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  #141  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2015, 4:18 PM
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If Halifax had anything even approaching Penn Station in terms of architectural quality, I would be in the front lines defending it. I have made similar statements here in the past.

The reality is that our typical wooden 2-storey ramshackles deserve to have a proper send off and then be replaced with something better.
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  #142  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2015, 5:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
If Halifax had anything even approaching Penn Station in terms of architectural quality, I would be in the front lines defending it. I have made similar statements here in the past.

The reality is that our typical wooden 2-storey ramshackles deserve to have a proper send off and then be replaced with something better.
I actually quite like our train station, small but quite a good building.
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  #143  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2015, 5:15 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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i actually quite like our train station, small but quite a good building.
x2
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  #144  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2015, 5:29 PM
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Penn Station was a real loss. New York learned from their mistakes, but I'm not sure Halifax has even realized that it has made mistakes much less having learned from them as yet
You are right that the 1963 destruction of Pennsylvania Station, a magnificent beaux-art monument to 20th century progress and mobility, was a tragedy on many levels.

There is room for hope, however. Slow progress continues toward the repurposing of the adjacent Farley Post Office Building as a new head house for Penn Station. Fittingly, the post office, like the original 1910 station, was designed by McKim, Mead & White and was its virtual twin.

The Penn Station tracks run beneath the post office so repurposing it to a rail and transit station is not at all far-fetched though it will not come cheap.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/ny...nnex.html?_r=0

Bringing the project much closer to realization, NYC council voted two years ago that the existing Madison Square Garden, which sits atop today's Penn Station, must be gone by 2023.

http://www.rpa.org/library/pdf/RPA-MAS-Penn-2023.pdf

Halifax's railway station, a much more modest affair, was also designed in beaux-art style by John Smith Archibald and opened in 1928.

Worth noting, for fans of irony, that the original Penn Station was itself an urban renewal project, built on the ruins of the old Manhattan Tenderloin district, derided by the day's civic reformers as a slum and home to all sorts of immorality and vice. No doubt today its destruction would be protested by heritage and civic groups of all sorts.
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  #145  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2015, 5:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JET View Post
I actually quite like our train station, small but quite a good building.
It's OK, hardly anything grand. The article seems to be agitating for legislative protection for anything more than a few decades old. That would be ridiculous.
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  #146  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2015, 2:29 AM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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That looks right, given its vicinity in relation to the harbour.
Looks like the Dartmouth ferry en route to the smart side, and a few minutes from the Halifax dock.
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  #147  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2015, 11:22 AM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
If Halifax had anything even approaching Penn Station in terms of architectural quality, I would be in the front lines defending it. I have made similar statements here in the past.

The reality is that our typical wooden 2-storey ramshackles deserve to have a proper send off and then be replaced with something better.

I have to agree with Keith P.. Along the lines of what Keith P. has stated, tearing down Penn Station would be more akin to tearing down Province House, Government House or City Hall. None of these demolitions has occurred in Halifax.

As far as Scotia Square is concerned, the mistake wasn't in tearing down decrepit buildings but was in creating a superblock of parkades and indoor shopping mall that created an inhospitable pedestrian environment (in my opinion). Some of the old facades along Barrington Street and Argyle Street would have been worthy of saving for nostalgia sake, however, the loss of the street grid was the biggest loss when Scotia Square was torn down.

As well stated by NS_kid: "Worth noting, for fans of irony, that the original Penn Station was itself an urban renewal project, built on the ruins of the old Manhattan Tenderloin district, derided by the day's civic reformers as a slum and home to all sorts of immorality and vice. No doubt today its destruction would be protested by heritage and civic groups of all sorts."
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  #148  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2015, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Came across this pic, but not sure of its exact location.



The photo appears in Cunningham and Artz' book "The Halifax Street Railway: 1866-1949". According to the caption, the photo was taken on Jacob Street c. 1948. And, yes, that is the Dartmouth ferry in the background. I believe the tram has just crossed the Market Street intersection and the photo was taken looking down from Brunswick Street.

