Category Archives: Events and People

“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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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 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 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 […]
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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 […]
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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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‘There’s A Party Going On Right Here:’ Philadelphia Civic Celebrations – Part Three: Race, Redevelopment, and the Bicentennial

  From their inception, Philadelphia’s civic celebrations were invested with political messages and social values that, as the city’s population grew more diverse, often betrayed the politics of inclusion and exclusion in the City of Brotherly Love. As celebrations increasingly became city-wide endeavors, they served as a means to build communities, both real and imagined, […]
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There’s a Party Going On Right Here:’ Philadelphia Civic Celebrations – Part Two: The City and its Celebrations Come of Age

In the early years of the new nation, the Federalist and Republican parties each infused Philadelphia’s public celebrations with political messages and symbolic meaning, a precedent that organizers of civic observances continued in the latter half of the 19th century. As both Philadelphia’s population and geographic limits expanded, efforts to centralize municipal government led to […]
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