Vantage

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

October 17, 2014  |  Vantage

With October at hand and Halloween on the way, we thought a series on historic cemeteries was most appropriate. Our first story presents the strange tale of thirty tombstones that sit embedded in the back wall of the Presbyterian Historical Society > more

Lisa Roberts: Inside A Design Mind

Lisa Roberts: Inside A Design Mind

October 14, 2014  |  Vantage

What makes good design and why should you care? Nathaniel Popkin talks to keen design observer Lisa Roberts, as her second book, DesignPop, launches tomorrow night at the Philadelphia Museum of Art > more

A Decade In, Reflecting On DesignPhiladelphia

A Decade In, Reflecting On DesignPhiladelphia

October 10, 2014  |  Vantage

Design Philadelphia's 10th year kicked off Wednesday night. With more than 130 events, the festival has come a long way since 2005. Marsha Gorshin takes a look back at their humble beginnings and the impact Design Philadelphia has made along the way > more

Let's Skate! Take A Spin Around Philly's Bygone Roller Rinks

Let’s Skate! Take A Spin Around Philly’s Bygone Roller Rinks

September 24, 2014  |  Vantage

We'll celebrate the Hidden City Daily's 3rd anniversary October 3 in one of city's best remaining roller rinks. Once, there were roller rinks in just about every neighborhood, says Rachel Hildebrandt, and like movie houses, you can spot some of them today > more

'Scared Half To Death,' Reporter Says

‘Scared Half To Death,’ Reporter Says

August 28, 2014  |  Vantage

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Columbia Avenue riot. For the second installment of our series, we have a first person account by Philadelphia Evening Bulletin reporter William Naulty, who was sent in to cover the mayhem on the night of August 28, 1964 > more

When Columbia Avenue Erupted

When Columbia Avenue Erupted

August 27, 2014  |  Vantage

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the Columbia Avenue riot, an incident that would deeply impact North Philadelphia and the politics of the city for decades to come. "When Columbia Avenue Erupted" is the first installment of a four-part series that begins today > more

Taking Back Taney: All-Star Little Leaguers Make Good A Sullied Name

Taking Back Taney: All-Star Little Leaguers Make Good A Sullied Name

August 20, 2014  |  Vantage

Taney Dragon fever is boiling red hot and we couldn't be prouder. Ryan Briggs looks into the name behind the team behind the street behind the gang behind the man > more

The Pintos: A Philadelphia Immigration Story, Told Through Art At Washington Avenue Pier

The Pintos: A Philadelphia Immigration Story, Told Through Art At Washington Avenue Pier

August 15, 2014  |  Vantage

With Pier 53 officially open on the Delaware Riverfront today, Philadelphia welcomes its newest park—and its newest piece of public art. Brad Maule profiles Jody Pinto's Land Buoy and the tale of art, nature, and immigration it weaves on the site where her father came to America with his family > more

The Other Shoe Drops On Modernist Landmark

The Other Shoe Drops On Modernist Landmark

August 13, 2014  |  Vantage

Coward Shoe Store on Chestnut Street was once a testament to post-war modernism. With demolition close at hand, the Stonorov and Kahn building gives way to the cycle of redevelopment > more

With Demolition Likely, RIP Dewey's Famous

With Demolition Likely, RIP Dewey’s Famous

August 11, 2014  |  Vantage

Bob Skiba reviews the pathbreaking LBGTQ history of Dewey's Famous coffee shop on 13th Street in Center City. The unusual one story building may be demolished > more

Life Anew For The Living Collections At The Barnes

Life Anew For The Living Collections At The Barnes

August 8, 2014  |  Vantage

When the Barnes Foundation moved to the Ben Franklin Parkway, they recreated the galleries Albert Barnes crafted to a T. But the Barnes' living collections—the trees and gardens that his wife Laura crafted to enhance the total Barnes Foundation experience—were immovable. Two years after the art's relocation, the gorgeous 12-acre Barnes Arboretum is open to the public in a way it never was before > more

At Laurel Hill, An 1830 Music Room Lives On

At Laurel Hill, An 1830 Music Room Lives On

August 7, 2014  |  Vantage

Thought all the vestiges of the Bicentennial were gone? Not this--a nearly 40 year old music series at Laurel Hill Mansion > more

An Anniversary To Forget: August 1, 1944

An Anniversary To Forget: August 1, 1944

August 1, 2014  |  Vantage

70 years ago, on August 1, 1944, white Philadelphia transit employees staged a wildcat strike to keep African Americans from becoming trolley drivers. At the height of the war effort, FDR had to step in > more

Lost & Found (And Lost Again)

Lost & Found (And Lost Again)

July 28, 2014  |  Vantage

Keep a close eye on construction sites and you sometimes see a hidden layer of history come to light. Peter Woodall has been saving up good examples for a while now and brings us this collection > more

