Community Events

Gershman Hall - Neighborhood Walking Tour Series with the Preservation Alliance

Gershman Hall photo

At its dedication in 1924, the Young Men’s & Young Women’s Hebrew Association at 401-11 S. Broad Street was celebrated as the largest Jewish institutional building of its kind in the nation. More recently known as the Gershman Y, for nearly a century the building served the Jewish community of Philadelphia through lectures, concerts, screenings, and recreational activities. Designed by architects Frank Hahn and S. Brian Baylinson, the Y is a near textbook example of the Colonial Revival style. The building is reflective of both Jewish prominence in American life and the associated desire (or perhaps perceived need) to assimilate into broader American culture during the 1920s. The building was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 2017 on the strength of a nomination by the Preservation Alliance.

Acquired by the University of the Arts in 2000, Gershman Hall is being transformed to accommodate offices dedicated to student services, such as the Advising Center, Campus Life, Counseling and Health Services. It is also home to Lightbox Film Center and performance spaces like Levitt Auditorium and the YGym Dance Theater providing much needed gathering and learning spaces on UArts’ Center City campus. The building is in the process of a significant renovation, with the first floor completed in 2022, featuring a coffee shop, bookstore, gallery, and collaboration spaces. Phase 2 will include the renovation of the basement – the former Y pool – into student and community facilities.  

Join us for a tour of the renovated building along with short presentations from the Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance, Paul Steinke, and Philadelphia-based architecture firm JacobsWyper Architects.

Community Development
History and Preservation