The Westminster Arch apartment building at 2215 Arch Street in Logan Square is one of a small handful of physical reminders that this serene neighborhood was once part of the complex web of high skill manufacturers and machine tool shops that extended, more or less, from Arch to Spring Garden, the Schuylkill River to Broad Street. The 125-year-old former tool, typewriter, and medical supply factory, converted into an apartment building in the early 1980s, stands as an enduring example of visionary adaptive reuse.
Atlantic Works was a fledgling manufacturer of woodworking tools and machines in the mid-19th century. The company changed ownership every few years until Lucien Berry and Lyman Orton took the helm in 1888. Under their direction, Atlantic Works quickly solidified a reputation as one of the top firms of its type in the country. By 1890, the company had outgrown its small building on the 100 block of North 22nd Street and Berry and Orton began planning to relocate its manufacturing operations.
Berry & Orton acquired a large old coal yard property nearby facing 23rd, Arch, and Filson (now Croskey) Streets. Their original blueprints called for a hulking five-story, L-shaped plant that would stretch along 23rd Street. By the time the factory was under construction in 1891, final designs reduced the main building’s footprint, with the bulk of the factory mostly facing Arch Street. A small engine and boiler house was installed on the rest of the large property. Like other industrial buildings in the neighborhood, the new Atlantic Works factory had a direct freight rail connection that ran from the building to the train yard across the street.
Berry & Orton sold the Atlantic Works building to the National Typewriter Company five years later. The NTC, used the same inaccurate rendering of the factory in its promotional materials. NTC, too, stuck around for only half a decade.