Remembering The City’s Last Potter’s Field

Remembering The City’s Last Potter’s Field

July 23, 2014  |  Vantage

Reporter Michael Buozis finds himself in the Far Northeast hunting down the city's last potter's field, its only marker spray painted on a utility pole > more

With Pop-Up Beer Gardens Under Threat, Here's Why They Matter

With Pop-Up Beer Gardens Under Threat, Here’s Why They Matter

July 22, 2014  |  Vantage

With pop-up beer gardens seemingly everywhere (and now under threat), Nathaniel Popkin talks with the designer of most of them, David Fierabend of Groundswell Design Group, about the ideas behind the installations > more

Sci-Phi: Isaac Asimov’s West Philly Years

Sci-Phi: Isaac Asimov’s West Philly Years

July 18, 2014  |  Vantage

He's not often thought of as a Philadelphia writer, but Isaac Asimov, one of the towering figures of science fiction spent three years during World War II working at the Navy Yard and living in West Philly. Bart Everts has the story > more

Demolition Du Jour: Nicetown's Nazarene Baptist Church

Demolition Du Jour: Nicetown’s Nazarene Baptist Church

July 15, 2014  |  Vantage

Another Philadelphia house of worship has been called home to the Lord. Nicetown's Nazarene Baptist Church—whose congregation moved into a newer building next door in 1996—is coming down after 97 years on the corner of Lycoming and Nice Streets > more

The Monument Men

The Monument Men

July 9, 2014  |  Vantage

As the Bartram's Mile phase of the Schuylkill Banks development inches closer, the fate of the Newkirk Viaduct Monument remains unclear. Brad Peniston revisits the 176-year-old obelisk to learn more about the people inscribed on its base—and why they're important to remember > more

Three Centuries Of Song In Philadelphia

Three Centuries Of Song In Philadelphia

July 8, 2014  |  Vantage

Quaker influence kept the volume turned way down on early Philadelphia's musical output. The consecration of Old Swedes' Church in July 1700 changed that, and as Jack McCarthy writes, that first documented musical performance included an unlikely participant: Kelpius and his Mystics of the Wissahickon > more

Enduring Emergency Aid At 20th & Sansom

Enduring Emergency Aid At 20th & Sansom

June 26, 2014  |  Vantage

A World War I relief organization, the Empire State Building, an order of Catholic nuns, affordable housing, and gelato might not seem such obvious bedfellows, but they all play a part of the history of an eleven-story building at 20th and Sansom Streets. Constructed in 1926 and opened in 1927, the Warburton House actually took root a decade earlier, out of the establishment of the Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania > more

Philadelphia, Secretly Home To The World's Largest Mobile

Philadelphia, Secretly Home To The World’s Largest Mobile

June 23, 2014  |  Vantage

Sandy Calder, the youngest of three generations of Philadelphia artists bearing the name Alexander Calder, transformed modern sculpture with his mobiles. Believe it or not, his largest one—the largest interior mobile in the world, in fact—is here in Philadelphia. Brad Maule passed the security check at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia to profile White Cascade > more

Ode To Tom Sawyer Island

Ode To Tom Sawyer Island

June 19, 2014  |  Vantage

As work has begun in earnest to transform South Philadelphia's Pier 53 into the newest public amenity on the Delaware Riverfront, Michael Bixler can't help but get a little verklempt about its postindustrial predecessor, "Tom Sawyer's Island" > more

Frank Lloyd Wright's Sinai In The Suburbs

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Sinai In The Suburbs

June 17, 2014  |  Vantage

Though severely underrepresented in works by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Philadelphia's lone intact specimen shines brightly after 55 years. Brad Maule takes a trip to the suburbs to tour the landmark Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park > more

The Spring Garden Tunnel: A New Bike Route to West Philadelphia?

The Spring Garden Tunnel: A New Bike Route to West Philadelphia?

June 6, 2014  |  Vantage

The unused lane of Spring Garden's Street seems like a no-brainer to make for a safe bike passage under very-busy Eakins Oval. Or does it? Brendan Skwire tried it out for himself before deciding > more

The Unbuilt Vision For A Grand Cathedral Road

The Unbuilt Vision For A Grand Cathedral Road

June 5, 2014  |  Vantage

Like so many cities, Philadelphia had such grand postwar visions for urban renewal that only a fraction of them were built—thankfully. Among the unbuilt visions was a grand boulevard that would have linked the Main Line and Chestnut Hill—across new bridges over the Schuylkill and the Wissahickon. Brad Maule explores what might have been on Cathedral Road > more

Frank Shuman: Finding The Future In Tacony, A Century Ago

Frank Shuman: Finding The Future In Tacony, A Century Ago

May 30, 2014  |  Vantage

The next episode of the rebooted Cosmos television series is bound to ruffle some feathers as it takes on climate change and the carbon-based reasons for it. But the topic, and ways to combat it, are nothing new. Over a hundred years ago, Frank Shuman devised a prototype for solar power in Tacony—then took it to Egypt to put it to work irrigating the Nile > more

Rohm And Haas: The Plexiglas Palace At 50

Rohm And Haas: The Plexiglas Palace At 50

May 28, 2014  |  Vantage

At its annual achievement awards ceremony next week, the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia will recognize the Rohm & Haas Building for its 50th anniversary. Brad Maule explores how a collaboration designing the project—the first new building on Independence Mall—resulted in one of the largest multidisciplinary firms in the country > more

The Blue Window Building, Inside & Out

The Blue Window Building, Inside & Out

May 27, 2014  |  Vantage

It doesn't take much to make a boarded up building look a whole lot prettier--just ask the folks at the Trans-Atlantic Co., who've been painting their building's shuttered windows sky blue instead of red for decades > more

Dusting The Sand Off Of Philly's Tiki Heritage

Dusting The Sand Off Of Philly’s Tiki Heritage

May 21, 2014  |  Vantage

A Tiki bar soon will join in the Frankford Avenue renaissance. That may be Fishtown's first Tiki bar, but as Rachel Hildebrandt explains, it's hardly the first in Philadelphia, where we once had several Tiki bars at once > more

A New Life For Old Fairmount Park

A New Life For Old Fairmount Park

May 16, 2014  |  Vantage

With the release of The New Fairmount Park this week, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, and PennPraxis aim to patch disparate parts of the beloved but aging park. With connection at its core, the plan ranges from cheap and easy short-term goals to expensive and grandiose visions. Brad Maule argues the short-term items are enough to keep us busy for a while > more

Art In The Open In The Park On The River

Art In The Open In The Park On The River

May 12, 2014  |  Vantage

This weekend, the popular Schuylkill Banks trail will become an outdoor art gallery. Sarah Barr previews Art in the Open Philadelphia 2014 > more

Paced For Growth At 1900 Chestnut

Paced For Growth At 1900 Chestnut

May 8, 2014  |  Vantage

Whether a 26-story tower ultimately rises from it or not, the understated three-story Art Deco building at 19th & Chestnut will remain a testament to local Civil Rights. Brad Maule dips into the history of 1900 Chestnut, which pathbreaking lawyer Raymond Pace Alexander built in 1935 because no one would lease modern space suitable for his growing African American law firm > more

Taking On The G-Word In G-town

Taking On The G-Word In G-town

May 1, 2014  |  Vantage

Following Spike Lee's soliloquy on it in February, gentrification has a renewed place in the public discourse. That includes in Germantown, where last Saturday, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger moderated a panel discussion the topic. Theresa Everline weighs the concerns voiced there and examines how real the threat of gentrification is in the Northwest neighborhood > more

Mural Arts, Crossing The Tracks In Living Color

Mural Arts, Crossing The Tracks In Living Color

May 1, 2014  |  Vantage

With two weeks of work on Katharina Grosse's psychylustro set to begin today (weather permitting), the Mural Arts Program will brighten up five miles of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor with striking color. But what about the colors already there—the decades old graffiti? Brad Maule discusses conflicts and philosophies with the artist and Mural Arts' Jane Golden > more

On 60th Street, Sowing The Seeds Of Rebirth

On 60th Street, Sowing The Seeds Of Rebirth

April 24, 2014  |  Vantage

The first decade of the 21st Century was harsh on West Philadelphia's 60th Street. As the much-needed reconstruction of the 100-year-old Market-Frankford Line dragged on, businesses closed and people left. But now, a coalition of invested neighbors have high hopes for the corridor's renaissance. Theresa Stigale meets with many of the people bringing 60th Street back to life in this photo essay > more

Windows Into An Artist Surge Near Temple

Windows Into An Artist Surge Near Temple

April 10, 2014  |  Vantage

At Ninth & Dauphin, the Window Factory maintains its industrial past while bridging the artistic present on the edge of Temple University's North Philadelphia dominion. Philly History Truck curator Erin Bernard looks into the challenges developers face in preserving and adapting old factory buildings in transitioning neighborhoods > more

Transcendental Renovation

Transcendental Renovation

April 8, 2014  |  Vantage

In South Philly, where Pennsport blends into Whitman, a Cambodian Buddhist community blends into a fabric with Christian and Judaic roots. Michael Bixler has this essay of the Preah Buddah Rangsey Temple > more

Remembering the Downbeat: 1940s Progressive Philly Jazz Club

Remembering the Downbeat: 1940s Progressive Philly Jazz Club

April 7, 2014  |  Vantage

A show at the Society Hill Playhouse and a series of weekly happy hours at the Gershwin Y bring Dizzy Gillespie back into the spotlight. Jack McCarthy profiles Dizzy's years in Philadelphia and the Downbeat club that laid the foundations for his stardom > more

