Joe Frazier’s gym named historic place, but still not saved

Joe Frazier's gym will be added to National Register of Historic Places, but it still needs protection. (Rikard Larma/METRO)
Joe Frazier’s gym will be added to National Register of Historic Places, but it still needs protection. (Rikard Larma/METRO)

Update: The original story said the former gym will be put on the Philadelphia register in a few days. Temple Spokesman Hillel Hoffman said the designation could take a few months.

The fight ain’t over yet.

Joe Frazier’s Gym in North Philadelphia was added Tuesday to the National Register of Historic Places. But there’s still a few more rounds to go before the gym can receive protection.

Temple University students are pushing for approval from the Philadelphia Register for Historic Places, which would protect the building from demolition or major changes to the exterior by any future owner.

As part of the National Park Service’s National Register, the building is only added to a list as a notable landmark.

“The Temple students and their professor has definitely led the fight to keep this gym,” said Temple spokesman Hillel Hoffman. “But this particular status does not officially protect the gym.”

Hillel said the Philadelphia Register is “what’s really going to protect the gym and that’s supposed to come in a day or two.”

The preservation of the building began with adjunct professor Dennis Playdon’s two Introduction to Architectural Preservation courses at Temple University in 2011 and 2012. It has grown into a group of dedicated student’s white whale.

The gym is currently occupied by a discount furniture store.

“Smokin’” Joe Frazier, a former Olympic gold medalist and world heavyweight champion, died in November 2011. He lost the gym after suffering financial difficulties.

 



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