Category Archives: Events and People

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. […]
Also posted in Neighborhoods | Comments closed

“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 […]
Also posted in Historic Sites, Uncategorized | Comments closed

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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When Guion Bluford, the first African American in space, came home

November 1983: Guion Bluford speaks at a press conference in City Hall upon his homecoming after his first successful space mission. By Yael Borofsky for PhillyHistory.org Guion Bluford — he goes by Guy — is the man at the center of all that attention in the photo to the left. Nearly thirty years after becoming […]
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Schuykill River Floods, March 1902

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station During Flood – Flooded Train Shed. With the recent record levels of rainfall in Philadelphia, images such as these two photos have unfortunately become a familiar sight in our area. Though most Philadelphians do not remember another time when there seemed to be so much water everywhere, the city is […]
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A Special Relationship: Philadelphia and Great Britain

With the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton dominating the news, we here at PhillyHistory.org have been reflecting on the historical ties between Philadelphia and Great Britain, many of which are captured in our photo collections. As a former colony of Great Britain, the United States has always maintained a special relationship with […]
Also posted in Urban Planning | Comments closed

Touching Liberty (Literally)

The photographic archives of the Office of the City Representative document decades of visits to Philadelphia by various dignitaries, diplomats, and VIPs, both domestic and foreign. And of course, no visit to Philadelphia would be complete without a stop at one of the iconic symbols of America, the Liberty Bell. As the photos show, being […]
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Goats Versus Mules: The Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia

  Much like the city of Philadelphia itself, the annual college football match-up between the U.S. Military and Naval Academies, colloquially known as the Army-Navy Game, has a storied history that echoes that of the city in which the match has been held more than any other. Since the Army-Navy Game’s inception in 1890, Philadelphia […]
Also posted in Entertainment | Comments closed

Grover Cleveland Bergdoll: “The Fighting Slacker of Fairmount”

Louis C. Bergdoll arrived in America in June 1846 from Germany and in 1849 founded a brewery in the heart of the appropriately-named Brewerytown neighborhood. The Bergdoll brand became one of the most popular brews in America and made Louis Bergdoll a multi-millionaire. Flush with cash, he then set about planning a new dynastic seat […]
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