Fire The Latest Challenge At Fort Mifflin

Fire The Latest Challenge At Fort Mifflin

April 4, 2014  |  Vantage

Late last month a fire--and the water used to put it out--damaged the Officers' Quarters building at the ancient fort on the Delaware, a site of the 2013 Hidden City Festival. Peter Woodall went down to talk about the future of the site with Beth Beatty, the executive director of Fort Mifflin, assessing the damage amidst a long list of other critical capital projects > more

Ticonderoga To Toupees: Binder's Building On 13th Street

Ticonderoga To Toupees: Binder’s Building On 13th Street

April 2, 2014  |  Vantage

You can pass the Old Nelson Market and neighboring locksmith on 13th Street a hundred times and never notice it. But look up and see the pressed-tin sign advertising toupees, shampoo, and most noticeably, "ladies' and children's hairdressing." Molly Lester looks into the hairdresser Binder and finds an immigrant Civil War hero > more

From Streets to TEDx

From Streets to TEDx

March 27, 2014  |  Vantage

With a full day of speakers tomorrow and 'adventures' like the street art tour led by blogger and photographer Conrad Benner, TedxPhiladelphia promises to keep Philly's big ideas on the big stage all weekend. Theresa Stigale talks with Benner about his idea to run SEPTA's subway and el 24/7—and the attention it's received, including from SEPTA itself > more

Disrobed In Desertion

Disrobed In Desertion

March 26, 2014  |  Vantage

Photographer Sarah Bloom has built quite a body of work in abandoned places—with nude self-portraits. Ethan Wallace chats with her about process, product, and places > more

Talks With Juggernauts: Golden, Updike At Free Library For <em>Mural Arts @ 30</em>

Talks With Juggernauts: Golden, Updike At Free Library For Mural Arts @ 30

March 25, 2014  |  Vantage

Inga Saffron's latest takedown has the Mural Arts Program back in the middle of current public discourse. But it's no skin off the nose of the community-engagement juggernaut, as a full schedule of events marks their 30th anniversary, including this evening's book discussion at the Free Library > more

The Future Of 52nd Street, Seen From The Inside

The Future Of 52nd Street, Seen From The Inside

March 20, 2014  |  Vantage

Steve Ives grew up in Haddington and has spent most of his life in West Philadelphia. Now that he's living just off of 52nd Street, he considers whether West Philly's Main Street, long the line where gentrification stops, could become its next corridor > more

From Independence Square To Independence Square: Current Events Seen Through Philadelphia's Ukrainian Community

From Independence Square To Independence Square: Current Events Seen Through Philadelphia’s Ukrainian Community

March 5, 2014  |  Vantage

In the past month, Ukraine has taken the world stage through peaceful demonstrations that turned violent, an ousted president and resulting makeshift government, and now a looming crisis in Crimea as the Russian military moves in. The situation has the United States and European Union preparing for the worst. During the same period, our Theresa Stigale has followed events by meeting with the Ukrainian community of Philadelphia > more

High Priest Of The High Rise: Samuel I. Oshiver

High Priest Of The High Rise: Samuel I. Oshiver

February 25, 2014  |  Vantage

Though clearly overshadowed by others of his generation—Louis Kahn, Oscar Stonorov, Mitchell/Giurgola—there's a reason Philadelphia modernist Sam Oshiver was called "high priest of the high rise." Agathe Dorel and Brad Maule profile Oshiver's career, with special attention to his gargantuan opus, The Philadelphian > more

Saturdays At The Library Are Back In Holmesburg—And 11 Others

Saturdays At The Library Are Back In Holmesburg—And 11 Others

February 20, 2014  |  Vantage

This Saturday, a dozen branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia will begin six-day service—they'll open on Saturdays—for the first time in four years. For the occasion, Sarah Barr profiles her local, the Holmesburg Branch > more

Searching For The Lost South Philadelphia Improvements Under The 25th Street Elevated

Searching For The Lost South Philadelphia Improvements Under The 25th Street Elevated

February 18, 2014  |  Vantage

On the west side of South Philly, the 25th Street Elevated rail viaduct clearly defines it the boundaries of the Grays Ferry and Point Breeze neighborhoods. Over a dozen trains, including oil trains like the one that derailed over the Schuylkill River recently, rumble its weathering 86-year-old bones every day. Chris Dougherty goes back a century to find the Elevated’s origins in the heyday of the rail industry—and civic reform > more

