brother is mending and that you enjoy your son.
Love the photos

GypsyNurse said...

What great shots! I live right outside of Philly now..but lived there for 12 years..and worked at the nations first hospital... (some cool shots to get if you get around to it..especially the original surgical suite) Pennsylvania Hospital on 8th and Spruce...
Hope your brother is doing better..I am sure your photos brightened his mood!
Smiles~
Cat

JackDaddy said...

How nice that you found out about your mother! It's the little things that make life interesting!

The Money Paradise said...

you Have some nice things on your blog. your blog looks good.

heartfeltcynic said...

k,

I LOVE the grain/noise in both the shot with the "30th Street" sign and the couple walking near the birds. I really think it adds to those particular shots rather than takes away. But the rest of the photos still look great despite the extra noise compared to the setting you would've used had you known. :)

Annie said...

Wonderful place Kate..and photos too!

Lovely that you found out that your Mum worked there too! It is always interesting to find out little snippets of family history!

Jayne said...

What a gorgeous building. Places like that make waiting a pleasure. :c)

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Lovely story. And I can almost picture your mom working there back in the days. What a wonderful place. I've only seen it on big movies.

Gladd your best wishes got to your brother and I'm sure that smile will stay with him for a while.

Hugs and take a good rest.
Dagmar

Jen at Cabin Fever said...

I always love it when there are birds inside of a building. There is just something about it that makes me feel peaceful inside...

And I was wondering... I would love to reply to my own comments like you do, each individual one. How do you do it? How does the subject line have the post the person commented on in it? Do you type it on your own for each email? I think its wonderful that you take the time to reply and that we all should (try) to do the same! :)

Mental P Mama said...

Beautiful place;) My baby boy goes in and out of there, too. Hope your bro is getting better....

Madi and Mom said...

What a beautiful trains station...

Madi and Mom

Nurse Nancy said...

Love it! I love to go to older buildings and experience what they mean....close my eyes and feel what used to be there as well as what is there today.

Daryl said...

At first glance I thought that was an Indian .. the feathers .. hey ..

Stop apologizing for things no one but you see ...

Mary said...

It is a beautiful building, isn't it? My husband's law firm is headquartered in Philly, and a few years ago they rented a part of 30th St. station for a catered function. Very cool!

Char said...

wouldn't it be funny if our mother's knew each other? my mom was an telephone operator in philadelphia for a short time around the time she met my dad. she and her friend chris would go to the restaurant where he was a short order cook and watch him toss pizza.

beautiful shots.

JO said...

Whata beautiful building - old and new to the period.

I love family history :)

JO

www.teensandtriplets.com

fourwilkies said...

I thoroughly enjoyed my little trip to Philadelphia this morning, via your blog - thanks for sharing. I needed to get out of Nebraska for a few minutes!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

beautiful i hope your brother is ok... i am JUST two weeks behind and was whining on Facecrack that i had not seen you of late... I miss you and George and the handsome hubby :) am trying desperately to catch back up with everyone.
Love n hugs ME

Andi said...

I *heart* 30th St Station. :) The train station at the convention center has some of the same architecture. Beautiful. Hope your brother is feeling better and making progress. I am near if you need anything. :)
Blogger won't upload photos for me! How do you rate!? :)

Gail said...

It is much more than a history lesson. You have shown me beauty that I will never get to see in my life time. Thank you.

Tell your brother I am still thinking of him...good thoughts...just in case he asks.

Cheryl said...

Sounds like your brother is doing better.

The station is beautiful, warm and inviting.

becky up the hill said...

Love old train stations. This one is beautiful indeed. Glad you got to spend some time with your brother and took him some pictures. Sweet. I liked the story about your Mom too. Thanks for sharing.

ELK said...

the colors and the height of these images are fabulous .. a visit to Philly I have so enjoyed

A New England Life said...

First of all, let me just say how very impressed I am by the fact that you text! Way to go Kate!

I'm not sure what others have commented but I like the way the photos turned out. Almost old school. That said, don't you just hate it when you have the camera set incorrectly? Me too.

What a wonderful old, historic building. It's grandeur kind of reminds me of Grand Central Station. Think I'll pass on the death scene ; )

Deb said...

I love old train stations and Philly certainly has a grand one. As for Atlanta's train station, it is less than pitiful. I come from Chicago where the Union Station is so amazing. Oh well, maybe Sherman burnt it down!

Deb said...

I love old train stations and Philly certainly has a grand one. As for Atlanta's train station, it is less than pitiful. I come from Chicago where the Union Station is so amazing. Oh well, maybe Sherman burnt it down!

The Japanese Redneck said...

A neat place. Hope your brother is continuing to get better.

Deb said...

how cool...wonderful station...and to find out your Mom worked there is great...

slommler said...

What beautiful photos! And to come with a history lesson as well is such a treat! How wonderful to find out that your mother worked here...such a treasured memory!!
Congrats on your POTW
Hugs
SueAnn

deb said...

congrats on the POTW,

your pictures of this station are pieces of art in themselves.

It's nice to formally "meet" you, as I 've seen you in common blogger comment sections.
I'm so so looking forward to getting to know your blog, and you.

and I'm not sure about the situation with your brother, but I hope he is healing, and send prayers and well wishes.

TechnoBabe said...

Philadelphia is one of the most beautiful cities in the US in my opinion. Your photos are treasures.
Congrats on POTW.

Daryl said...

Back to say Congrats on the POTW mention from Hilary

Merisi said...

Congratulations on the your POTD award from Hilary!

Never mind the noise - way better than blurred pictures anyway and yours look grand indeed. I'd have believed you if you'd said you cranked the ISO up on purpose, to emphasize the vintage look of your photographs.

Dianne said...

I remember that scene from Witness, it was breathtaking

as are your photos

congrats on POTW

and hugs to your brother

CherylK said...

I think your photographs are wonderful. That is one beautiful train station, for sure! Congrats of the POTW honor!

Brian Miller said...

these are strikingly beautiful shots...love the vintage feel of the station. congrats on the PoTW!