Building Curtis

Pt. 1: The Drexel Mansion

Before the Curtis Institute of Music occupied the grand building at 1726 Locust St., it was the city home of the George W. Childs Drexel family.  While the exterior boasted elaborate architecture in the Romanesque and Romantic styles, the interior of the Drexel home was a veritable treasure trove of fine furnishings, artwork, and decorative items gathered from around the world.  In the Curtis Archives we retain original photographs of the Drexel home, both before and after its purchase by Mary Louise Curtis Bok in 1924. Although many of the rooms are still recognizable, bedecked in their period finery they possess a different air from that presented after the Boks redesigned them to create a less intimidating – and thus more welcoming – atmosphere for Curtis students.

Below are images of the Drexel mansion (ca. 1900) prior to its transition from stately residence to academic institution in 1924.  “Tune” in again soon for the next series of photos depicting 1726 easing into its new identity as the Curtis Institute of Music.

 

The Drexel mansion showing the conservatory (now Field Concert Hall)

The Drexel mansion showing the conservatory (now Field Concert Hall)

The Drexel mansion showing the conservatory (now Field Concert Hall)
Main foyer (now the Common Room)

Main foyer (now the Common Room)

Main foyer (now the Common Room)
Detail of fireplace

Detail of fireplace

Detail of fireplace
Drawing room (now the dean and executive assistant offices)

Drawing room (now the dean and executive assistant offices)

Drawing room (now the dean and executive assistant offices)
Drawing room looking towards the parlor (the door at left no longer exists)

Drawing room looking towards the parlor (the door at left no longer exists)

Drawing room looking towards the parlor (the door at left no longer exists)
Parlor looking into the drawing room (now the Bok Room)

Parlor looking into the drawing room (now the Bok Room)

Parlor looking into the drawing room (now the Bok Room)
Second floor landing showing vaulted ceiling

Second floor landing showing vaulted ceiling

Second floor landing showing vaulted ceiling
Second floor landing looking east

Second floor landing looking east

Second floor landing looking east
Second floor landing looking west

Second floor landing looking west

Second floor landing looking west
Dining room with conservatory entrance (now foyer and entrance to Field Concert Hall)

Dining room with conservatory entrance (now foyer and entrance to Field Concert Hall)

Dining room with conservatory entrance (now foyer and entrance to Field Concert Hall)
1726 and surrounding buildings just prior to opening of Curtis, 1924

1726 and surrounding buildings just prior to opening of Curtis, 1924

1726 and surrounding buildings just prior to opening of Curtis, 1924

 

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