The Roots Of The Gayborhood, The Eve Of A Milestone

The Roots Of The Gayborhood, The Eve Of A Milestone

February 14, 2014  |  Vantage

With this evening's opening reception of "That's So Gay," an exhibition at the Library Company of Philadelphia—at 13th & Locust—the Gayborhood formally kicks off a year's worth of celebrations leading up to the 50th anniversary of the Reminder Day demonstrations at Independence Hall that began on July 4, 1965. Gayborhood guru Bob Skiba traces the area's evolution from seedy red light district to mainstream mainstay > more

The Public-Minded Pedestrian Street

The Public-Minded Pedestrian Street

February 13, 2014  |  Vantage

In part two of his two-part series on pedestrian streets, Oscar Beisert takes a look at the kind built on purpose: post-Civil War thoroughfares on foot meant to beautify and improve the city's streetscape > more

Ed On Ed: Hidden City Chats With Rendell, Set To Receive Bacon Prize

Ed On Ed: Hidden City Chats With Rendell, Set To Receive Bacon Prize

February 12, 2014  |  Vantage

Former Mayor and Governor Ed Rendell will on Tuesday receive the 2014 Edmund N. Bacon Prize, given annually to someone for their accomplishments in planning, development, design, and community improvements. Rendell's advocacy and investment in infrastructure earned him this year's Prize. Hidden City co-editor Brad Maule talks with him about Bacon, water mains, Penn's Landing, preservation and more in this Q&A > more

A Mediterranean Breeze On Chestnut Street

A Mediterranean Breeze On Chestnut Street

February 10, 2014  |  Vantage

In the past two decades, Chestnut Street has gone through fits and starts trying to forge a retail renaissance along the historic corridor. And while CVS Pharmacy and 'preservationist' are hardly synonyms, the two coexist beautifully at 1424 Chestnut. Molly Lester looks back at the local connections that made Jacob Reed's Sons Store an architectural and retail landmark of the early 20th Century > more

February 8-9, 1964: When the Music Died in Philly

February 8-9, 1964: When the Music Died in Philly

February 7, 2014  |  Vantage

Fifty years ago, Philadelphia was at the heart of the American pop music scene. And then, almost overnight, it wasn't. Local music historian Jack McCarthy brings us the story > more

In Defense Of Consolidation, 160 Years Later

In Defense Of Consolidation, 160 Years Later

February 3, 2014  |  Vantage

If you think Philadelphia is provincial now, you should have seen it in 1853! On its 160th anniversary, Sam Robinson examines the history of the Consolidation Act of 1854, and the reasons it was necessary > more

Pedestrian Streets: Past, Present, and Future Footways

Pedestrian Streets: Past, Present, and Future Footways

January 30, 2014  |  Vantage

Across Philadelphia, thoroughfares as old as Walnut Street and as new as Martin Luther King Drive lead us where we're going. But, as Oscar Beisert uncovers, tucked in between them and dating back to the time of William Penn are small, pedestrian alleys and courts > more

New Book Celebrates Germantown Avenue Congregations

New Book Celebrates Germantown Avenue Congregations

January 29, 2014  |  Vantage

As readers of the Hidden City Daily know all too well, longtime houses of worship often struggle to survive. But some, including many along Germantown Avenue, have found ways to adapt—and reuse old, nondenominational spaces. Rachel Hildebrandt sits down with Katie Day, author of a new book about this very phenomenon > more

Photographing The Abandoned City

Photographing The Abandoned City

January 28, 2014  |  Vantage

Vincent Feldman's long-awaited book presents a haunting portrait of Philadelphia in the 1990s and early 2000s, when so many remarkable buildings were vacant or in ruins. We spoke with him last week > more

Evolution And Influence At Penn's Hill College House

Evolution And Influence At Penn’s Hill College House

January 22, 2014  |  Vantage

St. Louis got the Gateway Arch. New York got the TWA Flight Center and DC got Dulles. But Philadelphia? Eero Saarinen gave us the challenging Hill College House at Penn. Fátima Olivieri examines the influence of the modernist's 1960 women's dormitory, now a coed facility > more

What's In A Name: Clark Park

What’s In A Name: Clark Park

January 16, 2014  |  Vantage

For years, Clark Park has been the recreational (and in some ways cultural) heart of West Philly. It makes sense, as Bradley Peniston finds, that its namesake Clarence Clark had such a role in what would become the West Philly we know today > more

The Other Kahn

The Other Kahn

January 14, 2014  |  Vantage

Pragmatic, client-oriented, industrial: the architect Kahn. Wait, huh? Christopher Dougherty explores the work of the other Kahn, Detroit's Albert Kahn, who designed powerhouse buildings for the Ford and Packard Motor Companies on North Broad Street > more

On Vincent Kling, 1916–2013

On Vincent Kling, 1916–2013

January 13, 2014  |  Vantage

While Ed Bacon has earned his place as a household name in the lineage of Philadelphia's built environment, an awful lot of that came filtered through the desk of Vincent G. Kling, who quietly passed away a month and a half ago. Brad Maule looks back at what he's left Philadelphia > more

