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Portrait  (1931)   <i>The Philadelphia Municipal Auditorium</i>, Philadelphia, 1931
The Philadelphia Municipal Auditorium, Philadelphia, 1931

Born: 1868, Died: 11/29/1933

For many years Philip H. Johnson served as the architect for the Philadelphia City Department of Public Health and in that position designed a number of hospitals and city health institutions. His controversial appointment to this position was effected by the influence of his brother-in-law, Israel W. Durham, one-time political boss of the 7th Ward in Philadelphia, according to obituaries published at the time of Johnson's death. Through his brother-in-law, Johnson received a contract with the City Health Department which was valid for his lifetime. Although several later mayors attempted to break this contract, city courts upheld its validity, enabling Johnson to receive some $2,000,000 in fees from the municipal treasury during his 30 years of city design. Prior to 1903, Johnson had been employed in the City's Bureau of Engineering and Surveys, but was not well-known as an architect at the time of his appointment to the City's Department of Health. During his long career, Johnson designed such notable hospital complexes as the Philadelphia General Hospital buildings, Philadelphia Hospital for Contagious Diseases at 2nd and Luzerne streets, and several buildings at the Philadelphia Hospital for Mental Diseases at Byberry. In addition to hospitals, Johnson designed City Hall Annex and the Philadelphia Convention Hall.

A well-known yachtsman, Johnson was Commodore of the Philadelphia Yacht Club, a member of the Larchmont Yacht Club, and a Mason.

Written by Sandra L. Tatman.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
  • Larchmont Yacht Club
  • Philadelphia Yacht Club


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