Vantage

Taking Inventory With The Philadelphia Church Project

Taking Inventory With The Philadelphia Church Project

June 26, 2015  |  Vantage

The fabric of Philadelphia's sacred architecture is slowly disintegrating as religious neighborhood landmarks give way to new construction. The Philadelphia Church Project, a growing online record of the city's historic sancturaries, has been steadily amassing a church database for almost 8 years. Hidden City co-editor Michael Bixler checked in with the founder of the website to discuss church closings and the project in detail > more

Building Trails From The Past To The Future In Fairmount Park

Building Trails From The Past To The Future In Fairmount Park

June 23, 2015  |  Vantage

In West Fairmount Park, a network of trails—hiking, biking, cross country—weaves across itself with seemingly little rhyme or reason. But the Fairmount Park Conservancy is leading a project with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to make the trails more sustainable and promote their use with better signage. Plan Philly's Jared Brey and Hidden City's Brad Maule lace up the boots and hit the trail > more

In Search Of Peace, 150 Years After The Civil War

In Search Of Peace, 150 Years After The Civil War

June 19, 2015  |  Vantage

Wednesday night's massacre in Charleston, South Carolina hit a little close to home here in Philadelphia. Brad Maule tries to find peace, if not make sense, of what happened > more

When Modernism Took A Pew At St. Francis De Sales

When Modernism Took A Pew At St. Francis De Sales

June 12, 2015  |  Vantage

St. Francis de Sales church Cedar Park broke from tradition in the late 1960's when former pastor Father John McNamee hired Venturi Scott Brown to re-conceptualize the sanctuary's alter with a dramatic Modern design. The experiment was too radical for most and was taken down within a year. Dan Papa has the background on the controversial project and gives an exclusive look inside the stunning sacred space > more

Innovation & Technology: Foster On Process And Influence At New Comcast Tower

Innovation & Technology: Foster On Process And Influence At New Comcast Tower

June 10, 2015  |  Vantage

As it rises out of the construction site at 18th and Arch Streets, the Comcast Innovation & Technology Center will lead the Philly skyline into the future as the city's new tallest building. Last night its architect, Lord Norman Foster, spoke of his process and influences as he accepted the 2015 Louis I. Kahn Memorial Award > more

To Preserve And Protect: Preservation At A Crossroads In Philadelphia

To Preserve And Protect: Preservation At A Crossroads In Philadelphia

June 5, 2015  |  Vantage

Philadelphia's stock of history-rich architecture is in jeopardy, and the time for proactive preservation reform within city government is now. Tireless advocates like Hidden City contributor Oscar Beisert, who goes before the Historical Commission next Tuesday with 4 nomination applications, including St. Laurentius Church, are the driving force behind getting buildings protected these days. Beisert shares his thoughts and perspective on the need to invest in our remaining architectural heritage with this passionate personal essay > more

Marked Potential: Robinson Building

Marked Potential: Robinson Building

June 3, 2015  |  Marked Potential, Vantage

Next up in our Marked Potential series is the Robinson Building at 10th and Market. Interior architect and designer Shila Griffith envisions a multi-screen documentary film theater complex and filmmaker workspace behind the scrolling, Modernist facade of the former women's department store > more

Design And Density Problems Plague Boyd Project

Design And Density Problems Plague Boyd Project

May 29, 2015  |  Developing Challenges, Vantage

Pearl Properties' latest plans for 1900 Chestnut Street and the Boyd Theater were unanimously voted down on Tuesday by the Architecture Committee of the Philadelphia Historical Commission amid a room full of applause. Contributor and in-house urbanist Stephen Stofka takes a look at the unsavory design and where the firm keeps getting it wrong > more

Then And Now: North Broad And Lehigh

Then And Now: North Broad And Lehigh

May 22, 2015  |  Then & Now, Vantage

The square block at North Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue has been a bit worse for wear for decades. Though, with recent, high-stakes investment North of City Hall, that may soon change, returning the area to its former glory when the Philadelphia Phillies claimed the block for their first home stadium, Baker Bowl. Jennifer Rogers brings it all back with her series, Then and Now > more

Beyond The Blue Bin: On The Floor Of Citywide Curbside Recycling

Beyond The Blue Bin: On The Floor Of Citywide Curbside Recycling

May 20, 2015  |  Vantage

Ever wonder what happens to those plastic bottles and cardboard boxes after they leave your blue bin? Hidden City's Michael Bixler ventures deep into Philadelphia's curbside recycling machine in Grays Ferry > more

Is This The Train Tragedy We'll Learn From? (Updated)

Is This The Train Tragedy We’ll Learn From? (Updated)

May 13, 2015  |  Vantage

It's hard to imagine last night's Amtrak tragedy being any worse when at least seven people are confirmed dead. But the derailed Train 188 stopped just shy of a parked oil train. Brad Maule ponders the disinvestment of both Amtrak and infrastructure—and the increase in both Amtrak ridership and oil train frequency > more

