PAFA’s first two buildings, both white marble structures in the neo-classical style, stood on Chestnut Street between Tenth and Eleventh Streets.
The first building opened to the public in the spring of 1806. Designed by John Dorsey, an amateur architect and a member of PAFA’s board, the building had a domed rotunda about fifty feet in diameter. Over the doorway was a wooden American eagle almost certainly carved by William Rush. This structure was enlarged in 1810 with a north gallery for expanded exhibition space. By 1823 a library and a statue gallery had been added. This structure was almost completely destroyed in a fire in 1845.
What does the area look like now? Take a look! View from Chestnut Street and 11th Street looking down towards 10th Street.
Continue exploring the history of PAFA's buildings: