William Strickland (?). "Masonic Hall Chesnut [sic] St. Philadelphia. Erected A.D. 1813. Destroyed by Fire A.D. 1819."
Philadelphia: Wm. Spink, Wm. Kneass, & Philip R. Engard, 1853. Lithograph. 19 3/8 x 18 1/8. Printed by "D. Chillas, Lith. 50 S. 3rd. Street." Full original hand color. Third State. Tear extending into sky about 1 1/2 inch and tear in bottom margin expertly repaired. Otherwise, very good condition. See Snyder, Mirror of America: 508 for an earlier state; Wainwright: 229. Framed.
Masonic Hall was one of the first and best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the United States. Designed in brick and marble by William Strickland, this striking edifice located on Chestnut Street above Seventh burned in spectacular fashion in 1819 watched by a large crowd of spectators. This print, originally issued in 1813, was reprinted in 1853 by the publishers who were themselves Masons. This was possibly done to celebrate the completion of a new Masonic Hall on the same site. Due to its short history, few prints of this building were made and the only other large print depicts the burning. Even though the artist of this print is unknown, there is no doubt that he was heavily influenced by William Birch, who issued a series of views of Philadelphia a few years earlier. The probable artist is the architect William Strickland.