When I was checking on the place for us to have the Retro Roadmap / Roadsidfans meetup on 11/14 I was fascinated by this place- located just feet from the Glider diner. As I walked into the cavernous space I was told that I had entered the "mother-ship" of the Olde Good Things architectural salvage company, with retail locations in New York City and Los Angeles. What kind of 20th century archeologist could resist exploring a giant warehouse and grounds filled to the brim with architectural details, antique lighting, Egyptian friezes, in Scranton, PA of all places...not me!
I found out from friendly and informative warehouse manager Tim, that these Egyptians were part of the original Philadelphia Civic Center built in 1929, and torn down in 2005. Lucky for us and future generations, the "Architecturologists" from Olde Good things were there to save this frieze. Taller than me (5'3") the entire frieze, depicting the history of construction is 580 inches long and available for sale.
The folks at the Olde Good Things warehouse realize that their grounds can be a bit overwhelming to navigate, so upon entrance you are offered a map of the property, like a little bread crumb trail, should you get turned around in your archeological dig. This informal museum of our collective commercial and social past seems like it must've been here forever, but has really only been a part of the Scranton skyline since 1998.
Map in hand, I passed this giant "frieze meiser" and began my exploration of the site.
It is hard to capture in just a few small photographs both the scale and vastness of this place, and the treasures contained within. Even this shot taken from above of just some of the stained glass windows on display doesn't give you an idea of how big they really are.
These elegant windows come from churches, residences, commercial buildings and even the American Airlines terminal from JFK airport*. Colorful yet solemn reminders of what (or who) was important to someone long ago, but has now been relegated to the anonymity of history.
Who was Hannah Hick? Is her last name longer than that? What was the story behind her interest in world history and geography? Why did she have a gigantic stained glass window commemorating her existence? And if someone with this much presence long ago -enough to be window-worthy- now remains a mystery to us, can you even imagine the millions of folks, who don't even have something like this to remind us that they were once here?
Speaking of a place that was once here and is no longer, one of the most distinctive items you see upon entering are these UFO inspired lighting fixtures that once graced the American Airlines terminal (1960-2005) at JFK Airport in New York.
*Even more fascinating (and unable to be photographed by me, as they were in storage) is the fact that Olde Good Things has in its possession of the panels from the giant 317 foot long stained glass mural that was the hallmark of the American Airlines terminal at JFK Airport. Designed by Robert Sowers, it was the largest stained glass installation in the world until 1979.
When the terminal was slated to be demolished, the cost of saving the entire piece in tact proved to be too extreme for the airline, they contacted the professionals at OGT to carefully remove the panels and save them.
(click on the photo for more shots of the removal of the glass)
So while the entire 317' long mosaic was never to be assembled again, the glass is now available for those who want a piece of American aviation history (and at least they didn't land in the dumpster!).
Speaking of things that could've landed in the dumpster, Olde Good Things also has a number of artifacts from the La Ronda demolition/debacle I mentioned in a previous post. The taunting gremlins you see dancing above the studious student's head are just a few of the pieces from that grand palace.
Not everything in their collection has such a storied past as the items above, but do show the variety of architectural and decorating options available to the past citizens of our civilization. Take for example this myriad collection of glass block options:
Who knew there were so many different styles of glass block in existence, nevermind once available? Lucky for us the folks at Olde Good Things know the value of saving these artifacts, so the details of our modern history won't be tossed in the construction dumpster.