The turn of the 20th century was a time of progress and prosperity for the City of Brotherly Love. Manufacturing plants blossomed and mass transit was in full swing. Philadelphia's famed Broad Street bustled with activity of all sorts, most notably automobile manufacturing. The street became known as "Automobile Row," as many of the prominent car makers at the time featured lavish showrooms and dealerships along the stretch.
The Packard Motor Car Building was built in 1910 as a grand showroom and assembly plant for the Packard Motor Car Co. Acclaimed Midwestern architect Albert Kahn designed the building to feature details that were rare, and often unique, at the time. The exterior features a limestone and terra cotta trim, while the structure's two-story lobby showcased a cast plaster ceiling, rich mahogany walls, and hand-finished millwork, according to Historic Landmarks for Living. Huge, looming oversized windows embrace the rest of the building.
In 1985, Historic Landmarks for Living acquired the property and transformed it into a 151-unit high-rise luxury apartment residence. The developer preserved much of the landmark's architectural character, including its oversized windows and grand lobby interiors. But the developer mixed in its own flavor by adding a few modern touches to the landmark–one of which is a full-size neon sculpture of the vintage Packard Motor Car.
–Abby Garcia Telleria is a freelance writer in Costa Mesa, Calif.