Jayne Building

242-244 Chestnut St.

Philadelphia, PA



Philadelphia ’s first skyscraper, the eight-story, granite- fronted Jayne Building was designed by architect William Johnston, who died before the construction reached the second story. Dr. David Jayne asked Walter to superintend the completion of this building.  


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Philadelphia, Baltimore & Wilmington Railroad Depot, Elevation

SE corner 11th and Market Sts.

Philadelphia , PA


The northern terminus of this railroad was at Broad Street & Washington Avenues. The railroad’s president, Matthew Newkirk, commissioned Walter to build a depot on Market Street to which passengers would be transported by horse-drawn cars. The design shows the challenge of modifying Greek forms for an entirely new building type.


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Detalles del Atajamar La Guayra, 1843

The financial setbacks begun by the Panic of 1837 triggered Walter’s [first] bankruptcy in 1842. With little or no prospect of architectural work at home, Walter accepted a commission as civil engineer to design a breakwater for the port of LaGuayra , Venezuela . Away for almost two years, Walter lost his oldest son, 19-year old Joseph, to fever on the trip. He returned to Philadelphia in 1845, but was never fully compensated for his services by the Venezuelan government. He sued, and his case was eventually represented by Secretary of State, Daniel Webster.

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Plano Para Mejorar el Puerto de La Guayra, 1843

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Plano de la Casa Para la Capitania de Puerto, 1844

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Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Elevation

Harper’s Ferry, VA


The timing of this design was interesting in that it was produced just nine months before John Brown’s infamous raid on the site. Though the project remained unbuilt, this drawing shows how Walter’s drafting skill could make even a plain brick structure appear rich and imposing.


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Sketch for the Baptist Home, Competition Entry


17th and Norris Sts.

Philadelphia, PA


Three decades before, in his lectures at the Franklin Institute, Walter derided mansardic designs as “fanciful and frivolous…deformed…fripperies.” But Walter’s success as an architect was largely due to his lifelong open-mindedness. While he never lost his convictions concerning the classic logic of architecture, he was always able to accommodate to the changing fashions and desires of his clients. By 1872, High style was French Baroque characterized by the Second Empire.


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