Sad Loss on Vandeventer Avenue

Sadly, the Liberty Bell Oil Company building was gutted by fire in early June. While it looks like it might be a complete loss, I don’t necessarily believe it should be torn down. Many times these buildings are still salvageable, even after such a catastrophic fire.

City records say the building was constructed in 1930, but I seriously doubt that stylistically that is the date of its original construction. I suspect the 1930 date is for an addition out the back, which often confused the official year.

Particularly because I found a record of Liberty Oil already operating at this address at least as early as 1922, when this Renaissance Revival style of architecture, based of Filippo Brunelleschi, would have been popular.

Developers need to secure their buildings better, with all due respect.


  1. Of course, you also have to look at how many of these “accidental” fires are actually “accidental.” Fire seems to be a convenient way in some developers and property owners’ eyes to get rid of an unwanted building; they can always blame it on the homeless (who burn buildings down as well).

    • Oh, beyond a doubt, that happens in many instances. In this case, however, the huge amount of city government tax subsidies going into this neighborhood would preclude intentional burning of such a beautiful building. As someone who sits on the board of a non-profit that owns large moth-balled buildings, it IS possible to secure large buildings–if one actually makes the effort.

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