American History, My Genealogy, Photo

Pap: Legislative Building Ruins – Ermita, Manila, Philippines c. 1946/1947

Thomas Alexander Piotrowski, Sr._1946-47_Manila, Philippines_18I’m not sure who this serviceman and woman are, but they are posed in front of the ruins of the Legislative Building located on Padre Burgos Avenue in Ermita, which is considered the financial, cultural and commercial district of Manila.  This view looks north-northwest down Taft Avenue.   If this shot were wider, we would be able to see the city hall clock tower behind the buildings skirting the right side of the picture across Taft Avenue. This couple is sitting on top of the Jai Alai building, were jai alai games were held.  Jai alai is a sport that involves bouncing a ball off a walled space using a basket-type racket.

Originally designed by Ralph Harrington Doane and Antonio Toledo, the Legislative Building (also known as the Old Congress Building) was originally intended to be the National Library of the Philippines when construction began in 1918.  However, plans changed and architect Juan Arellano was brought in to revamp the design. The building became home to various bodies of legislature throughout the subsequent years when the building was inaugurated on July 16, 1926.  Sadly, this national historic landmark was one of the many architectural victims of World War II.  It’s a little tough to see from a distance in the picture, but you can nevertheless tell that it was severely damaged by Japanese bombing during the Battle of Manila.   The Legislative Building was eventually reconstructed (albeit in a simpler form) by 1950.  The National Museum of the Philippines took over the building in 1997 and converted it to its main building which houses the National Art Gallery along with the natural sciences and other support divisions.


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