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.
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.
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.
The lavish interior was gutted in 1974 and only the façade survives which is evidenced in the section above.
The windows and the light in this room is just amazing.
Lots of visually interesting pieces are scattered about the store.
But all along the walls lie the evidence of the past. I found this mantle on the spiral staircase.
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.
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.
Browsing in this place could take well over an hour. Or maybe two if you’re so inclined.
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.
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 . . .
Standing on the staircase, looking up into this magnificent stained-glass dome makes you wonder how incredible this house used to be.
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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.