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Chafin Building (Robson–Prichard Building)

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Robson–Prichard Building
1909–1911, Elzner and Anderson. 517–519 9th St. (west side of 9th St. between 5th and 6th aves.)

Designed by a Cincinnati firm, this ten-story office building, faced with buff-colored Roman brick and trimmed with stone, is arranged according to the tripartite columnar formula deemed appropriate for tall buildings in the early twentieth century. Pilasters on the first two floors support a full entablature that acts as a base for a seven-story shaft. The tenth floor, the capital, features an elaborate entablature with classical detailing. The street frontage is only three bays wide, but the side elevations stretch twenty-one bays. The Huntington Banking and Trust Company originally occupied the first floor. Fred C. Prichard, president of the bank, and Hugh A. Robson, a member of its board of directors, provided the building's original name.

Floors above the bank's premises were divided into 175 offices, where, according to an early advertisement, tenants could enjoy “fireproof vaults,… vacuum cleaning system, vacuum steam heating system, ice water fountains on each floor, hot and cold water in each room, [and] lighting by both gas and electricity.” A number of Huntington's architecture firms took advantage of the amenities, as did various coal companies, some of which leased whole floors. The tenth-floor penthouse, reached by a private elevator, had a roof garden and was kept for private parties.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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