Prior to our day trip, Larry had some knowledge of an abandoned hotel in Pennsylvania. Driving through Philly, we happened to find it right on the outskirts of the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia’s metropolis, in North Philadelphia.
Boarded up, surrounded by chain-link fences, and covered in less than artistic graffiti, The Divine Lorraine Hotel still stands, with magnificent and under-appreciated (by the residence) architecture. The divine Lorraine Hotel was built between 1892 and 94 by Willis G. Hale, and was once known as the Lorraine Apartments, in 1990 it became The Lorraine Hotel. By 1948, it was sold to Father Divine, who converted it into the first hotel to be racially integrated in Philadelphia, and renamed it The Divine Lorraine Hotel, for obvious reasons. The hotel was one of the first high rises in the city, most buildings at the time only standing 3 or 4 stories high, the Divine Lorraine was 10 floors. Once under ownership of Father Divine, floor one became a restaurant and kitchen and the top floor being a place of worship. In 2002, the hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places, for both architecture and civil rights. In 1999 the hotel closed for good and was sold 7 years later to be converted back to apartments, only to be sold again in 2012 in auction to a developer planning to turn it into rental units and a restaurant. The liens that needed to be paid off were well over $8 million, and when we visited this past summer (2013) it hadn’t looked as though any new reconstruction had begun.