Following Allens/Allen's/Allen Lane to the Origins of Mount Airy

Following Allens/Allen’s/Allen Lane to the Origins of Mount Airy

January 9, 2014  |  Vantage

Across the street from the Wawa at Germantown Avenue and Allens Lane, a historical marker traces the roots of Mount Airy. William Allen, Chief Justice of colonial Pennsylvania—and British Loyalist—built his estate here in 1750. Neighborhood resident Brad Maule profiles Allen's influence on young Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, then considers s's and apostrophes on Allens/Allen's/Allen Lane > more

Lost Buildings of 2013-Part II

Lost Buildings of 2013-Part II

December 31, 2013  |  Vantage

Our Lost Buildings roundup concludes with five more entries, plus four that almost made the list > more

Lost Buildings of 2013--Part I

Lost Buildings of 2013–Part I

December 30, 2013  |  Vantage

For the third year, we're rounding up ten of the most remarkable, interesting or important buildings that got torn down this year. There's a lot to digest here, so we've split the list into two parts: five buildings today, five tomorrow > more

Tis The Season—For Wanamaker's

Tis The Season—For Wanamaker’s

December 20, 2013  |  Vantage

After years of change distorted and threatened the department store John Wanamaker perfected more than a century ago, Macy's has stabilized the store, preserving not only its success, but some of the landmarks that make it a Philadelphia legend—especially this time of year. Shadowbat traces the history of Center City's Wanamaker Building > more

In Kensington, Developers & Architects Confront The El

In Kensington, Developers & Architects Confront The El

December 19, 2013  |  Vantage

For the first time in decades, developers are building under the El. But how will they handle the many constraints--and the stigma of living "under the El?" Dan Shurley reviews a series of rather uneven new projects > more

Drexel's John Fry On Innovation Neighborhood, Schools, UCHS, & The Culture Of

Drexel’s John Fry On Innovation Neighborhood, Schools, UCHS, & The Culture Of “Moving Fast”

December 18, 2013  |  Vantage

This week, Hidden City's Nathaniel Popkin and Bradley Maule met with Drexel University President John Fry to talk campus development, partnerships, ideas for his proposed "innovation neighborhood," and his vision for integrated high density development linked to high speed rail > more

Black Is The New Red?

Black Is The New Red?

December 17, 2013  |  Vantage

Philadelphia's most important modern building--PSFS--is famously clad in black brick, a polished standout in the red brick city. Now, 80 years later, as Theresa Stigale reports, across the city black brick is back, and it's big > more

Endangered: Manayunk's Historic Shawmont Station

Endangered: Manayunk’s Historic Shawmont Station

December 11, 2013  |  Vantage

Historic? Yes, this one is. SEPTA's Shawmont Station, closed since 1996, is the oldest railway station in the U.S. It marked the birth of the single industry that would transform the city. Mike Szilagyi reports on its significance and ongoing attempts to save it > more

A Petaled Rose Of Hell: Refineries, Fire Risk, And The New Geography Of Oil In Philadelphia's Tidewater

A Petaled Rose Of Hell: Refineries, Fire Risk, And The New Geography Of Oil In Philadelphia’s Tidewater

December 10, 2013  |  Vantage

As Will Bunch reveals in his Daily News report today, the increasing rail transport of crude oil through the city may be a threat to public safety. In this investigation, Hidden City contributor Christopher Dougherty explores Philadelphia's dangerous history with oil refining and transport—and contemporary industry changes that are putting increased pressure on local infrastructure > more

The Cloisters, Revisited And Retold

The Cloisters, Revisited And Retold

December 3, 2013  |  Vantage

We're constantly bemoaning the loss of great neighborhood churches. At The Cloisters, adapted for housing in late the 1980s, developer Caroline Dunlop Millett saved a monumental building and used an innovative design to put it back to use. She tells her story here > more

309 South Broad Street: Endangered House Of Hits

309 South Broad Street: Endangered House Of Hits

November 25, 2013  |  Vantage

Dranoff Properties' plans for a hotel-condo tower mean the former home of the "Philadelphia Sound" and Cameo-Parkway Records will likely be torn down. Jack McCarthy turns up the volume on not just one, but two major record labels who've passed through the doors at 301-309 South Broad Street > more

Brewhouse, Jazzhaus, Ortlieb's Lives On

Brewhouse, Jazzhaus, Ortlieb’s Lives On

November 21, 2013  |  Vantage

Amidst the dust of the demolition of the Ortlieb's Brewery, the old Ortlieb's Brewhouse, where the beer was once supplied by pipe from the brewery, endures--a reminder of the Northern Liberties' beer history and the bar's magic run in the 1980s and 90s as a mainstay for jazz. Bart Everts has the story with Peter Woodall's photos > more

