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Frank Furness: Train Station Architect

I was taking the train from NYC last month (so relaxing) and reading Amtrak's magazine when a short little blurb on architect Frank Furness grabbed my attention. With the article was a picture of this pretty station in Wilmington, Delaware:
The station was completed in 1908 and was part of a major upgrade by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. This year the Friends of Furness are celebrating the station's 100th anniversary. The original 1908 renovation included raised tracks to eliminate dangerous foot and pedestrian crossings (good idea). The design had to support the weight of the tracks and trains above the concourse level and to do this Furness built a grid of steel columns and truss work that was left exposed. I wish I could find pictures of the interior, guess I'll just have to pass through someday. I love train stations, the hustle and bustle and romantic idea of travel that doesn't include a pat down or security check.

I tried to find out more about Furness and his work on different train stations but have come up a little empty handed. Via that A1 source of information
Wikipedia, I found the following: "During his career, Furness designed over four hundred buildings including banks, churches, synagogues, railway stations for the Pennsylvania and Baltimore & Ohio railroads, and numerous stone mansions in Philadelphia and along Philadelphia's Main Line, as well as a handful of commissioned houses at the New Jersey seashore, Washington, D.C., New York state, and Chicago, Illinois." I did also find out that there is a biography about Furness and a collection of his works that I'll have to add to my reading list. Until then, happy and relaxing travels to you.


ofifteen said...

very nice station, the photograph is great.Thank you for sharing

'designing your life'

Anonymous said...


Furness has always been one of my favorite architects - thanks for the post!

I spent many hours at the Furness Library at Penn (which made a cameo in the movie "Philadelphia") because it was the library for my program. It was a "beyond beautiful" building that was always a pleasure to study in.


Mario said...

Always great to see interest in the mad genius Furness! Here is a list of all the known Frank Furness train stations that still exist:

Reading RR:
Gravers Lane, Philadelphia, PA (SEPTA R7)
Mount Airy, Philadelphia, PA (SEPTA R7)
Rydal, Montgomery Co., PA SEPTA R3
Bethayres, Montgomery Co., PA (SEPTA R3)
Langhorne*, Bucks Co., PA (SEPTA R3)
Gwynedd Valley, Montgomery Co., PA (SEPTA R5)
Sunbury, Northumberland Co., PA (Tracks Abandoned, Station converted to architect's office)
Manheim, Lancaster Co., PA (Local History Museum)
East Petersburg, Lancaster Co., PA (Moved, to Strasburg RR, name changed to East Strasburg)
Tamaqua RR Division Office, Schuylkill Co., PA (RBM&N RR Office)
Watchman's Box at Catawissa, Columbia Co., PA
Lititz, Lancaster Co., PA (Reproduction, Lititz Springs Park)

Pennsylvania Railroad
Wilmington Station, New Castle Co, DE (SEPTA R2 & Amtrak)
Wilmington PRR Office Building, New Castle Co., DE (ING Direct offices)
Lansdowne, Delaware Co., PA (SEPTA R3)
Riderwood, Baltimore Co., MD (Residence, future light rail line)
Edgewood, Allegheny Co, Pa (Vacant)

Baltimore & Ohio

Aberdeen, Harford Co, MD (Vacant, in poor condition, subject of a preservation effort by Harford Co. Historical Society: http://harfordhistory.net/Aberdeen%20B&O%20Station.htm
Water Street Station, Wilmington, New Castle Co., DE (ING Direct Offices)

Stations alleged but not confirmed to be by Frank Furness:

Pennsylvania RR
Wallingford, Delaware Co. (SEPTA R3)
Chestnut Hill West Line (SEPTA R8) 2nd Floor Additions to most stations except Chestnut Hill

Central RR of New Jersey
Chatsworth, Burlington County, NJ (Residence)

Photos and info on many of these stations can be found here:


*SEPTA is proposing to replace (presumably, Demolish) the Frank Furness-designed Langhorne Reading RR Station using money from the stimulus bill. I may have to beat them up again to prevent it. If you or your readers want to help, let me know.

Mario Cimino
Morton Station Preservation Committee

Tom McCue said...

Hi Sarah!
I came across your site when I googled Furness train stations!
Through your curiosity and efforts by posting something you found to be interesting, I can connect with Mr.Cimino who recently posted on your site.
I grew up in a Frank Furness designed home in Riverton NJ. and his Architectural style is unmistakable. I think I know of two more Furness train stations not listed by Mr. Cimino.
As an added irony, my father grew up in Morton PA. (right down the street from the train station) and my family ancestory were all Pennsylvania Railroad employees, late 1800's through the turn of the century!
Thanks for posting! No doubt you will have an interesting life and successful career in whatever you pursue!
Tom McCue Cuetip5@comcast.net