Art of Running, Part XV.V – The Divine Lorraine

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I know if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” – Nelson Mandela

I posted a picture of a building I see every Monday morning at 5:30 when I run down Broad Street in Philadelphia with my fellow-runners from Back on My Feet. The picture was taken from the backside of the building where a graffiti artist painted “You Go Girl” high above the street. Several people who saw the picture in the Art of Running series asked about it.

Go GirlThe building is the Divine Lorraine Hotel at Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue. The Divine Lorraine is a  late 19th century Victorian that originally opened as the Lorraine Apartments, housing wealthy residents in luxury apartments. It became the Lorraine Hotel in the 1900s, and then in 1948 was bought by Father Divine who renamed it the Divine Lorraine Hotel, the first racially integrated hotel in the city.

The Divine Lorraine Hotel.

The Divine Lorraine Hotel.

The Divine Lorraine Hotel was bought by a developer in 2012 who plans to refurbish the structure, potentially converting it to rental units and a restaurant. Below is a picture of the Divine Lorraine in better days. I look forward to the day it is restored to its original beauty.Divine Lorraine - Better DaysDivine Lorraine - Sign

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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