025 Karen Schmidt


In the mid-late 80s, my husband and I both worked in the declining
printing district of Philadelphia, the area around the Reading
Terminal, north of Market Street, that was in the process of being
demolished for the new Convention Center. My husband worked at a printing company at 12th and Cherry Street that was being displaced. The company I worked for was still hanging on, since it was on the north side of Race Street, just out of the range of the wrecking ball. Across from the Reading Terminal Market, there was an old, derelict hotel on the northwest corner of 12th and Market: the Bond Hotel. Even though it had fallen into disrepair, we would both marvel at the curved bay windows and whimsical faces carved into the facade. We knew it was only a matter of time before this building would be razed and forgotten. My adventurous husband decided to sneak into the building and have a look around. He salvaged some souvenir room numbers, still elegant even though the plastic was cracked and yellowing. They’re a reminder of the not-quite-grand hotel that was once bustling with travelers from the Reading Terminal, stopping in a constantly moving and changing city.

(An aside note: the printing company my husband, Greg Cowper, owned, Acme Addressing, relocated to 3245 Amber Street [your neighbor!], and was there until 2007.)

Let me know if you’d like this artifact for your project, and I’ll
send it. It’s a great idea for an exhibit, and I’d be happy to