2424 Studios Today
2424 Studios was renovated and converted into studio office spaces in 2011 from two prominent manufacturing facilities, H.W. Butterworth & Sons and Jacob Holtz Co.
Established in 1820, H.W. Butterworth & Sons, a foundry for finishing machinery for the textile industry, moved to this location on York Street in 1870 from a smaller location in the area. The building(s) on this site were constructed in five phases from 1870 to 1925 using mostly Italianate and later Commercial architectural styles.
The late 1800s saw a boom in industry and the construction of industrial manufacturing facilities in the Kensington area because of the available open space and access to the Delaware River and rail roads. The nickname “Fishtown” caught on because of the fishing and shipping industries, but the most dominant trade at the time in the area was the textile industry. H.W. Butterworth & Sons was one of six textile machinery manufacturers in Philadelphia at the time, supplementing the dye works and yarn factories of the growing textile industry. According to the Industrial Directory of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the early 1900s, “Textile products were not only Philadelphia’s leading industry, but the city was America’s foremost textile center.”
“Textile products were not only Philadelphia’s leading industry, but the city was America’s foremost textile center.”
During and after WWII, the company expanded to manufacture mounts and parts for anti-aircraft machine guns. In 1950, the company relocated to the suburbs and in 1955 was sold. According to the National Register of Historic Places, “From the time of its foundation until after its sale in 1955, the company was always managed by the Butterworth family, a record that has no equal in Philadelphia manufacturing.”
In 1970, Jacob Holtz Co., manufacturers of furniture casters and metal stamping, moved their factory to this location. Many residents of the area can recount family and friends who worked at the Jacob Holtz building. Train tracks, which are still visible in the street, carried boxcars from the Riverfront Railroad directly into the building through what is now the front entrance. By the 1990s, Jacob Holtz moved much of their distribution to North Carolina and by 2007, they moved their entire operation to Lester, PA.
By the mid-1900s, many of the factories in the area moved or closed leaving behind empty industrial buildings. Many were demolished or derelict and the construction of I-95 in the 1960s cut off the neighborhood from the Delaware River. 2424 E. York was vacant for some years between ownership before being purchased and renovated in 2009 and then changed ownership and management in 2014. Much of the original architecture remains today. Two sets of hoists and cranes from Alfred E. Box & Co. are in place in what is now a large event space. The occupants, visitors and neighbors, are fortunate to be a part of the ongoing history of this Philadelphia landmark.