The tram is on route 7, which ran from Inglis Street to Almon roughly on a loop. The tram ran only uphill on Jacob Street. The street isn't identified on on the map but other photos in the NS Archives confirm that number 7 trams ran on the street.

http://novascotia.ca/archives/virtua...ves.asp?ID=134

Jacob Street was one block north of Buckingham. It ran between Brunswick and Barrington with a bit of a dog's leg turn at Argyle, which is visible in the Archives photo taken from Grafton Street.

Incidentally, the photo as it appears in Cunningham and Artz' book offers a wider view. The first building on the left, the corner of which is just visible behind the panel truck, housed Maritime Upholstering Limited. The company still exists as Maritime Canvas Converters and Upholstering. The firm was founded in 1947, which helps to confirm the date of the photo.

Last edited by ns_kid; Jun 6, 2015 at 11:42 AM.
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  #149  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2015, 2:19 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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I have to agree with Keith P.. Along the lines of what Keith P. has stated, tearing down Penn Station would be more akin to tearing down Province House, Government House or City Hall. None of these demolitions has occurred in Halifax.[/I]"
We did tear down the Customs House, though!

The outrage over Penn Station wasn't just over that building, of course--Penn Station was a stand-in for heritage in general, including more modest buildings that the city had been losing to urban renewal at a rapid pace--including neighbourhoods in Lower Manhattan and along the edge of the island, as well as in outer boroughs, not much nicer (but as rich with character) as our pre-Cogswell streets.

I think it's pretty widely accepted in the planning profession that retaiing heritage fabric is and aesthetically and economically/culturally beneficial, and is more than about just making sure a few landmarks stick around--it's about weaving a large amount of the existing built fabric into the modern city.

The key is what balance to strike. Some do indeed want to see every single old stick preserved; other don't care if everything but a handful of landmarks is torn down and replaced. I think most of us fall in the middle.
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  #150  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2015, 2:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ns_kid View Post
The Penn Station tracks run beneath the post office so repurposing it to a rail and transit station is not at all far-fetched though it will not come cheap.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/ny...nnex.html?_r=0

Bringing the project much closer to realization, NYC council voted two years ago that the existing Madison Square Garden, which sits atop today's Penn Station, must be gone by 2023.

http://www.rpa.org/library/pdf/RPA-MAS-Penn-2023.pdf
Good Lord, Cablevision spent nearly a billion dollars renovating the entire seating bowl and concurses of MSG, and had spent most of it by the time this was voted on! And now it has to be torn down and a new plot of land (tons of those in Manhattan, I hear...) has to be found for a new arena in eight years??

If they are working on turning the Farley building into the main plaza for Penn Station, then why the fuss to reclaim a grand building on its current plot?

Fun bit of irony - since the creation of the Garden led to the Landmarks Preservation Commission - is that MSG is now quite the landmark in its own right. "The World's Most Famous Arena" has now been around for 47 years and was undeniably the most unique major sports facility in North America. It was more like watching a game in a movie theatre because of how dimly lit the main seating areas are. Now, with the aforementioned renovations, it is more like Any Arena Anywhere USA. Or, at least, looks that way to me.

So the Landmarks commission is allowing a landmark to be torn down because a previous grand building was torn down before it, so a new "landmark" can be built in its place?


As for how this relates to Halifax, the Explosion unfortunately laid waste to most of the grand buildings that were built here in that era. It's easy to suggest the North St. Station would have been demolished and replaced with something unremarkable had it survived into the 1960's, especially since big, bad, modern New York City was doing it at the time.
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  #151  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2015, 3:03 PM
ILoveHalifax ILoveHalifax is online now
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
We did tear down the Customs House, though!



