Wayne S. Spilove

Grumman Greenhouse, a repurposed Cold War submarine bomber, is installed at Lenfest Plaza October 18-21, 2011

(October 2011) - Grumman Greenhouse, a repurposed Cold War submarine bomber, designed by local Philadelphia sculptor Jordan Griska, will be installed at Lenfest Plaza October 18-21, 2011. Griska was commissioned and paid an honorarium by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) to design the sculpture to be located at the west end of the Lenfest Plaza. Grumman Greenhouse, a decommissioned Grumman S2F Tracker, will rest in Griska’s signature origami’d fashion and the repurposed plane will function as an active greenhouse. The Grumman Greenhouse was ushered to completion by Wayne S. Spilove and could not have been completed without the guidance and generous support of donors Richard Vague, Chris Prahbu, private aviator Charlie Chase and Squirrel, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Philadelphia Fire Department, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Boilermakers Union, and Stoof veterans Ed and Nails. The Philadelphia Salon, a local advocacy group dedicated to supporting local artists, managed the project.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) Provides William Penn Bible for Corbett Inauguration and Public Exhibit

(Philadelphia, PA – January 18, 2011) – William Penn's 1698 family Bible will be used in the swearing-in ceremony at tomorrow’s inauguration of Governor-elect Tom Corbett after it was made available through the coordinated efforts of several historical institutions working together behind the scenes led by the PHMC, its Chairman Wayne Spilove announced today.  After the ceremony, the Penn bible will be held at the State Archives and presented to the public at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in March.

William Penn BibleSpilove stated, “PHMC Executive Director Barbara Franco received the request from the Corbett Transition team for the William Penn Bible and in turn contacted its owner, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP).  Thanks to the harmonious cooperation of everyone involved, particularly that of HSP President and CEO Kim Sajet, the new governor will take the oath on this historic bible and the public will be able to get a rare look at the artifact.”

The PHMC, whose theme for 2011 is “Religion in Pennsylvania,” will present the bible to the public at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg in March along with other William Penn artifacts prior to returning it to HSP.

State Archivist David Haury will accompany the William Penn Bible – last used in an inauguration ceremony over 30 years ago by Governor Dick Thornburgh – to the inauguration and from there to the State Archives where it will remain until it is then transported to the State Museum of Pennsylvania and finally returned to HSP. Kim Sajet commented, “Together with PHMC and others, HSP seeks to work across the state to support all of the rich history and heritage organizations that exist to educate our citizens, engage our visitors, and inform our ambitions.” Sajet received the request and was able to gain the support of her board of directors and respond affirmatively to PHMC within 24 hours.

Wayne Spilove stated, “It’s important for Pennsylvanians to know how hard their historians and archivists work to make the rich history of our Commonwealth come to life. Swiftly borrowing and transporting priceless artifacts is no easy feat, and I applaud the efforts of the members of PHMC and HSP who understand the social and historical value of employing these artifacts in public life.”

Photo Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania


Letters: Artifacts aren't 'missing,' but they do face a threat

Philadelphia Inquirer
Posted on Tue, Nov. 9, 2010

Re: "1,800 Pa. historic artifacts missing," Oct. 29: Coverage of the state auditor general's report on the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission collections generated sensational headlines but missed the point. The story is not "missing" artifacts. The story is the urgent need to fund a modern inventory-control and environmental system. Consider these facts: Reports of missing items were based on an out-of-date 1998 list that was presented to PHMC on the day of the report's release. Locations for 400 items have already been confirmed. Many of the others are reproductions, not original artifacts. Sculptures reported as being sold online were not Pennsylvania's. Locations for the other items will be confirmed (most in various county museums and government offices), although it will take additional weeks of staff time. The real issue is that PHMC's budget has been cut in half since 2006, with staff reduced by 48 percent. One casualty of these devastating cuts has been funding to convert to a single electronic inventory system for all our collections, which number 4.5 million items. We welcome many of the report's suggestions, and are committed to the best stewardship even in difficult fiscal times. But the real question is whether the governor, legislature, and citizens of Pennsylvania care enough about their heritage to provide the resources to preserve it.

Wayne Spilove, Chairman
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20101109_Letters__Artifacts_aren_t__missing___but_they_do_face_a_threat.html#ixzz14oXlur3r

State historical commission seeks to block Church of the Assumption demolition

October 1, 2010

By Alan Jaffe
For PlanPhilly

(PlanPhilly intern Kimberley Richards contributed to this article)

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has entered the battle over the fate of the Church of the Assumption, with its chairman Wayne Spilove vowing to do whatever he can to ensure that the building survives.

Spilove, a prominent developer in the Rittenhouse Square area and a former chair of the Philadelphia Historical Commission, this week wrote a letter to Siloam, the social service agency that owns the church, stating that state funds provided to the church in 2007 should be used for finding a way to restore, not demolish, the historic building.

Meanwhile, the Callowhill Neighborhood Association has filed an appeal to the Board of Licenses & Inspections Review to overturn the Sept. 10 vote of the PHC to allow Siloam to raze the church building based on financial hardship. Siloam, which provides services for people living with HIV/AIDS, has said it does not have the $5 million required to restore the church, or even the $1.5 million estimated it would take to stabilize the structure for future renovation. The Callowhill civic group expects to learn in four to six weeks when the hearing will take place.

