Author Archives: Heather Newlin

Natural Healing

  In its most recent past, the buildings of the Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, pictured here, were in a state of ruin. These ruins, combined with the less than desirable reputation the hospital had come to possess, attracted thrill seekers and urban explorers alike. It was rumored to have been the site of numerous […]
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Driveway to the Arts

  Cutting diagonally across William Penn’s original grid-like plan for Philadelphia’s streets, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is center city’s connection to recreation and cultural resources. When planners first entertained the idea of building a parkway through the city, this street was intended to be a direct and interesting link between City Hall and the Art […]
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An Unusual Display

  Although one would never think of displaying such material today, in the past scalps and scalp locks such as those above would have been considered appropriate artifacts for museum exhibits. Until the passing of laws in the 1990’s, scalps were displayed in many museums. This was true, even in Philadelphia. The scalp and scalp […]
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The Calm after the Storm

  Philadelphia’s first public recreation facility, Starr Garden, was built at the corner of 7th and Lombard Streets in 1908. Seeing the location in this 1907 photograph and the many people there enjoying free time outdoors, it is hard to imagine that this same location laid along a path of violence and destruction in the […]
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Cradle of Independence

  Every July Fourth, the nation gears up for a big party celebrating its independence from Great Britain. Nowhere is this more true than in Philadelphia, which has been at times called the “Birthplace of a Nation.” It was here in 1776 that the Second Continental Congress met to commission and adopt the Declaration of […]
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Buying Happiness

  A pioneer in advertising, John Wanamaker opened his first store in Philadelphia in 1876. He later moved the store to the location in this photograph, the site of the old Pennsylvania Railroad Depot (seen on the right). This new store, the “Grand Depot,” was the first department store in the city, and at one […]
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Back to Nature

  Founded in 1855, Fairmount Park was created by the City Council in an effort to protect both the Philadelphia’s water supply and the general health of the people. Several epidemics across the city, including an outbreak of yellow fever in the 1790s, prompted this interest in protecting municipal drinking water. In addition, rising pollution […]
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Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: Newsboy Turned Schoolboy

Here is another window into education reform during the Progressive Era. Still holding a stack of newspapers tucked under his arm, this Philadelphia newspaper boy looks as though he was just pulled from his job on the street and put in front of the camera at school. Indeed, this photograph is labeled “Compulsory Education-Newsboy.” Taken […]
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Keeping the Children Well

  Today we take the school nurse for granted. Whenever a child scrapes his knee at recess or becomes ill and needs to go home early, the nurse is there. However, the school nurse and school medical inspections are, in America, largely a creation of the twentieth century. This photo, taken at the Alexander D. […]
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Look Mom, I’m Flying!

  Throughout Philadelphia’s history, photographers have enjoyed taking pictures from the upper levels of City Hall. This photo shows the hustle and bustle of Broad Street in the late 1920s. These kind of shots are helpful for seeing just how “broad” Broad Street really is, as well as for demonstrating traffic patterns during the period. […]
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