Photographic exploration of the abandoned Divine Lorraine Hotel located at the corner of Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue in North Philadelphia on October 26, 2010.

The first non-segregated hotel in the United States was built between 1892 and 1894 and has been abandoned since 1999. Once a grand structure that was home to the city’s visitors in its first life,  and later to Father Divine’s Universal Peace Mission Movement cult, the ten-story relic is now home to its final guest “Philly D” who is a homeless gentleman who occupies the top floor. While most of its history has been reduced to rubble, including the walls, a grand piano, and other artwork, a haunting presence of a boom era for North Philadelphia, during which residents flocked to the city for its industrial wealth opportunities, remains on the vacant yet structurally sound floors. According to NPR, Philadelphia has about 26,000 abandoned homes and the city tears down 1000 unsalvageable structures each year. The Divine Lorraine Hotel is one of the few that is in transition from derelict to redeveloped since it was purchased by Michael Treacy Jr. in 2006. He hopes to transform the space from a graffiti-garnished structure into low income housing. Future plans for the building are to “Free Da Hood” as requested by an anonymous graffiti artist who made a statement on the exterior of the brick beauty on Broad Street.

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