This Old House | PCOM's Levin Administration Building | Digest Online
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This Old House 
Levin Administration Building

February 15, 2023

The story of the Tudor Revival-style mansion that was renovated to become an administration building at the heart of the PCOM campus in Philadelphia.

By Dan O'Connor

Levin Administration Building exterior photoPhiladelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine paid $900,000 in 1957 for a magnificently situated plot at City Avenue and Monument Road on Philadelphia’s western edge that was ideally suited for an ambitious expansion plan to create a new college and hospital complex. Not only was the 16-acre plot the perfect parcel of land on which to build a modern hospital and medical school, but PCOM’s new dream home also came with a dream house—a stately stone manor called the Moss Estate, with its steeply pitched, shingled roof, storybook entry, picturesque chimneys and casement windows.

Almost immediately, the bulldozers flattened the land of cornfields, gardens, shrubs and trees so construction could begin on a new campus, but crews were careful not to disturb the three-story Tudor Revival–style mansion that for 41 years was the happy home of Frank and Anna Moss and their seven children: three girls and four boys. Frank Moss, a mortgage banker, built the house in a cornfield in 1910 to bring his wife, the former Anna Hunter of Norristown, and their children to live on City Line.

The house was Elizabethan, with a red tile roof and center detail of stucco and crossbeams. It was a popular style of the day, and several houses like it still stand in the area on both sides of City Line.

Here we are 65 years after the College’s purchase, and the 112-year-old structure has been renovated, repaired, repurposed (College administration offices) and renamed (from the City Line Administration Building in 1959 to the Levin Administration Building in 1998), but its postcard-pretty charm and warmth remain unimpaired as it stands guard at the heart of the Philadelphia campus.

Through the years

When the College, then known as Philadelphia College of Osteopathy and located at 48th Street in West Philadelphia, purchased the estate, the house had stood vacant for more than a year. The gardens had been looted of flowers and shrubbery, and wild undergrowth and brush had overgrown the grounds. Vandals stripped the house of most hardware and equipment, but PCOM restored the house to its former glory, repairing broken doors and windows, and rewiring the electrical system.

The house was almost completely shrouded by a canopy of trees on all sides in 1957: great oaks, beeches and magnolia. Over the years, a concrete jungle sprang up around the Moss Estate, a $20 million complex of buildings that created a vibrant college campus atmosphere.

In 1968, one year after the College was renamed Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Frederic H. Barth Pavilion of the Hospitals of PCOM opened, a five-story, 600-bed, ultra-modern teaching and research osteopathic hospital with an outpatient department and ancillary services. The Howard A. Hassman, DO ’83 Academic Center (formerly known as Evans Hall), which houses classrooms, the library and laboratory facilities, was completed in 1973. An adjacent five-story office building, acquired in 1979, was renovated into classrooms, laboratories and medical offices, and later named Rowland Hall after PCOM’s fourth president, Thomas M. Rowland, Jr., DO (Hon.), LLD (Hon.). In 2021, Meta Christy House opened adjacent to the campus. A five-level parking garage backstops the campus.

From beds to desks

A full restoration in 1997 converted the residence into office space, desks, chairs and bookshelves replacing beds, bassinets and bureaus. Today it is home to the Office of the President and Chief Legal Officer on the ground floor, just beyond an impressive entrance featuring two oak doors, a vestibule and a grand reception hall. Up one sweeping oaken staircase you’ll find the Office of Institutional Advancement, and up another flight of steps there’s the Office of Marketing and Communications. Leaded, floor-to-ceiling windows at each landing open to the terrace.

As part of the 1990s campus improvements, the landscape was redesigned into a system of paved paths embellished with seating areas, fountains, gardens and signage.

PCOM dedicated the mansion as the Levin Administration Building in 1998 to commemorate the Levin family’s long and enduring association with the College.

Portraits of Abraham, Samuel, Jacob and Joel LevinIn Honor of the Levin Family of PCOM Graduates

PCOM dedicated the mansion to then-PCOM Chairman of the Board Herbert Lotman, LLD (Hon.) and his wife, Karen—whose maiden name is Levin—to honor her family of PCOM graduates, clockwise, from left to right: Abraham Levin, DO ’35, Samuel Levin, DO ’35, Jacob Levin, DO ’36, and Joel Levin, DO ’69. The mansion was renamed the Levin Administration Building in tribute to the Levins’ long and enduring association with the College. Portraits of Abraham, Samuel, Jacob and Joel hang in the building’s lobby.

About Digest Magazine

Digest, the magazine for alumni and friends of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, is published by the Office of Marketing and Communications. The magazine reports on osteopathic and other professional trends of interest to alumni of the College’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and graduate programs at PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia.