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Mellon Center (Lit Brothers’ Department Store)

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Lit Brothers’ Department Store
1850; 1869; 1894–1906, Collins and Autenrieth. Market Street between 7th and 8th sts.
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)
  • Strawbridge and Clothier Department Store (Photograph by Robert S. Salzar)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

The former Lit Brothers’ Department Store began in the middle of the nineteenth century as a group of iron-fronted stores in the center of the block, including J. B. Lippincott and Co., at numbers 713–715, which were part of the block acquired by Jacob Lit at the end of the nineteenth century. Between 1894 and 1906, Collins and Autenrieth added unifying wings whose elaborate detail and roundarched windows so duplicate the effect of cast iron that most are not aware that the bulk of the building is of brick and terra-cotta. After Lit's closed and faced demolition, it was restored and converted into an office building with street-level retailing. Across Market Street, the cast-iron-fronted building at number 714 is by John McArthur Jr. (1855). West of 8th Street is the stepped classical limestone block of Strawbridge and Clothier's Department Store, the bastion of Quaker retail, designed by Grant Simon (1928).

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Mellon Center (Lit Brothers’ Department Store)", [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, 78-78.

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