Architectural salvage places always fascinate me – full of fragments of places that no longer exist, and stories that you can only guess at. Beaty American Salvage, founded by Bob Beaty, is one such place – comfortably tucked away in the rear of a modern warehouse space housing a number of neat local businesses, Beaty American is full of a rotating stock of treasures ranging from antique doors and windows, newel posts, cabinets and lighting fixtures, and other bric-a-brac for those wishing to add the sort of charm to their home that modern mass produced goods rarely afford.
The odds and ends that tend more toward the odd are always the most compelling. Since many abandoned places I photograph wind up getting demolished, sometimes I wind up stumbling across pieces of old friends – on my visit I found old advertisements for the Blue Horizon boxing arena, a huge cast iron phone booth from a Irish bar/restaurant my wife and I visited years ago, and bits from a number of abandoned churches I photographed. Owner/founder Bob Beaty, who also founded Omega Salvage in Berkeley, CA after serving the military in Vietnam before setting up shop in the Philadelphia region, was happy to show off some of the other curios: an incredibly well-kept antique stove with a nifty slot for salt and pepper shakers built in, gorgeous Sanborn fire maps of Philadelphia, and a beautiful coffee table made from roof beams salvaged from the Philadelphia Academy of Music. Much like his wares, Bob has a lot of great stories too, and in an era where nearly everything has been catalogued online, it’s a rare treat to find a place where you never know quite what you’ll find.
Beaty American is open to the public from 10 AM – 5 PM Wednesday through Saturday and 10 AM to 4 PM on Sundays.
Matthew Christopher PA Philadelphia May 19, 2021 Architecture