Three Days + 15 Hours, $6,000 To Go

Three Days + 15 Hours, $6,000 To Go

November 19, 2013  |  Vantage

Two years, two months, 12 days, 1,670 articles, here's the story of the Hidden City Daily. Now, it comes to this: we must hit our $10,000 goal for reader support by Friday > more

Ghost Hunting In The Row House City

Ghost Hunting In The Row House City

November 19, 2013  |  Vantage

In the city of row houses, nothing is forever, not even homes. But, when a row house is demolished, it often leaves hints of its life on the walls of its neighbors who live on. Profiling a Kensington row house, Molly Lester traces the history of one building ghost—and finds others around town > more

In West Philly, Redemption For A Strip Mall

In West Philly, Redemption For A Strip Mall

November 18, 2013  |  Vantage

Our pages are filled with stories of churches being demolished and replaced with prosaic architecture. But sometimes the process reverses. In West Philly, the University City Chinese Christian Church has transformed a languishing unfinished strip mall with subtly elegant modern architecture > more

Remembering Veterans With A Visit To Philadelphia National Cemetery

Remembering Veterans With A Visit To Philadelphia National Cemetery

November 11, 2013  |  Vantage

As America honors the brave men and women whose service keep the country free, Matt Szalwinski takes a moment to shine a little light on the Philadelphia National Cemetery in West Oak Lane > more

Celebrating Photography & The City

Celebrating Photography & The City

November 8, 2013  |  Vantage

We talk Philly Photo Day with the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center's Sarah Stolfa. Plus 25 more of our favorite images from this year's event > more

Behind <em>Philadelphia Maneto:</em> Dissecting The City Seal

Behind Philadelphia Maneto: Dissecting The City Seal

November 5, 2013  |  Vantage

A cornucopia, a scroll, a shield with a plough and a ship, a dismembered arm balancing scales, two gals named Peace and Plenty—they're everywhere you look. Sam Robinson finds that the Seal of Philadelphia as we know it dates to 1908, but its origins date back to the establishment of the modern City government in 1789 > more

Shining On The Schuylkill Banks

Shining On The Schuylkill Banks

November 4, 2013  |  Vantage

With an assist from the Commonwealth, the Schuykill River Development Corporation flipped the upgraded switch to relight the bridges over the Schuylkill River in Center City on September 26th. Brad Maule brings his camera and tripod for a stroll along the banks to bask in their glow > more

The Viaduct At The Heart Of Her Life And Art

The Viaduct At The Heart Of Her Life And Art

October 29, 2013  |  Vantage

Perhaps no one is more responsible for the vision of transforming the Reading Viaduct into a civic space and park than the acclaimed painter Sarah McEneaney. Nathaniel Popkin talks with McEneaney at Locks Gallery, where the painter's Viaduct-centered work comes together in "Trestletown" > more

Cutler On State Transit Funding, Bike Share & The Future

Cutler On State Transit Funding, Bike Share & The Future

October 22, 2013  |  Vantage

In just five years, the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities, under Rina Cutler, has assembled an impressive list of civic accomplishments. But with significant transportation funding in political limbo, SEPTA's fare system still working on "proof of concept," and Bike Share a year from launch, there are challenges ahead. Nathaniel Popkin speaks with Cutler and MOTU chief of staff Andrew Stober about the possibilities > more

<em>Philadelphia</em> In 1993: Bruised And Battered

Philadelphia In 1993: Bruised And Battered

October 18, 2013  |  Vantage

The 2013 Philadelphia Film Festival will host a screening of Jonathan Demme's seminal film starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington on Tuesday at the Prince. It took home two Academy Awards in 1993, one for Hanks' leading role and one for Bruce Springsteen's theme song. Brad Maule watches the song's video and marvels at how far we've come on the streets of Philadelphia, with farther still to go > more

Shohei Shigematsu, Reluctant Preservationist

Shohei Shigematsu, Reluctant Preservationist

October 18, 2013  |  Vantage

Architect Shohei Shigematsu was billed as a "preservation protagonist," but Aaron Wunsch found preservation largely missing from Shigematsu's talk Wednsday night, sponsored by Gray Area. Instead, Wunsch discovered an opening to talk about creativity and constraints in the design process > more

With Both Expanding, Can Recreational And Industrial Uses Coexist On The Delaware?

With Both Expanding, Can Recreational And Industrial Uses Coexist On The Delaware?

