Julio H. Rae. Plate 1. [South side of Chestnut Street, at top, from the corner of Second Street to middle of the block]. From Rae’s Philadelphia Pictorial Directory & Panoramic Advertiser. Chestnut Street, from Second to Tenth Streets.
Philadelphia: J.H. Rae, 1851. 8 1/4 x 12 1/4 (image). Lithograph. Faint foxing in image. Else, very good condition. Very scarce. Prints of Philadelphia: 174. A/A
North side: The Bank Commerce Bank building depicted in the image still stands as the The Constitution House; the J.G. Falconer building on the corner of Strawberry Street depicted in the print stills stands today housing two small restaurants.
One of sixteen plates from a most unusual and scarce advertising volume devised by Julio Rae. Rae designed the series of prints so each would show a view of the buildings on both sides of Chestnut Street with the southern side of the street at top and the northern side at bottom. The only exception is Plate 15 with the north side at top. The “panorama” ran from Second to Tenth Street and each structure along the street was precisely depicted. Where any buildings rose higher than would fit onto a page, Rae added a folding tab to accommodate the upper parts of the structure. Facing each print was a page for advertisements. Any merchant that purchased a space not only received a display on that page, but their shop was identified by name and product on the street scene. This work is of particular interest, for Chestnut was the prime shopping street in Philadelphia at the time. Rae intended to issue an updated edition every year and also to produce a similar work on Market Street, but this was the only volume published. Although the venture was not a financial success for Rae, it provides us with a detailed and rare look at the shops on Chestnut Street in the mid 19th century.