Category Archives: Events and People

Say “Hallo” to Bart King, the Kingsessing Cricketer

A slice of England in West Philadelphia? There was once a “Sherwood Forest” — a grove of trees that stood at the intersection of 58th Street and Baltimore Avenue. Nearby was the Belmont Cricket Club at the intersection of  S. 50th Street and Chester Avenue, which for a few short years competed against the still-extant […]
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Zanghi’s Revenge: A Pivotal Mobster Moment

The third attempt on John Avena’s life took place on March 11, 1927 as the 32-year old gangster stepped out of a restaurant at 822 South 8th Street. Avena knew exactly who was behind the failed hit. And, as we learned last time, he had no intention of turning anyone in. “I like to settle […]
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Big Band Jazz in Philadelphia

Broad Street’s former Pearl Theater was the site of a historic moment in 1932. Bennie Moten and the Kansas City Stompers, key parts of the Big Band Jazz movement in the first half of the century, played so well that, according to The One O’Clock Jump by Douglas Henry Daniels, the crowd demanded encore after encore, […]
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A century of Philadelphia parties

By Brady Dale. With Spring set to usher in the city’s inexhaustible festival season, we can’t help but dream about gathering with friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Big parties are an anchor of any city and Philadelphia has a long, proud history of them. From the dozens of legendary Fourth of July’s to the annual Mummers […]
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Philadelphia Marathon: 54 races later, its first winner still stands out

The Philadelphia Marathon was host to to is 54th annual race last weekend, with more than 30,000 participating runners. That’s an incredible amount of growth from its humble beginnings in the 1950s; the second Philadelphia Marathon drew about twenty runners, according to this account. The pioneers of that race might be surprised today to see […]
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Alexander Johnston Cassatt: The Man Who Spanned the Hudson

Alexander J. Cassatt (1839-1906) was not a Philadelphian.  He was a Pittsburgh transplant who had started his career as an engineer with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and proved himself to be a master of transportation logistics.  As vice president of “The Railroad,” Cassatt enjoyed the good life.  He was the proud owner of a Frank Furness-designed […]
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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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Happy Holidays from PhillyHistory Blog

The first public tree goes up in Independence Square in 1913. Lists reflecting on the bests and worsts of the waning year are nearly as abundant as egg nog and cardboard-flavored cookies in the weeks leading up to the holidays. But unlike the transience of yearly in memoriams, Philadelphia’s rich tradition of holiday decorations is […]
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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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“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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