Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Anthropologie store in Philadelphia

I promised to share photos of the flagship store of Philadelphia-based Anthropologie, and I’m making good on that promise today.

Anthropologie is a chain of retail stores that sells women's apparel and accessories, home furnishings, imitation found objects and an array of gifts and decorative items. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the company is owned by Urban Outfitters, Inc. (UOI), which also owns retail brands Urban Outfitters, Free People, Terrain, and BHLDN, and is currently under the direction of CEO Glen Senk. ~Wikipedia

I don’t know about you, but Anthropologie is cool enough in and of itself, and to find it housed in a 19th century Beaux-Arts designed mansion at the edge of one of the most historic sections of the city of Philadelphia, well it just makes it even more special.



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The Fell-Van Renssealaer House at 1801 Walnut Street was commissioned to be built by Sarah Drexel Fell, the widow of a Philadelphia coal magnate. In 1898, Sarah moved into the mansion with her new husband, Alexander Van Renssalaer.

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The home itself has served a number of different purposes. In this century, it’s been a private residence, an athletic club, and now a storefront.

Walking up the steps, you enter a great room that is divided into three sections anchored in the center along the back wall by a spiral staircase with steps made of long, rectangular cement blocks.



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The lavish interior was gutted in 1974 and only the façade survives which is evidenced in the section above.



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The windows and the light in this room is just amazing.



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Lots of visually interesting pieces are scattered about the store.



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But all along the walls lie the evidence of the past. I found this mantle on the spiral staircase.



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Their displays are always different, fresh, and innovative, and the openness of the space really lends itself to the store’s trademark look.

I took the shot above standing on the middle floor and looking down to the street level. Note the tile on the floor and all the architectural elements along the Walnut Street façade there.



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Inside is fun, too, with their eclectic displays and funky stuff. That wall caught my eye back there and I probably should have taken a close-up.



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Browsing in this place could take well over an hour. Or maybe two if you’re so inclined.



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The spiral staircase, looking down to street level from the top floor. The white hanging spheres are actually hundreds of straws with edges cut on an angle that have been inserted into globes of Styrofoam and suspended from wire.



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One of these straws may have fallen on the floor while we were there. I couldn’t see any easy way to get it back in, so we may have nonchalantly walked away . . .



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Standing on the staircase, looking up into this magnificent stained-glass dome makes you wonder how incredible this house used to be.


: : :
Hope you enjoyed the little tour, my friends. There are 135 Anthropologie stores in the United States and its catalog and website ship to over 30 different countries . For the closest store near you, visit {here}. And to shop online, visit:


Anthropologie.com

123 Signature[5]

To Becky up the Hill, who commented that she would like to know more about Sarah Drexel Fell ~
Sarah "Sallie" Drexel was the daughter of Anthony Joseph Drexel, financier, banker, partner of J.P. Morgan, and founder of Drexel University. He and his wife, Ellen, had nine children of which Sallie was the fourth and considered by many to be the most confident and forceful of the bunch. She married John Ruckman Fell in 1879, and they had five children. Her husband died of a stroke in 1895, leaving her considerably wealthy. For more information, visit the Drexel Archives.

29 comments:

Sarah said...

What an amazing store!! I enjoyed reading the history of the building - thanks! I have never been to a store but I like to oogle over their beautiful clothes and home items!

Mental P Mama said...

That is a company that knows what it's doing! What a beautiful one!!!

Nellie said...

Absolutely beautiful building! Gorgeous merchandise,s too!

becky up the hill said...

This was a wonderful tour. Now I'm interested in the widowed rich lady with the new husband. I hope it was a happy marriage..would love to see more interior shots. Thanks for sharing. Your comment that you nonchalantly walked away from the straw made me chuckle.

missing moments said...

Well, that was fun! Love the architecture!

JaneK said...

cool! and maybe if one of the straws should have happened to fall one might should have non-chalantly possibly picked it up for a souvenier (hee hee)

Cloudia said...

they should HIRE you!

Great job. You know, back in the early 70's there was a storefront on Locust St near 43rd in West Philadelphia next to Kochs Deli. It was called "The Free People's Store" and they had a "free" table. This was the first of what would grow into Urban Outfitters/ Anthropologie.
What a success story!

Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

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Southwest Cottage Designs said...

How fascinating! I love browsing at Anthropologie.

forgetmenot said...

I LOVED the tour!!! What a great house and what a fun place to shop. Mickie :)

Helene said...

I haven't been able to get into the comments here for about a week. I suspect there's been major trouble with my link. Nonetheless, back to 'normal' - so glad to visit and get the tour! I love that chair! Great photos and posts...really enjoy stopping here.

Cait O'Connor said...

That is a classy building, I love the angels and your pics are classy too.

jinxxxygirl said...

Can you imagine living in all that splendor??? Amazing. Thanks so much for sharing the photos and a little background of Sarah.......deb

Daryl Edelstein said...

Isnt it wonderful to have free access to all sorts of information on the internets? SOPA my ass.

Love the spiral looking down shot .. luckily I dont suffer dizzy spells... and I'd have kept that straw .. just sayin'

Caroline said...

That store is like the black hole to me...I go in and hours later... This store is one of the prettiest I have seen. Gorgeous shots!

The Japanese Redneck said...

That is the coolest chair!

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a beautifully grand place. How could you possible resist buying clothes there - they would be so elegant.

Nurse Nancy said...

Need to make a trip to Philly to get a closer look!

TSannie said...

How beautiful that old building is!

Karen said...

Can you imagine this as a residence!!... just love it. THanks for sharing....

Mary Lou said...

Wow! I would be inclined to spend the day there (if I had my camera or a lot of money!) Beautiful store and great photos!!!

Bluebird49 said...

I've heard of this store--but I've never been in one. I know it would be fun to see and be in one, though. I'm just glad you had the chance to see the beautiful store in person and send us folks that never go anywhere some lovely photos and words about it. Thanks for the exploring you do--I know it's not for me---but it's the only way I get to see things. (Through another's eyes--and I'm glad your eye is so good.)

Praying for you every night.

beth said...

OMG......and did they not care that you were taking photos, since i practically got kicked out of our anthropolgie for taking pictures....

thanks for making my morning so beautiful :)
xoxoxo

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

I've always loved Anthropologie, but what I'm more amazed about is that people used to live in that home! Too bad it was gutted - savages! Thankfully some detail remains.

Ann On and On... said...

It's definitely more than shopping it's an experience. Thanks for sharing.

Kacey said...

Just catching up on this week's blog reading. I just love these photos! What an interesting house/store/building. I love that you shared it with us. I'm going to put that on my must see list for a planned trip to Philadelphia.

Christine said...

I love Anthropologie and its Philly store! Great pictures!

Kerri said...

I had not heard of this store until this past November when my sister mentioned it. I am such a Non shopper :) I LOVE that spiral staircase and that ceiling - WOWZA!

Lili said...

Oh My!! What an awesome place to visit. Too funny about the straw...hehe. We don't even have an Anthro anywhere in Maine, but I get my fix when we visit our girls. Thanks for sharing, that made me dream! xo ~Lili

LindseyBee said...

I walk by this everyday on my way to work from home, & usually try to limit my stops to 1 a week (so hard to do! :))...so it's SO interesting to know the rich history behind it! When I walk by, now, I will give it an even better smile than before. It's one of the most inspiring buildings, & I hope it never chnges from being Anthropologie's home store--youre so right that it's true to its trademark.