Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Buildings I have Worked In -- As Best As I Can Show

Today I was reminded of places I have worked in my adult life. It got me thinking about all the buildings I have worked in and I decided to just do a post on them.

We didn't have digital cameras over all those years, so many of the places I worked I never took a photo of and some of them have ceased to exist.  So I supplemented my own photos as best I could with pictures taken off the internet. Even here, some places can't be found and some have been torn down and several have turned to other things. But here is my work journey through buildings as well as I can put it together.

I count as my first adult job the one I had with Proctor & Gamble in the fall of 1959. It is represented by the first photo at the top of this post. That is the Pottstown Train Station of the Reading Railroad Line. I didn't actually work in that building, although I was to ride trains from that station to jobs in Philadelphia for a couple years.

What happened on my first job was I worked the streets out of a van. It had a big Mr. Clean on the side and we walked about the towns hanging sample bottles on doorknobs.

In November I got my first permanent job. This was with the Atlantic Refining Company (later Atlantic Richfield or ARCo).

I began as a clerk in Sales Accounting on the sixteenth floor of the twenty-one story headquarters. It was at 260 South Broad Street in Philadelphia.

The building is still there, but ARCo is no more.

I worked most of my nearly ten years in that building at different positions in different departments on different floors. There was a brief period when I worked as a Traffic Manager at the loading docks in the heart of the refining yard of South Philly.

The headquarters building smelled much better.

I was a free-lance writer for a while after I left ARCo, but in that period I also took a part time evening job at the Philadelphia Gum Co. in Havertown.

I began as a Wad Slinger and worked my way up to Bubblegum Welder.

I came home every night covered with powder sugar.

Philadelphia Gum made various products. They had bite-sized pieces (which I was cutting as a welder), bozuka-type gun and they also made packets containing trading cards. On the left is a series of "Dark Shadow" cards they did about the time I was there. On the right is a much, much older baseball card.

When I finally went back to a full time job it was as a Circulation Manager for North American Publishing.  They were located on the Northwest corner of 13th and Cherry Street in Philadelphia.

I have no photo of the place and wasn't able to find one. I tried Google Maps and discovered the Philadelphia Convention Center sits atop the location where it was, so it is gone now.

I do have a picture I took of the magazines I managed.

When I left the publisher in the early part of 1970 I went to work for Lincoln Bank. It was the new kid in town and very innovative. I began work in the operations center somewhere up 38th Street in West Philadelphia. I would walk from my University City apartment, through Powelton Village to our site, which was beneath a parking lot.

I am not positive, but I think the above picture on the right is of the site as it looks today. You can't tell from the photo, but looking down from above on Google Maps you can see cars do park on the roof.

The bank then moved its operations from West Philly to a site on Sansom Street near 13th. Would you believe it? We were under another parking lot, this time a garage. Here we were in the basement with some of the biggest roaches I ever hope to see.

I left that bank when they lied to me (another story).  Lincoln Bank no longer exists, it was gobbled up by a bigger bank decades ago and the bank that gobbled it up was gobbled up by a bigger bank and so on until I couldn't tell you all the gobblers anymore.

Now I went to North Philly, rode the Frankford El to Tioga and then walked down to Tulip Street to my Office Manager/Cost Accounting position with Olson Brothers, Inc. They were an egg-breaker. They're gone, too.

I am not absolutely certain, but I think this was the site where they were as it looks on Google Maps today.

When Olson's closed after I had been there only one year, I ended up on Weccacoe Avenue in South Philly working for Welded Tube Co. of America, largest of their kind in the day, but also no longer in existence.

It may not look it in these google map pictures, but that office was very futuristic looking at the time.

On the left is a photo I took of our lobby at the time. The man standing there was my friend, Victor. This was on his birthday.

On the right is me at my desk. I was the Assistant Controller.

Here I am a year or so later at my other desk. I was still Assistant Controller, but I had added being the Systems Manager to my title, so I alternated offices. I had also shaved my beard.

I don't know who, if anyone, owns the factory now. The area looks a bit disheveled these days. The long building running back into the distance from the offices was the plant. We made structural steel tubing in there.

But in 1978, because of the economic situation in the steel business, the owner decided to close down the Philadelphia operations, which was the headquarters and main plant, and move to Chicago.

The Little Woman and I, just having our first child, did not want to move to Chicago, although the company offered me a good amount of money to do so. Instead I ended up here.

Actually this seems to be a new headquarters built on the site of the one I was in at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Darby. I came on as Budget Director.

Although my office was in the headquarters building, I spent time in the other buildings of the Center, which wasn't all that centered.

I had to spend sometime in Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital, which is also where one of my children had died some years earlier and where my second daughter to live would be taken to Neo Natal ICU to keep her alive.

I would also travel into our other hospital in Philadelphia. It was called Misericordia at that time, but when I was pulling this photo off Google maps I see it has changed its name to Mercy Philadelphia Hospital.

It looks pretty much the same.

After two years I left the Medical Center (another story for another time) and became an Operations, Methods and Project Manager in Deposit Services and Data Preparation for a large bank in Delaware.
That didn't mean I didn't have different jobs or always work in the same building. I became first an Operations Officer, then a Retail Banking Officer, then a Financial Officer and when I was finally pushed out 21 years later, I was a Marketing Officer and a Senior Marketing Information Database Administrator.

When I began there I had an office on the mezzanine of the Monchanin Building on Tenth Street.

A couple years later we moved to the new headquarters, which was a high rise built within the shell of the old post office and simply called The Center.

Here are the different buildings I worked in for the bank thereafter:

In 1988 they opened a new operations center called The Plaza. Here on the left I am preparing to move all my stuff out of my Wilmington Office to my new office in the New Castle Corporate Commons and on the right, a few years, pounds and less hair later, in my Plaza office.

In the mid-nineties I bounced around a lot, leaving the Plaza to return to The Center.

That is part of The Plaza on the left and the front of The Center on the right.

Then to an office high up in the Pei Building.

And finally, before I was forced into retirement, an office in the new Plaza in downtown Wilmington next to the YMCA.

Now after I left that bank, I signed on with a temp agency. Where did they send me for a job?

Why with that bank, of course.

The job was located in this windowless building, though. The Bank had some operations in the Brooks Armored Car Money Room.

The temp jobs were not very steady, so I got a part time job with a printing company called Mercantile Press. I was the assistant accountant.

I was there about a year and a quarter, then due to cost reductions was let go. I next had a job as Office Administrator for the Juvenile Diabetes research Foundation.

The irony of this job was I was back in the Monchanin Building where I had had my first office in Wilmington. Now I was on the twelfth floor, which back in that day had been the executive offices of the Chairman and other high officers of the bank.

The building was now called The Community Services Building.

I didn't find this job a good fit and left after a short time. I decided I wanted a different type of work, something more physical, with less stress where I wouldn't take worry or work home with me. I found it as a stock person at Chico's, a ladies fashion boutique in Greenville.

That job lasted 4 1/4 years and then I was hired away to another store and another stock position.

This job is in the new wing of the large Christiana Mall. How long will it last? Who knows? Will I go to another building someday to work? To tell the truth, I hope not. I hope this is my last stop in the work-a-day world.

Time will tell.

1 comment:

Ron Tipton said...

Oh, I see it now. It was blocked out by the glass of red wine. I mistook the "Comments" section for below where it says "Subscribe to: Post Commnents (Atom)" I could never figure out how that worked. I'm glad I found your "Post a Comment" section.

Your essay of photos of where you worked was fascinating. I have a similar story to tell. I wish I had taken pictures of all the places I worked. Sometimes I just didn't think of it

We have quite a work history don't we Lar?