“Zinc Sculpture in America, 1850-1950” by Carol A. Grissom states that the brothers who founded the Bureau Brothers Bronze Foundry were French-born Edouard and Achille Bureau, who originally worked for another company that produced work installed in Central Park in New York. In the 1870s they formed their own business at 21st St and Allegheny Ave. and by 1913 had moved to the location at 23rd and Westmoreland St. The Bureau Bros. Foundry produced fountains, statues and memorials, window guards, balcony railings, mausoleum doors and fittings, gates, and more and employed many talented and reputable artists. Their work was purchased and used in the greater Philadelphia area including Laurel Hill Cemetery, in statues and inscription tablets at Gettysburg, at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, PA, as well as many other locations. A 1913 ad for their work provides several examples of their wares.
Later the Foundry was purchased by John P. Kelly, although little information about this period exists. The foundry was in an odd condition when I found it – it had just been purchased by Philadelphia Salvage and a previous lessee had been using it to hoard a massive amount of pianos and various other miscellany for over two decades. The pianos were in varying states of decrepitude but the foundry itself was in excellent condition, with hundreds of wooden patterns and a fully intact belt system and overhead rails for moving bronze work. Thanks to Chris Stock, I was able to hold a photo open house with music, food, beer, and about 30 photographers who traveled to capture the space before the pianos were removed and Chris Stock turned the space into a storage facility for Philadelphia Salvage’s wares. Their photographs from the event are here.
The future of the building, sans pianos, is bright: now cleaned out, Stock maintains it as the home of his salvage business and it is open to members of the public interested in checking out his amazing vintage finds. For information on visiting go to www.philadelphiasalvage.com/
Matthew Christopher PA Philadelphia Nov 17, 2021 History