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Inside and on Top of the Divine Lorraine with Lies and Get Up

February 16, 2012


So I’ve been hearing about people sneaking into the Divine Lorraine, one of Philadelphia’s most iconic, albeit completely left for shit, historic old buildings, for quite a but of time. I heard about awkward interactions with the understandably aggressive homeless people that reside there. And I’ve even heard of someone falling through the floor, which has holes and gaps nearly everywhere you look, and breaking a leg. But, nevertheless, the idea of going in and climbing to the top intrigued me. I mean, for one, God knows I love a little adventure.

Either way, I was really excited this past weekend when two of my favorite street artists, Lies and Get Up, invited me along for a trip to the top. The two were looking for someone to help them shoot a little flyer for their upcoming “An announcement of Art for 2012” at Rogues Gallery Bar on February 22nd, and I couldn’t help but say yes. (Check out the flyer after the jump.)

I have to say, while we didn’t encounter any annoyed homeless people, and no one fell through the floor, it was seriously one of the more scary experiences I’ve had recently. Aside from walking through the pitch dark corridors that looked like the Titanic — after it sank — watching out for gaps in the floor, all while stepping over God knows what. We arrived at the slanted roof covered in a slick rain as a mix of snow and sleet began to pour. Yeah, probably a bad idea in retrospect, but we were, obviously, very careful, and despite a mild fear of heights, I crawled across the roof the best I could to get the best shots — what a photographer!

Anyway, I took a shit ton of photos. To see more, CLICK HERE—>


52 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2012 10:59 am

    These are by far some of my favorite shots of this building. I pass this place on my bike ride to work everyday. Now I have some great mental images to think about as I pass it.

  2. February 16, 2012 11:02 am

    What adventure! Back in the day, the Lorriane was a beauty. With a such very rich history. Ah! Why didn’t they save her back in late 1990s? The first high rise in the city. Sigh. Your photographs are fabulous and moody, too. I love the shots of the balconies, rooftop, sign, along with the city and close-up of the window pane. Did you see any ghosts? Theadora

    • February 17, 2012 12:46 pm

      Thank you!!

      I’m sure someone will buy it one day and restore it. It’s too iconic to sit like that forever, you know?

  3. February 16, 2012 11:17 am

    Yeah im about to go today now i’ve been passing it but cant work up the ballz to go in. the craziest experience i had was drinking a 40 on the ledge of the 9th floor windows. only like 2 feet for sitting then its just a 9 story drop nothing to latch on to either. Holy shit that was dumb. lol. great fucking shots, i was to afraid to go up those rusted fire escape stairs to get to the top.

    • February 17, 2012 12:45 pm

      Yeah, the last little ladder thing before the roof, and the roof itself scared the shit outta me. I mean, it seriously just a straight shot off the roof, if you slip.

      Thanks for sharing… Be safe!!

  4. Kat permalink
    February 16, 2012 11:24 am

    I almost wish I didn’t see this post. I love this building but I never thought about going in. Now I can’t stop thinking about it.

    • February 17, 2012 12:44 pm

      I know! I’ve seriously wanted to go in for years. Finally did it!!

  5. February 16, 2012 11:25 am

    This is such a stunning building. I’ve heard of those stories too and it’s always kept me away. But these photos are great! Looks like such a neat place to discover. Perhaps I’ll make it over there someday…when I can convince a friend or two to come along :D

    Also, great artwork!

    • February 17, 2012 12:43 pm

      Yeah, definitely don’t go alone. That’s for sure.

  6. February 16, 2012 12:50 pm


    Thanks for taking the risk ! That is what being an artist is about, isn’t it!

    Great shots!

  7. February 16, 2012 12:57 pm

    This is insane. You are nuts and awesome pictures. Some of this sickest pictures I’ve seen

  8. Patricio permalink
    February 16, 2012 4:52 pm

    Love the Candyman reference with the second to last photo.

  9. February 16, 2012 6:07 pm

    Reblogged this on kranblog and commented:
    This is wicked!

  10. hapi permalink
    February 16, 2012 6:53 pm

    My goodness! I’m joyous just looking at these shots! Wicked! I’ve been looking for shots that prepped Philly for my living room. Tell me how to get these!

  11. Monica permalink
    February 16, 2012 8:28 pm

    I moved from Philly recently and seeing these, especially the city shots, are just absolutely wonderful. I even started tearing up (just a little emotional!) I’m definitely jealous of your adventure–glad everything went okay and you got these great shots. I always drove past this building and wanted to know what exactly was goin’ on inside. Thank you for sharing these.

