Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Stetson Hats: the western icon made here

By Brady Dale, for Technically Philly. It’s often worth taking in the names engraved on old Philadelphia buildings. Sometimes, they are surprising. For example, If you’ve stopped into RAW: Sushi and Sake Lounge, at 1225 Sansom Street, you may have noticed that its ornate entryway says “John B. Stetson Company” in several places. Stetson Hats […]
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John Avena and South Philadelphia’s “Bloody Angle”

As he liked to tell it, John Avena had friends at 7th and Carpenter Streets. Thing was, Avena, aka “Nozzone,” aka “Big Nose John,” was a Sicilian-born gangster who’d eventually head up the Philadelphia mob. And if he didn’t have friends exactly, Avena had allies at the old 33rd District police station. Avena’s interests would […]
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“City Abandoned” may be the title, but Vince Feldman is no fence-hopping hipster

Over the years, Vincent Feldman has lovingly made 100+ photographs of Philadelphia at its worst. When he asked me to write about them for his book, City Abandoned, I agreed—happily. And the result, officially published yesterday by Paul Dry Books, is quite beautiful. It’s interesting to compare what Vince photographed, alongside what’s here at PhillyHistory.org. […]
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Edmund N. Bacon’s Pitch for Center City’s Revival: Form, Design and The City

After hammering away at Philadelphia’s entrenched pessimists for more than a decade, city planner Edmund N. Bacon finally got the breakthrough he’d been looking for. In the middle of the 20th century, in the midst of decline, Bacon dared to envision a revived Center City: a modern, appealing and prosperous place to live and work. […]
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Trolley Barns and Grand Hotels: A Brief Look at the Widener Empire

  At the corner of 41st Street and Haverford Avenue, amidst the rowhouses of West Powelton, stands a cavernous brick building with a pitched roof. Looming over its neighbors, it is one of the few surviving structures of the Widener trolley car empire. Originally, the Philadelphia Traction Company had three massive trolley sheds in West […]
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#WilliamPennWednesday: How Philadelphia Got Its Quaker Zeus

Even though the statue of William Penn would be bolted in place more than 500 feet above the sidewalk and seen much farther away by most Philadelphians, it really mattered that the statue on City Hall make a good first and lasting impression. After all, at 36 feet 8 inches, here would stand the tallest […]
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Philadelphia Trivia (Workshop of the World Division)

No question about it: Philadelphia’s WOW is greatly diminished. (And by WOW, we mean the city’s claim to the title “Workshop of the World.”) In the middle of the last century, just under half of the city’s workers made things. Now only one in twenty does. With very few exceptions (like the surviving DisstonPrecision in […]
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National History Day Philly Coming Soon!

National History Day is a year-long program that enables students to investigate and explore historical events while building critical thinking, research, analysis, and presentation skills. Here in Philadelphia, the competition begins with National History Day Philadelphia in March, when hundreds of middle and high school students in Philadelphia present their research in the form of […]
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Looking back on the vision for the Ben Franklin Parkway

by Brady Dale Every month at countless large, public events, thousands of area residents are reminded that the Ben Franklin Parkway is a place that provides amenities other than a quick route out to the Schuylkill from Center City. That common sentiment complements a recent vision articulated by PennPraxis in its report, “More Park, Less Way.” […]
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