About Philadelphia Bourse
The Philadelphia Bourse Building was founded in 1891 by George E. Bartol, a grain and commodities exporter. It was modeled after the Bourse in Hamburg, Germany. Completed in 1895, it was the first commodities exchange in the United States. The architects were G. W. & W. D. Hewitt. Upon his return from a European trip in 1890, Bartol organized the Philadelphia business community. He asked each new member to pledge $1,000 to the project. The Bourse motto was "buy, sell, ship via Philadelphia." The building was one of the first steel-framed buildings to be constructed. Carlisle redstone, Pompeian buff brick and terra cotta were all used in the construction of the facade. The Philadelphia Bourse stopped functioning as a commodities exchange in the 1960s. The structure continued to serve as strictly an office building until 1979, when it was sold and renovated to include upscale retail space on floors near the street level. The upper levels of the building continue to house office space. The location has not been particularly successful as a retail destination, and all of the shops and eating places now operating at the Bourse are tourist-oriented.