The McClatchy Building

McClatchy BuildingIn the posting of 10/1/05, I identified this large, very unusual, very theatrical, Moorish building across from the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby as the old Frank & Seder department store.  But I recently came across a photo in a book that identified it as the McClatchy Building which I could then confirm on Google.  That led to more photos at (that also has information on McClatchy’s building projects).  Their photos even show a large bronze inscription over the main entrance, shown here, but unreadable, saying it is the McClatchy Building. Finding the name cast in bronze pretty well settles the question.  Never too late to correct a mistake.

For those of you who did not grow up here, the 69th Street Terminal was (and still is) the important transportation link from the elevated/subway trains coming from Philadelphia to the many bus and trolley lines that fan out through the suburbs.   A commercial area naturally grew up around it, and many of our parents brought us there to shop.  It began to decline in about the 1950s as the more convenient suburban malls were built, but it may be coming back with a growing Asian population and their specialty stores.

The steps visible in the photo here are part of a shockingly ugly pedestrian overpass to the Terminal that overwhelms and ruins the architecture of both buildings.  The Frank & Seder department store was probably on the corner of the next block up, 69th and Ludlow.

John McClatchy was a well-known local home builder in the 1920s.  The McClatchy Building had rented retail space on the ground floor and his offices above, but it really was a monument to himself.  And it worked.  The building is still there while he is mostly forgotten.


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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One Response to The McClatchy Building

  1. oking2016 says:

    In looking through some photo archives, I found a shot that shows the Frank & Seder sign on the McClatchy Building as well as on the store itself one block away. They apparently used the more prominent McClatchy location for better advertising. They were one of the first anchor tenants in the “new” 69th St. shopping development when they moved there in 1929. They lasted there until 1949 when they consolidated that store into the Philadelphia store, with Lits taking over the Upper Darby location.

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