October 17, 2013  |  Vantage

Sandy Smith thinks through the issues as recreation and port activities come face to face along--and in--the Delaware > more

Philly's School Closings Captured By Local Photographers

Philly’s School Closings Captured By Local Photographers

October 16, 2013  |  Vantage

An exhibit by the Philadelphia School Closings Photo Collective documents public schools that have been closed across the city. Hidden City speaks with photographer Katrina Ohstrom, who has curated a selection of photos that opens tonight at the Scribe Video Center > more

At University City High, Possibility Amidst Pain

At University City High, Possibility Amidst Pain

October 10, 2013  |  Vantage

Certainly the most tantalizing school site to be going on the market is the seven acre University City High School Campus, wedged between Penn and Drexel. The history of institutional involvement, however, is long and painful, says Nathaniel Popkin, who meditates on past failures and future possibilities. Bradley Maule's photo essay on the school campus helps tell the story > more

As Central Northeast District Plan Moves Forward, Cottman Avenue Becomes Focus

As Central Northeast District Plan Moves Forward, Cottman Avenue Becomes Focus

October 8, 2013  |  Vantage

The Planning Commission's Central Northeast District Plan should be ready for action in the spring, but in the meantime they're engaging Northeast residents with meetings and workshops to guide their direction. Sandy Smith reports on last week's which focused on Cottman Avenue, Northeast's downtown > more

Previewing DesignPhiladelphia 2013

Previewing DesignPhiladelphia 2013

October 7, 2013  |  Vantage

DesignPhiladelphia 2013 kicks off this Wednesday. Vivienne Tang surveys this year's docket and checks in with director Hilary Jay for this preview > more

Tracing The 'Chinese Wall' In Center City

Tracing The ‘Chinese Wall’ In Center City

October 2, 2013  |  Vantage

Center City's highrise corridor is, relative to Philadelphia's 17th century origins, very young. Shadowbat turns back pages and goes underground to find the Pennsylvania Railroad's "Chinese Wall" foundations between Broad Street and 30th Street Station > more

For Penn's New Nanotech Center, Architecture To Shift Your Perspective

For Penn’s New Nanotech Center, Architecture To Shift Your Perspective

October 1, 2013  |  Vantage

Weiss/Manfredi delivers on a building that was designed from the inside out and outside in simultaneously, like the science it supports, a paean to wonder and imagination. Bradley Maule and Nathaniel Popkin tour the building with Penn Engineering dean Eduardo Glandt, who's now commissioned two of Philadelphia's most inspired buildings > more

How Philly Got Its Shape

How Philly Got Its Shape

September 26, 2013  |  Vantage

That strange Philly shape: how did it get there? And why? Steve Currall traces all the geopolitical, economic, municipal, and accidental sources that led to the setting of Philadelphia's boundaries, imaginary, and sometimes hidden lines of destiny > more

With Johnny Brenda's At 10, A Look Anew At Fishtown

With Johnny Brenda’s At 10, A Look Anew At Fishtown

September 24, 2013  |  Vantage

The time, it does fly. Johnny Brenda's, a benchmark in the rebirth of Fishtown, turns 10 years old this week. Brad Maule, who's spent a good bit of time hosting panels and hoisting pilsners during those years, looks into how JB's has helped effect change in the neighborhood > more

Neon, Or Not?

Neon, Or Not?

September 20, 2013  |  Vantage

Hidden City meets up with Len Davidson, who seeks a permanent home for his large and impressive collection of vintage neon signs, mostly made here for Philly businesses > more

Calling Doctor Kirkbride

Calling Doctor Kirkbride

September 19, 2013  |  Vantage

Holistic medical treatment? Compassionate psychiatric care? Palliative architecture and urban design? All of it pioneered in West Philadelphia by Thomas Kirkbride 170 years ago. Ethan Wallace has the story > more

Superstructure At 33rd In Thirds

Superstructure At 33rd In Thirds

September 13, 2013  |  Vantage

Little fanfare accompanies the short trek between Fairmount Park's East Park and Lemon Hill sections, but under your feet (or tires), the 33rd Street superstructure, including an unusual brick skew arch tunnel, is still doing the job it was created to do at the turn of the 20th Century > more

Saturday's Party For The Viaduct Underscores Progress, Exposes Challenges

Saturday’s Party For The Viaduct Underscores Progress, Exposes Challenges

September 12, 2013  |  Vantage

With public support building, Saturday's Rally for the Rail Park block party culminates a year of progress toward a Reading Viaduct Park. Key questions linger, however, as Nathaniel Popkin reports > more

Murder, Disco & Democrats on Baltimore Ave.

Murder, Disco & Democrats on Baltimore Ave.

September 5, 2013  |  Vantage

Early 20th century movie theaters have been converted into drug stores, supermarkets, churches, warehouses--and here, shop space for a printing company. Bart Everts has the scoop on the Ambassador Theater's colorful history > more

Broad & Lehigh's Landmark Botany 500 Building, Awaiting Its Next Life

Broad & Lehigh’s Landmark Botany 500 Building, Awaiting Its Next Life

September 4, 2013  |  Vantage

Hulking over Broad & Lehigh, a 10-story building built by the Ford Motor Company a century ago has lived a number of lives. Brad Maule wonders if it can live another > more