According to Spilove, the PHC should have “tabled it, talked about it and explored other possibilities” for the church at the two-and-a-half-hour hearing last month, when the commission voted 6-5 to grant the owner’s application for demolition. It had voted in May 2009 to list the church on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

The Church of the Assumption was designed and built in 1848-49 by the most prolific ecclesiastical architect in the U.S. at the time, Patrick Charles Keely. It also has strong historic and religious significance involving two individuals who were canonized by the Catholic Church. John Neumann consecrated the Church of the Assumption and Katharine Drexel was baptized there.

For a church to have historic connections to two saints is extremely unusual, Spilove said in an interview today. “Also, the building is gorgeous. When we saved the Eastern State Penitentiary we heard the same things about the building – that it was unstable and there was no life in it. It’s 15 years later, and that building is still making money” through tours and holiday events.

“With what’s going on around the city, along Spring Garden Street and North Broad Street, you have an asset with that church building that could never be duplicated. That area could pop as soon as federal stimulus money becomes available,” Spilove said. “That church should not come down. We think it should be on the National Register of Historic Places. With its architecture and what took place there, it falls into the criteria.”

In the letter to Siloam Executive Director Joseph Lukach, Spilove wrote that the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission must be “consulted on the design and proposed location of any project, building or other undertaking financed in whole or in part by Commonwealth funds, which may affect the preservation and development of a district, site or building listed on or eligible for the Pennsylvania Register of Historic Places. (By PHMC policy, the National Register of Historic Places serves as a the Pennsylvania Register.)”

The letter also states that the “primary consideration in all Commonwealth investments is: Redevelop First.”

“Any Commonwealth funding that has been provided to Siloam in the past or it may receive in the future related to the church should be used for seeking and planning for alternative uses for this building and maintaining it until another use can be found. Demolition of this building does not benefit the neighborhood or the city.

“Commonwealth funding priority should be for preservation not demolition. The granting of public funds to demolish this historic building is contrary to the laws of Pennsylvania,” the letter says.

In 2007, Siloam received $300,000 from the state Department of Community and Economic Development for “abandoned building demolition.”

Andrew Palewski, who wrote the nominating letter that earned local historic designation for the church, said Siloam has spent $140,000 on asbestos removal, bird-fouling removal, and interior demolition, leaving about $160,000. Palewski, who has championed the preservation of the building at the historical commission hearings, said Siloam was obligated to return the funds to the state because it had missed the deadlines to use the money.

Lukach did not return a request for comment.

Siloam has received an estimate of $164,000 to demolish the church building, Siloam attorney Kevin R. Boyle said at the Sept. 10 hearing.

John Gallery, executive director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, said the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission had not been aware that DCED had provided a grant to demolish the building. Gallery said he informed the PHMC of the grant and noted that is against the law to use the remaining money without consulting with the state commission.

“Unfortunately, the commission has no teeth,” Gallery said. “DCED can ignore that if they want to. But we’re hoping that DCED would recognize that this is a serious policy issue to use state money to demolish a historic building and would not allow their remaining funds to be used for that purpose.

“The letter is very important because it very strongly states PHMC’s concern, and hopefully it will have some effect.”

If DCED informs Siloam that the state funds can’t be used for demolition, Siloam would have to find the money from another source.


Contact the writer at ajaffe@planphilly.com.



Lights of Liberty

(September 2010) Wayne Spilove, Chairman of the Board of Historic Philadelphia Inc. (HPI), and HPI President and CEO Amy Needle today unveil the much-anticipated, new 3-D multi-media adventure complementing the outdoor Lights of Liberty experience in the Peco Theater. The new special presentation features a 360-degree 150-ft long screen welcoming visitors into history - a fantastic voyage that includes standing shoulder-to-shoulder alongside Benjamin Franklin in Independence Hall. Wayne Spilove, who also serves the Commonwealth in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, worked closely with the diverse group of partners to shepherd the project through to completion, including financially supporting a portion of the project with his personal assets.


15th Annual Preservation Awards- Grand Jury Award

1906 Spruce Street

Wayne Spilove:: Preservation Achievement Award-winning 1906 Spruce StreetWhen developer Wayne Spilove decided to make improvements to his property at 1906 Spruce Street and convert some of its apartments to condominiums, he chose to also restore the property's historical 19th-sentury appearance, which had been "radically modernized." The ornate brownstone entry and original window sash had been removed circa 1960, and much of the architectural ornament broken off and replaced with a flat modernist facade of polished granite panels and aluminum ribbon windows.

Project architects Campbell Thomas & Co. found photos at the Philadelphia City Archives of 1906 Spruce Street before the modernist alterations. Working primarily with these photographs and what could be discerned from the remnants of the damaged brownstone and existing masonry detailing that remained, CTC created a new facade elevation within the constraints of the modified, street-level entry location, that restores much of the original detailing of the magnificent 19th-Century facade.

The entire first level of the facade had to be reconstructed without disturbing the upper three floors of the masonry facade. Great care was taken to find replacement brick that closely matched the existing brick on the upper floors, as well as cut-stone to match the existing trim. The sandstone used to recreate the first floor facade trim came from Ontario. Other restoration work included a custom mahogany front entry door, side-lights, and transom; reproduction wooden window sash; repairs to the upper-floor masonry; and a historically appropriate paint scheme.

As the job progressed, CTC's scope of work was increased to include development of a design treatment for the first level of the interior lobby. CTC developed a treatment for the first level of the interior lobby that, while somewhat more contemporary, incorporates such traditional elements as an oak stair with wood rail and balusters, and a wood panel wainscot.


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