The key is what balance to strike. Some do indeed want to see every single old stick preserved; other don't care if everything but a handful of landmarks is torn down and replaced. I think most of us fall in the middle.
It is all about perspective. I consider myself in the middle and you, Mr Drybrain, one of the stick people. Anybody who would like to have saved the slums pre Scotia Square are stick people.
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  #152  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2015, 4:20 PM
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Originally Posted by curnhalio View Post
Good Lord, Cablevision spent nearly a billion dollars renovating the entire seating bowl and concurses of MSG, and had spent most of it by the time this was voted on! And now it has to be torn down and a new plot of land (tons of those in Manhattan, I hear...) has to be found for a new arena in eight years??

If they are working on turning the Farley building into the main plaza for Penn Station, then why the fuss to reclaim a grand building on its current plot?
Typical dysfunctional NYC politics. There was a plan to relocate the Garden elsewhere and create a modern Penn Station on the existing site from around 2007 or so, but the 2008 recession scuttled that. So Dolan invested nearly a billion on renovating the Garden in place, only to be hit with this. Even Bloomberg, not the most reasonable of mayors, wanted a 15 year permit issued, but the crazies prevailed and he got 10.

That document you referenced offers up a couple of alternate sites for a new Garden, but of course it all depends on money. The existing MSG always struck me as a poorly-designed space both in terms of the arena and of course in terms of the subterranean station, though at the time it was built, nobody was using the old Penn Station much. That has now changed with commuter traffic.
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  #153  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2015, 1:03 AM
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As for how this relates to Halifax, the Explosion unfortunately laid waste to most of the grand buildings that were built here in that era. It's easy to suggest the North St. Station would have been demolished and replaced with something unremarkable had it survived into the 1960's, especially since big, bad, modern New York City was doing it at the time.
Interesting to speculate on this for sure. It's doubtful North Street Station would have survived to the 60s. In fact it would almost certainly have been lost to the naval dockyard by WWII had it survived that long.

Of course the building's fate as a train station was sealed long before the explosion. The south-end Ocean Terminals and new union station were planned much earlier. Excavation of the rail cut began in 1913 and was completed just weeks before the disaster. i don't know if there was a plan for repurposing or demolition of North Street by then but my bet would be on the latter.
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  #154  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2015, 3:38 AM
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Interesting to speculate on this for sure. It's doubtful North Street Station would have survived to the 60s. In fact it would almost certainly have been lost to the naval dockyard by WWII had it survived that long.

Of course the building's fate as a train station was sealed long before the explosion. The south-end Ocean Terminals and new union station were planned much earlier. Excavation of the rail cut began in 1913 and was completed just weeks before the disaster. i don't know if there was a plan for repurposing or demolition of North Street by then but my bet would be on the latter.
The old pier 2/3 next to the casino were not merged into the naval dockyard until the 60's, so it's likely the north street staion could have survived.

The existing subterranean pen station is actully original from the demolished building. There are still ruminants of some of the old stairs on the concourse. Only the top sides were rebuilt. The track layout is actully still largely unchanged
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  #155  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2015, 11:09 AM
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The old pier 2/3 next to the casino were not merged into the naval dockyard until the 60's, so it's likely the north street staion could have survived.
Right you are. The railway lands between the dockyard and Barrington Street remained largely intact until being paved over in the early 70's.

Of course we are overlooking that the site of the former station, at the northeast corner of Barrington and North, was occupied by a bridge pier when the Macdonald bridge rose over the site starting in 1952. It's also true that the King Edward Hotel, built on the opposite side of Barrington Street, was taken over by the Navy in WWII and demolished by them in 1946.



The photo is from an 1897 book called "Halifax of Today" by W.H. Howard. It shows both the Second Empire style head house and the massive glass-roofed train shed that collapsed with such deadly effect in the Explosion.

The photo predates the construction of the King Edward Hotel in 1903, and the covered stairway that joined it to the station on the west (left) side of the station. Both are visible in the postcard view that is perhaps the best-known image of the station. The hotel survived both the Explosion and an earlier 1911 fire.



