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Day 26 – Thursday May 24th: Architecture & Organs

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<– Day 25 – Wed. May 23rd: Steel, Strings & Sellersville | Day 27 & Day 28 – Fri/Sat May 25th/26th: What is Happening? –>


Wurlitzer Pipe Organ at the Macy’s in downtown Philadelphia. Ron scored us a visit to see it and the Wanamaker Organ. I don’t know how these things happen to us …

Day 26: We spent Thursday guided around Philadelphia by my cousin Ron Emrich. Having worked in building preservation for most of his life, he is well acquainted with the city’s architecture. We walked down to the first hospital in the country, then checked out Reading Market, where we relaxed and has some launch. Next, we visited the former Wanamaker store, now Macy’s, which houses both the largest organ in the world and a Wurlitzer. Ron got a behind-the-scenes tour. It was a wonderful journey on a beautiful day. Ron will soon be making us some ‘Ron’garitas, followed by some South American food at a restaurant 30 feet away. So, this is the only post for Thursday. Friday we leave for Richmond.

Shown here is Washington Park, one of multiple large parks in downtown Philly:


Here’s Ron and I in front of a mural made of Tiffany glass. It was almost destroyed, but has since been turned into a Landmark. Ron and I are connected via my great great great grandfather Jacob Emrich (he still has the family name of Ron Emrich).

And, of course, Independence Hall:


We looked at a variety of things on our way to the Reading Market. Here are a few photos from the market:



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After some food, we walked over to city hall that was, up until the construction of the Pentagon, was the nation’s largest building. It is HUGE!

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Inside Macy’s, we got to go on a private tour of both the Wurlitzer and the Wanamaker Organs inside the building. First up, a large, but perhaps not ‘mighty’ Wurlitzer organ. They were readying the space for a black-and-white film to be shown this weekend.

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Next, the world’s largest organ: The Wanamaker Organ:

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This shows all the pipes inside the atrium of the Macy’s:


This eagle has been a fixture inside Macy’s since the original Wanamakers store was created. I was told that it is the reason why the Philadelphia Eagles are the Eagles. I have not confirmed this.


This cool mural was on the way back to Ron’s place.


<– Day 25 – Wed. May 23rd: Steel, Strings & Sellersville | Day 27 & Day 28 – Fri/Sat May 25th/26th: What is Happening? –>


5 Comments on “Day 26 – Thursday May 24th: Architecture & Organs

  1. johnfromsc

    Great pics Dave. I know all the places you visited well, having done much business there. Now, you mentioned the Eagles, but not the curse of William Penn?

    City hall is the largest free standing stone atructure in the US and on top is a statue of Wm Penn, overlooking from what was the highest spot in the city for decades.

    When a skyscraper taller than Penn was built, Phila teams stopped winning any championships. This kept going for many years, thus the story of the curse of William Penn.

    When Comcast built their new headquarters building, they put a small statue of Wm Penn in the highest floor, situated to look out over the city, and voila! The next year, Phila won a championship and has gone on from there. Curse broken!

  2. John North Willys

    i’d pay good money if I could play ” whiter shade of pale ” on that pipe-organ

  3. rdjeep

    Glad my closest city looks so good in your pictures! Thank you!!

    I don’t know where you ate in the Terminal Market, but I hope it was Dinic’s Roast Pork. Or maybe the Down Home Diner? The Amish home-cookin’ counter? Hershel’s sandwiches….? Yummmmm, hot pastrami.

    I have the organ tour on my list of things to do, after finding out about it a few years ago. The room where the little organ is located, is interesting too in decor, with the rows of exposed light bulbs. The Christmas display queue wraps through that room. I recall my former neighbor played that beast once, as she new the regular organist personally.

  4. David Eilers Post author

    rdjeep: We settled for the Euros. Dinic’s was packed (as were many other places). Had I seen I earlier, I would have gone for a crepe sandwich…. a hot pastrami sandwich would have been delicious, too.

    I can’t remember which floor the Wurlitzer was on … maybe 4th floor? It was in a locked room. They planned to open it for a showing of black & white movies, though I can’t remember when that was going to be.

    – Dave

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