Cafe L’Aiglon

When I come across a julep strainer that has a business name on it, most likely a restaurant or hotel, the basic snoop in me compels me to research and find out all I can about it.  Sometimes that’s difficult and time consuming.  Other times it all comes together rather quickly.  Such was the case with the Cafe L’Aiglon.

IMG_20190523_134244-822x560

The julep strainer is a back tipped star pattern and marked with the R. Wallace stamp. The back of the handle is marked “Cafe L’Aiglon”.

IMG_20190523_133413-946x689

My search almost immediately found an article from the February 17, 1909 issue of Printers’ Ink.  And this article pretty much tells it all:

Printers' Ink. Vol.66 Feb.17.1909 pg10

Cafe L’Aiglon was located on the corner of Fifteenth and Chestnut streets in Philadelphia.  J. G. Patton, proprietor, opened the cafe in October of 1905.

Printers' Ink. Vol.66 Feb.17.1909 pg11

The Printers’ Ink article mentions that J. G. Patton took over the space formerly occupied by “Stuart’s Restaurant”.

Printers' Ink. Vol.66 Feb.17.1909 pg12

However, the following ad from The Philadelphia Record, April 12, 1905 edition, shows the correct spelling as “Stewart’s”.

1905 The Philadelphia Record Apr 12, 1905

For some reason, Stewart’s only remained in business a few months, as evidenced from the following October 23, 1905 Cafe L’Aiglon ad in The Philadelphia Record:

1905 The Philadelphia Record Oct 23, 1905

J. G. Patton realized that Philadelphia didn’t have a large transient population and that he needed to excite the interest of his clientele.   He established a series of national nights… American, Italian, French, German and so on, ending with a grand International week.  These theme nights were extremely well received and were then followed by theme weeks.   The February 1908 issue of the American Carpet and Upholstery Journal paints a vivid picture of the Oriental theme extravaganza:

1908 American Carpet and Upholstery Journal, Vol.26 Feb.1908 pg106A

Local businesses supplied rare rugs and draperies (getting free advertising), a win – win situation for them and the Cafe.  I especially like that last sentence “Oriental incense and queer little lamps burned constantly…”  Doesn’t that sound enticing? If I had been in Philadelphia at that time, this would be a place I would have to visit.  Definitely.

1908 Official Program -Founder's Week

The ad shown above came from the 1908 Founder’s Week Official Program.  And the following clever little ad came from Keith’s Theatre Program, May 29, 1911:

1911 Keiths Theatre Program May 29 1911

The following shows a corner of the main dining room circa 1909:

corner main dining room ca1909 auto

In June 1922, the first remote dance band radio program was aired in Philadelphia when WIP broadcast the big band music of the famous Charlie Kerr orchestra from the Cafe L’Aiglon.

It appears the cafe was also marketing food under their name.  The following was taken from the June 5, 1923 Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office:

1923 Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, Volume 311 June 5 1923

Of interest, “L’Aiglon” means “eaglet or young eagle” in French.  It was also the nickname for Napoleon II.  There was a play by that name produced in the early 1900s and quite a bit of interest in the “L’Aiglon”.

east from 16th crop

The photo shown above shows the view east from Sixteenth Street in Philadelphia.  Cafe L’Aiglon is on the left side of the street.

1917 Sweet's Architectural Catalog File Vol.2 pg1210

And the above, showing a close-up of the entrance, came from the 1917 Sweet’s Architectural Catalog.

Cafe L’Aiglon closed in 1929.  Not a bad run from 1905 to 1929!

 

 

 

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