It's also interesting to reflect on curnhalio's assertion that, "the Explosion unfortunately laid waste to most of the grand buildings that were built here in that era."

While buildings all over the city were damaged in the disaster, the worst destruction was in the so-called "devastated area", including the Richmond district north of North Street. The mostly working-class area lost factories, churches, schools and homes. Many were interesting structures to be sure, but I don't think most would be described as "grand" in the architectural sense, excepting the ICR terminal.

Anyone with more historical knowledge of the area have other examples of lost "grand" structures in Richmond?

Last edited by ns_kid; Jun 7, 2015 at 11:25 AM.
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  #156  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2015, 11:34 AM
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The existing subterranean pen station is actully original from the demolished building. There are still ruminants of some of the old stairs on the concourse.
I expect you were thinking of the remnants of the old stairs. I haven't noticed any cows grazing on my recent visits to Penn Station.
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  #157  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2015, 2:18 AM
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I expect you were thinking of the remnants of the old stairs. I haven't noticed any cows grazing on my recent visits to Penn Station.
Ops. Autocorrect
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  #158  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2015, 7:47 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Excellent posts, ns_kid, very well researched and stated.

An interesting exercise regarding the Intercolonial station at the bottom of North Street. I do think that (if it had survived the explosion) the bridge might have been diverted around the station if the station was still in use and considered viable in the fifties. It's possible that the street network at the time would have been a little different if the station had remained there. It's hard to say, though, with the urban renewal mentality that was going around at the time.

I concur regarding the explosion damage. One must remember that most severe damage happened in the north end and Dartmouth. The land features at Fort Needham helped divert the force of the explosion upwards, thus reducing impact on a lot of the areas behind it. Also, the lay of the land spared downtown from such devasation.



source of image

While I find the Penn Station situation to be interesting and significant, I think some posters are missing the mark when stating that Halifax didn't have anything as grand, so therefore anything "less grand" was not worth saving. Of course Halifax didn't have anything of the calibre of Penn Station - it's NYC after all - very few cities had infrastructure/buildings like NYC back in the early 20th century.

I think the significant point is protecting built heritage, structures that are significant to the city and the history of the city. Halifax isn't NYC, so it's built heritage is understandably more modest, but still significant to Halifax.

I think Halifax did in fact have some significant structures lost, whether it be from the wrecking ball or accidental loss, but I feel they were significant regardless.

If I were to muse a little on the buildings that I think would make our city a little more interesting visually if they still existed and were still in use, they would include (not in any order):

The Capitol Theatre on Barrington at the bottom of Spring Garden.


Source of photo

Old post office (?) which was on the corner of Lower Water and George St., next to the Dominion Public Building.







The old police station/market on the corner of Duke and Brunswick.



source





Pentagon building from earlier in this thread:



Saint Paul's parish house.



http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...143037&page=18

The 3 buildings that now form the empty lot on the corner of Barrington and George, just above the Dennis building.





Any of the old arches along Lower Water Street.



In my opinion, all of these structures would blend well into the current urban thread of the downtown and help to make it more interesting visually.


Last edited by OldDartmouthMark; Jun 8, 2015 at 8:41 PM.
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  #159  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2016, 3:17 PM
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Cityscape: Halifax Hydrostone District a Blast from the Past


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While the Canadian Maritimes have long been synonymous with a tranquil colourful aesthetic featuring pastel-coloured clapboard homes and churches framed against a scenic rocky coast, there remains a significant exception to this rule left behind by the Halifax Explosion of 1917, which was by far the worst manmade disaster in Canadian history. This edition of Cityscape will take an in-depth look at Halifax's famed Hydrostone District, ground zero for the reconstruction that took place in the immediate wake of the explosion, and the birthplace of Nova Scotia's only known example of the Garden City Movement from the turn of the last century.
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  #160  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2016, 6:58 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Nice article. Thanks for posting.
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