Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Cannonball House: Beyond Preservation Purgatory

Peter Cock couldn’t have picked a more off-the-beaten track location for his farmhouse. In the 1680s, and for a long time after, nobody coveted the swampy rise that broke the horizon near the Schuylkill as it meandered to the Delaware. Why would they? With so much rich, dry land in every direction and with William […]
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1601 Locust Street and “The Perfect Square”

The imposing Daniel Baugh mansion, which once stood on the northwest corner of 16th and Locust, was one of dozens of grand residences built to last the ages but only lasted a few decades.  Its ephemeral presence is a contradiction: perhaps no American city is more conscious of its past and traditions.  Yet at the […]
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If Rudolph Koenig Attended the Philadelphia Science Festival & Philly Tech Week

Rudolph Koenig’s full “Philosophical Apparatus” demonstrated at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The Philadelphia Science Festival and Philly Tech Week 2013 presented by AT&T both return this week, for their coinciding 10-day-long homage to the thriving science and technology communities in Philadelphia. But Philadelphia’s excitement about new, sometimes oddball technology has precedent that reaches at least […]
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Silent Film; Outspoken Posters: When “The Sea Hawk” Came from Hollywood

In 1967, when the late Roger Ebert was named film critic for The Chicago Tribune, he imagined rather large shoes to fill. After all—as he related the story in his 2011 autobiography, Life Itself: A Memoir—everyone at The Tribune and in Chicago, for that matter, knew reviews had been published under the byline Mae Tinee […]
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A Classical, Papier-Mâché Gas Station at the Sesquicentennial

Pretty much anything might be found, past or present, at the Sesquicentennial International Exposition, the lesser of Philadelphia’s two World’s Fairs.  Mounted at the bottom of Broad Street in 1926, visitors passed under the giant, electrified Liberty Bell, famously lit with 26,000 light bulbs and plunged into a world that was familiar, but also oddly […]
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