Wayne Spilove’s Legacy in Historic Preservation
Wayne Spilove has an impressive list of achievements in historic preservation that ensured Philadelphia’s historic character would continue to be a source of pride for the city. His leadership on civic and community boards and commissions, detailed here, was recognized at the time by then-Governor Edward Rendell, then-Mayor John Street, and then-City Council President Anna Verna, among others.
The major achievements noted below took place during Mr. Spilove’s tenure as Chairman of the Philadelphia Historical Commission (1992-2001).
Three Philadelphia neighborhoods designation and protection
During Mr. Spilove’s tenure, Philadelphia’s Historic Preservation Ordinance protected three historic communities from inappropriate exterior alterations or unnecessary demolitions that could have destroyed their historic architectural styles.
Tiffany Glass “Dream Garden” Mural protection
Constructed in 1916 by the Tiffany Studios, based on a Maxfield Parrish painting, this work of art comprises 100,000 pieces of colored glass that produce the effect of an oil painting. It was installed in the lobby of the Curtis Publishing Company building. During Mr. Spilove’s tenure, a legal battle hinged on whether the mosaic was entitled to the same protection as historic architecture. Mr. Spilove led a years-long struggle to save “Dream Garden” and ensure it would remain at its original site.
Philadelphia’s City Hall preservation and restoration
Built in 1871-1901 in the French Second-Empire style, this huge granite structure had suffered from lack of funds for maintenance as well as periods of neglect and vandalism. Under Mr. Spilove’s leadership, an extensive $100 million restoration project was initiated through public and private support.
Reading Terminal Market preservation and enhancement
This exceptional building was threatened with demolition during construction of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, hotel and transportation complex. Mr. Spilove provided leadership and oversight for its redesign and restoration, which included refurbishment of the traditional farmer’s market at the street level. Its upper level train shed was expanded and connected to the Convention Center.
Ridgeway Library preservation & reuse
This library building was designed by Addison Hutton and built in the style of Greece’s Parthenon. It is located on the city’s “Avenue of the Arts.” During Mr. Spilove’s tenure, it was rejuvenated and converted into the Philadelphia High School for the Performing Arts.
Victory Building preservation
Philadelphia’s first commercial building was built in 1873 in the Second Empire style and altered in the 1890s. During Mr. Spilove’s tenure, it was saved from demolition after decades of neglect. It has since been renovated for retail, commercial and residential usage.
Independence Hall preservation
In this national shrine, the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the National Constitution was drafted. During Mr. Spilove’s tenure, the building required and received a series of major upgrades of its mechanical and electrical systems, including the installation of a new HVAC system to provide a 21st century climate control.