Monthly Archives: November 2012

William Warren Gibbs: The Rise and Fall of A Gilded Age Promoter

William Warren Gibbs arrived in Philadelphia around 1880 with little more than a smooth tongue and gas-making equipment for sale.  Born in 1846 in the small town of Hope, New Jersey, Gibbs dropped out of school to work in a local store, and then married Frances Ayres Johnson, the daughter of a prominent Hackettstown merchant. […]
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When Navy Dragged Army Through the Mud

“Bands, crowds, spectacles, chevrons and gold lace, brass hats, officials, politicians and dignitaries and still just a football game,” wrote Paul Gallico in the days leading up to the annual Army-Navy game the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 1934. “Of all the thousands of football games played all over the country from October to December, this […]
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Gothic Ruins: A Last Glimpse Inside Northeast Manual Training High School

The former Northeast Manual Training High School looks as if it had been plucked from the Princeton campus and dropped into the middle of North Philadelphia.  Constructed in 1903 at the intersection of North 8th Street and West Lehigh Avenue, the “Collegiate Gothic” building has walls of granite, traceried windows, and gargoyles sprouting from the […]
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Standing His Ground: Abraham Lincoln in Philadelphia

Weeks after Abraham Lincoln won the presidency on November 6, 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union. And in the months before his inauguration in Washington, D.C. in March, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana followed. Jefferson Davis would be elected and inaugurated as the Provisional President of the Confederacy. A burdened Lincoln timed his trip to […]
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“The Cliffs”: Fairmount Park Ruins with a Link to Joseph Wharton

During the winter months, drivers along the Schuylkill Expressway may notice the broken shell of a house near the Girard Avenue Bridge.  Its battered, honey-colored walls are marred by bright graffiti. Its roof is gone, windows vacant. This forlorn ruin, once known as “The Cliffs,” was long ago the childhood home of one of America’s […]
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When Myth Prevails and History Fails

Philadelphia, we too-often think, has a corner on history when it comes to Liberty, Freedom and all that was right with America. We have historical sites to prove it, so it must be true. But what happens to the sites that tell the downside of history, sites that contradict the prevailing and preferred narrative? Well, […]
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When Presidents Come to Town

By Yael Borofsky for the PhillyHistory Blog Jimmy Carter stops off in a classroom in pursuit of a re-election bid. Although Philadelphia’s days as the nation’s capital were glorious, but short-lived, that hasn’t stopped commanders in chief from stopping off in a city that practically oozes with symbols of democracy. As election day and all […]
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