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30th Street Station

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1925–1931, Graham, Anderson, Probst and White; 1990–1991 restored, DPK&A. 30th and Market sts.
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)
  • (© George E. Thomas)

The Pennsylvania Railroad's station at 30th Street was constructed as part of a massive rethinking of the railroad's operations in its home city at the moment that the automobile was making inroads into rail traffic. Graham, Anderson, Probst and White's imperial neoclassical limestone-clad, column-fronted, double-ended hall is the perfect space to wait for a daughter coming home from college or to stand in line for a train to New England. Immense three-story-high chandeliers light the vast waiting room and accentuate the Art Deco gold and acid-orange highlights to the corporate Pennsylvania Railroad Tuscan red of the coffered ceiling. At the east end of the station is one of the nation's best war monuments, Walker Hancock's elegiac bronze (1952) of the Archangel Michael, angel of the Resurrection, lifting a fallen solder emblematic of the 1,307 Pennsylvania Railroad employees who died in World War II. Suburban trains leave from an elevated wing to the north under glazed canopies. In a side waiting room is a relic of earlier railroad history removed from Frank Furness's Broad Street Station (demolished), the immense carved terra-cotta bas-relief The Spirit of Transportation (1894) by Karl Bitter, which describes the course of transportation technology from the wheeled cart and the covered wagon to the railroad, and on the extreme right, a prophetic airship.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "30th Street Station", [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 126-126.

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