New life for 100-year-old Fishtown police station

The former 26th District Police District building, at Dauphin Street and Trenton Avenue. Some tenants have recently moved into the new apartments. SAM NEWHOUSE / STAR PHOTO

Though it sat vacant and blighted for decades, apartments and a bank branch are now the second life for this nationally-recognized historic Fishtown building.

Once it was where police officers investigated crimes and interrogated suspects.

Now it’s become the location of high-end apartments and a branch of the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union.

While renovation work is not entirely complete inside 2136 E. Dauphin St., the location of the former 26th District Police Station in Fishtown, tenants have already started living in the upper floors of this historic site.

It was placed on the National Historic Register in 1984. The first residents began to move in last month.

The Philadelphia Federal Credit Union is planning to rent the first floor.

Designed by famed Philadelphia architect John T. Windrim and built in 1896, the police station has been vacant since the 1970s, according to the Philadelphia Historical Commission.

Just a year ago the building was blighted and unused, covered in graffiti, with stained brick walls and cinderblocked windows. Since then it has undergone an extensive renovation.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission first heard about the proposal by architect Victor Barr to convert the building into a housing and commercial space in August 2011.

With a few modifications, including preserving the wooden double-door front entryway, they approved Barr’s application.

Reporter Sam Newhouse can be reached at 215–354–3124 or at snewhouse@bsmphilly.com.