The Musical Fund Hall
The Musical Fund Hall is a historic building in Center City, Philadelphia famous for once being the greatest concert hall in the city. After serving as a concert hall, the Musical Fund Hall also saw use as a tobacco warehouse, a boxing arena, and, today, condominiums. While it was once on the registry of National Historic Landmarks, that title was stripped from the Hall. However, it is still listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
The Musical Fund Hall was the brainchild of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, one of the oldest musical societies in the United States. After the Society came together in February of 1820, they held many concerts in the Masonic Hall, as well as Washington Hall, but soon decided that they needed their own permanent residence for their musical exploits. The Society quickly purchased a lot of land on Locust Street between 8th and 9th, which used to house the 5th Presbyterian Church, and the Hall’s cornerstone was laid on May 25th, 1824. On Christmas Eve that year, the Musical Fund Hall was completed, and began playing concerts five days later. The Hall continued to be the most popular music hall in the city for decades.
During the Musical Fund Hall’s peak of popularity, it hosted more than just musical events. Over the years, the Hall played host to political receptions and events, theatrical performances, and in 1856, it was the site of the Republican Party’s first national convention. The Hall continued to flourish until 1857, when the Academy of Music was constructed. The Hall still hosted concerts, but most were moved to the Academy of Music, which was heralded as the new premier location for musical events. After this point, the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia purchased and re-sold the Hall numerous times, in which it became a tobacco warehouse, a boxing arena, a basketball arena, and finally, in 1980, an apartment complex. Though the Hall remains as an apartment complex to this day, the building is still listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its illustrious history.