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Henry J. Magaziner, 100, architect, preservationist

On a 1998 tour for an Inquirer reporter, Henry J. Magaziner noted, "The cast-iron filigree you see all over the French Quarter" in New Orleans "was made right here" in Philadelphia.

On a 1998 tour for an Inquirer reporter, Henry J. Magaziner noted, "The cast-iron filigree you see all over the French Quarter" in New Orleans "was made right here" in Philadelphia.

He was showing off a lifetime of learning about the city, building blocks for The Golden Age of Ironwork, his first book, published in 2000, the year he turned 89.

On Christmas Day, Mr. Magaziner, 100, of Center City, an architect and preservationist, died at Hahnemann University Hospital.

Mr. Magaziner was regional historical architect and architectural historian for the National Park Service office in Philadelphia from 1972 to 1987.

"Philadelphia was the leading city in the cast-iron period," he told the reporter. "The cast-iron facade started in New York, but Philadelphia caught on quickly."

Mr. Magaziner said that first book was "a combination of writing and architecture and history - all the things I'm interested in."

There was a fourth element in the book - the 175 photos produced by Robert D. Golding, president of B&H Photographics in Port Richmond.

The website of the Association for Preservation Technology International states that Mr. Magaziner was a founding member in 1985 of its Delaware Valley chapter and was inducted into its College of Fellows in 2009.

"For his work in historic preservation," the site notes, he earned the Biddle Award for Distinguished Work in Historic Preservation, among others.

The annual Henry J. Magaziner Award, the site states, is presented by the Historic Preservation Committee of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Mr. Magaziner had inherited his interest in architecture from his father, Louis, designer of the Corn Exchange National Bank at Second and Chestnut Streets.

Born in 1911, Mr. Magaziner graduated from Central High School and earned a bachelor's degree in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in 1936.

Though Louis Magaziner had an architectural firm under his own name, the Inquirer reporter wrote that, during the Depression, "Henry Magaziner had to drop out midway through his studies when the family fell on hard times.

"He made money selling Fels Naptha soap door to door" before returning to Penn.

He was a draftsman at his father's Philadelphia firm from 1937 to 1939, then worked at firms in Burlington, Iowa, in 1940 and 1941, Detroit in 1942, and Wood-Ridge, N.J., from 1943 to 1945.

His wartime work at that last firm was as a designer for the Wright Aeronautical Corp.

In 1946, he returned to his father's firm, which, in 1948, became the architectural firm of Louis & Henry Magaziner. He was in private practice from 1956 to 1962, when he formed Magaziner Architects.

According to his son, Fred, "He led the fight to preserve Philadelphia's Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, a significant example of Victorian architecture" at the southwest corner of Greene and Tulpehocken Streets in Germantown, and was its board president from 1965 to 1967.

During Mr. Magaziner's time with the National Park Service, his son noted, "he played a central role in preserving landmarks throughout five Mid-Atlantic states" covered by the service's Philadelphia office, "including Fort McHenry in Baltimore [and] the Roebling Aqueduct over the Delaware River" at Lackawaxen, Pa.

Among Mr. Magaziner's other preservation targets, his son wrote, were "the Reading Terminal Train Shed [now part of the Convention Center] and the houses at 700-714 Spruce Street, which are considered a particularly important example of the Greek Revival style of architecture."

A board member of the Germantown Historical Society and the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, among others, Mr. Magaziner lived for years on Westview Street near Wissahickon Avenue in West Mount Airy.

In a 2000 article about the publication of Mr. Magaziner's first book, The Inquirer noted that he "spent the magnificent autumn day before the book signing the best way he knew how: with his family walking the Wissahickon" Valley.

In addition to his son, Mr. Magaziner is survived by a daughter, Ellen Magaziner Widiss; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. His wife, Reba, died in 1997.

A memorial service was set for 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St., Philadelphia.