7.1 th..Post..Earles…Mystery Revealed
Posted on: February 9th, 2014 by dan 24 Comments

Sept. 2013:  UPDATE

It has been awhile since I pursued researching  of  Earles Galleries once  located 816 Chestnut Street, in Phila.   Today I felt good and thought that I might try again.  I went back.  I had in mind that they, GOT THE LOOK, just might allow me to drill a couple small holes in the walls on the second floor large enough so I might get a look inside.      I brought my camera and a light.   I left my equipment in my car.  No such luck. 

GOT THE LOOK   had recently lost the LOOK   and lost their lease.  They are no longer a tenant.

I looked in, the building was empty except for several well dressed men looking around.    Knowing that I would get nowhere with them, I just hung around.  Having eaten, I went back.  The door was unlocked and I entered.   A small light in the back revealed one man.  I approached and introduced myself.  He was an Hispanic   named Jim……    I spoke with him for some time, he was  eating his lunch.   He seemed to be very pleasant.   He told me that the building was going to be refurbished for a medical facility.   I told him of my research.  I explained the importance of the old business records, of Earles Galleries,   if the records still existed.

He then explained to me the layout of the building.    There was a back second floor above where we stood.   There was also a passage along the one wall that lead to the front second floor. He further assured there was nothing on the second floor, the floors were cleaned.    He further told me of the private Asian Message Club that now  occupies the second floor rear.  The entrance was located at the back  of the building  which would be at 813  Samson street.

The conversation went on and I learned that 8 years ago when the Asian Message Club was signing  a lease they requested the the whole second floor be cleaned, even the area they  would not be occupying .  As good business men the owners wanted the property rented.  The owners to appease their future new tenant  had a dumpster brought in  an assigned one man to   haul out and dump all the boxes containing  the  business records of  Earles Galleries into the dumpster.  That day,  a lot of historical records were lost in that dumpster.

( I was right about the records being in the building, I was just 8 years too late.)

Our conversation continued and Jim...told me  of an event that took place with one of the Princesses of the Asian Message Club.

Years before (depression years ) the second floor and the  floors above had a staircase at the front of the building facing Chestnut Street.  At some point in time, probably when Horn Hardart Automat, 818-22  Chestnut Street  came on the scene and occupied the second floor  center of the building, 816 Chestnut Street,  for their rest rooms and blocked the use of the front and back portions, the building, had already been  reduced to two floors.  The second  floor  no longer needed the staircase.  The stair case was removed, the first floor was enlarged,  and a dropped ceiling was then installed  on the first floor ( however someone forgot to close off the stairwell ).

Well this Asian Princess took a work break and for some unknown reason decided to walk around in the closed off section of the building.   There are no lights in this area but   maybe she wanted it dark, who knows what she was up to.  Well this Princess stepped into the open area of the floor.  She went through the open floor, through the dropped ceiling and  then  through the display counter ,  a good twenty/twenty-five foot drop,   landing  in the closed store below.  She broke her leg in a couple places and had plenty of cuts and bruises.

 Jim . was the man who closed off the open floor.  Nobody wanted that to happen again.  I understand there was also a lock change  for the entrance door.  

 ( I wonder if she got Workmen’s Compensation during her recovery time. )

The entrance to the Asian Message Club is at 813 Samson Street, which is the back of 816 Chestnut Street.   I have some pictures that I am trying to upload but I am having s little problem.  I will get it.







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