The Burk Mansion and Preservation

Yesterday, our class had the pleasure of visiting the Burk Mansion. Unfortunately we didn’t get to go in, but we still got to get pretty close and take a closer look through the fence. The mansion was adorned with classical greek style pillars and wrought iron. It was built in the Italian Renaissance Style in 1906. Burk’s mansion is rather ginormous containing twenty-seven rooms, seven bathrooms, and even a conservatory. After Burk passed away in 1921, his sisters held control over the house until 1945 when the Upholsterer’s International Union bought the property. It was owned by the UIU until 1970 when Temple University acquired the mansion. It was used for educational purposes and even a daycare until a fire in the 1990’s caused the property to become abandoned. To this day the mansion still stands and has been marked as a historical site on Temple’s campus.

In the picture above, as Nate unknowingly photobomb the picture, one can see the detailed architecture of the building in that green limestone exterior. Along with the architecture, there is the ornate wrought iron fence. The building is very beautiful and it brings up an important issue in public history and preservation as a whole. Many times, companies, universities, and other influential and rich organizations can buy an old property, wait for it to be condemned, and then bulldoze it in order to erect new and improved buildings like offices or living spaces. This is a huge problem because old important historic sites that tell us a lot about our past are being bought and demolished in order to make a pretty penny. The Burk mansion is a building that is currently being preserved but who knows what will happen in the future.

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