    • February 17, 2012 12:42 pm

      Aw, don’t tear up… I’ll tear up

      Thanks for sharing. :)

  12. February 16, 2012 9:02 pm

    AMAZING Photos. I really want to get in there but I’m too afraid!

  13. 5n4k3 permalink
    February 16, 2012 9:11 pm

    Being on the roof when it’s raining… jeez, not so smart. If you slipped, it would have been all over.

    13 years ago this building was still a beauty inside. Hardwood floors, ornamental plaster, absolutely breathtaking place. It needed some work, but now it’s irretrievably lost. The asshole who gutted it should be publicly hanged from that catwalk.

  14. February 17, 2012 1:34 pm

    The views are amazing.

  15. Noah G permalink
    February 17, 2012 3:13 pm

    You make it sound terrible inside when in actuality it is a sturdy shell of it’s former self. A shell that could withstand a century of neglect and still be around to tel the tale of probably the most interesting period in the building’s history; the graffiti’d period. I think most of the Graffiti is amateur at best. No “real” graffiti artist has gone in an done full walls of artwork. Just names and shoutouts that most people who are open to the idea of graffiti as a form of art would not consider art. Even the wikkits are lazy.

    The holes in the floor are not gaping. There are large holes on the side of the stair towers shown in your pictures. The kid that fell thru the floor stepped on a thin piece of plywood covering the hole. There are a few small holes that a foot cannot fit thru and small holes around the inside of the walls that were once used for pipes and conduit. No real physical danger (beside the extreme slope of the roof and if there is asbestos).

    Every level of the building has the original hallways layed in white marble that vagrants such as yourselves (and me) have walked on. If you stick to the marble flooring and the marble stairs you’re fine for the most part. You shouldn’t walk on the concrete’looking infill between the wooden joists. And the wooden joists have nails sticking out of them from most likely wood flooring.

    By writing this article and making the building seem like a shipwreck you are not helping. You say something will be lost when it is renovated. The current vibe I am feeling is that it will never be renovated. And EVERYTHING will be lost. If Mayor Nutter doesn’t step in soon, it will probably be destroyed. And at a demolition site, the fences are harder to break in to, ’cause let’s face it, no one who goes to the Divine Lorraine “breaks in” the fence is wide open for all to come. So you will not be able to graffiti on the pile of rubble that it will leave.

  16. February 20, 2012 2:40 am

    This is sweet. Ruin porn.

  17. February 21, 2012 5:15 pm

    Great shots. I love everything you do. An amazing eye you have.

  18. February 22, 2012 4:46 pm

    So glad you survived that roof so that you could share these sick photos!

  19. March 4, 2012 4:37 pm

    Looks like such an adventure its beautiful though that building is my dream one day i hope to be the one to make it new again theres no way in hell that can be knocked down

  20. Robyn permalink
    April 27, 2012 1:36 am

    These photos are amazing. Such a beauty of a building even in its greatest decay.

  21. August 31, 2012 6:26 am

    All right. White graffiti “artists” continue to strip black Philly of any semblance of culture it has left and replace it with advertisements for their bars of privilege. These photos really do say a lot about what’s wrong with contemporary Philadelphia in just a few shots, and the inclusion of the two white kids in the pictures is all too fitting.

    For shame.

  22. Kristie permalink
    September 29, 2013 7:20 pm

    Man, I passed this Hotel on the way to a concert in Philly last month. I managed to get a quick shot of the sign so I would remember to research it later. I read all about the history, and now I’m finding pages like this, people who got inside and really checked it out for themselves. These are some magnificent shots, though it’s such a shame this beautiful architecture has been laid to waste and will probably never return. I can’t stop thinking about this place, I really wish I could get inside, but I think they blocked up all the windows with concrete blocks. I’m seriously curious as to how people gained entry, even before it was all sealed up. How the hell did you get in there?

  23. October 22, 2013 10:22 am

    These are absolutely great shots! Awesome post.

  24. adraine Chadwick permalink
    November 5, 2013 4:52 pm

    If I had the money to go out and restore this building I definitely would it is so beautiful . I can see it even with a restaurant on top!!!! Wow

  25. Rion Caughman permalink
    June 13, 2015 11:32 am

    I’m a urban explorer, so getting in here would be awesome! i only saw one entrance, nut it was blocked off… If anyone has a way to get in, I’d be happy!

    • DaveB permalink
      November 1, 2015 3:06 pm

      Im trying to find other urban explorers to check out new places in philly. U down?


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