Incubating Philly Jazz Talent At Music City

Incubating Philly Jazz Talent At Music City

May 13, 2015  |  Vantage

Music City on Chestnut Street was the spot for aspiring jazz musicians in the 1950s. Famous players like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Stan Getz would often take time out from gigging in town to give impromptu performances and technical sessions to young instrumentalists at the popular music store. Philadelphia music historian Jack McCarthy lights up another smoking chapter from the city's robust jazz era > more

Oasis Of The Obscure On Bainbridge Street Celebrates 30 Years

Oasis Of The Obscure On Bainbridge Street Celebrates 30 Years

May 4, 2015  |  Vantage

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Anastacia’s Antiques, a vibrant cavern of curiosities in the heart of Bella Vista. Over the last three decades the owners have curated one of the most artfully surreal retail experiences in the city. Milady Nazir walk us through the looking glass in South Philly > more

Modernist Monument To Mid-Century Expansion And The Rise Of The Northeast

Modernist Monument To Mid-Century Expansion And The Rise Of The Northeast

May 1, 2015  |  Vantage

The Northeast Regional Library on Cottman Avenue was built with a Modernist eye and a civic mind. Part of the Free Library's 1956 Regional Plan to put a library within 15 minutes of every Philadelphian's doorstep, the branch was also the first in the area, officially unifying the relatively new neighborhood with the rest of the city. Molly Lester looks at the origins of Northeast Philadelphia expansion through the lens of this award winning Mid-Century mainstay > more

The Other Side Of The Tracks: A Tale Of Two Trestles

The Other Side Of The Tracks: A Tale Of Two Trestles

April 29, 2015  |  Vantage

The city is full of incidental boundaries that can often shape an area's socioeconomic character and influence housing prices and future development. More often than not, rail lines break neighborhoods into highly divided sections, creating an urban rift between prosperity and blight. David Hilbert examines the economics behind the "right" and "wrong" side of the train tracks in West Philly and Port Richmond > more

Getting Wise To Watershed Waste With <em>One Man's Trash</em>

Getting Wise To Watershed Waste With One Man’s Trash

April 22, 2015  |  Vantage

Today is Earth Day and Bradley Maule has a bone to pick with Philadelphia. He just spent 52 weeks picking up our litter in the Wissahickon Valley and his collection isn't pretty. His evocative environmental art installation, One Man's Trash, opens today, April 22nd, at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center. HC co-editors Michael Bixler and Maule caught up to get into some trash talk. > more

Fragments Of The Franco Belgium Society In Frankford

Fragments Of The Franco Belgium Society In Frankford

April 20, 2015  |  Vantage

Underneath a thick coating of concrete and graffiti lies the former home of The Franco Belgium Society. Memories of the French and Belgian presence that arrived in Frankford during WWI has mostly been lost to a neighborhood exodus in the 1960's and fading recollections. Contributor Max Marin gathers the last remaining fragments of the community and the clubhouse on Deal Street > more

The Curious Case Of Body Snatching At Lebanon Cemetery

The Curious Case Of Body Snatching At Lebanon Cemetery

April 13, 2015  |  Vantage

Like many of the city's historic resting places, Lebanon Cemetery in South Philadelphia eventually gave way to urban expansion. Though, shortly before the African-American burial ground was developed for what is now Point Breeze and Girard Estates, a firestorm of sensational headlines erupted in the late 1800's after a grave robber was apprehended while allegedly stealing corpses for Jefferson Medical College. Contributor Erin McLeary has the lurid details > more

Marked Potential: District Health Center #1

Marked Potential: District Health Center #1

April 8, 2015  |  Marked Potential, Vantage

It is one thing to come up with creative ideas for reusing buildings worthy of a second life and another to blueprint the bones of a solid plan. Interior architect and designer Shila Griffith does both with her new series, "Marked Potential." First up is the curvy, mid-century modern Public Health Center #1 at Broad and Lombard > more

Many Ways To Skin A Row House

Many Ways To Skin A Row House

April 5, 2015  |  Vantage

As the housing boom hammers along developers continue to experiment with residential façade design leaving simple, brick and mortar row home exteriors looking almost quaint. Ariel and Grace Diliberto checks out a few new faces in the neighborhood with this row house roundup > more

With New Center Coming, Remembering The Southern Home For Destitute Children

With New Center Coming, Remembering The Southern Home For Destitute Children

April 2, 2015  |  Vantage

The South Philadelphia Branch of the Free Library was recently leveled to make way for construction of the Community Health and Literacy Center, a wellness and educational partnership between Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, FLP, and the City. Long before the former library's tenure at Broad and Morris Streets, an orphanage claimed the large rectangular block from 1891 to 1960. HC contributor Sarah Kennedy got in touch with former residents of The Southern Home For Destitute Children, bringing up fond memories and a lasting affection for their childhood home away from home > more

The Industrial Bones Of South Philadelphia

The Industrial Bones Of South Philadelphia

March 27, 2015  |  Vantage

Think of Pier 70 and picture of the many many shopping options, from Walmart and Home Depot to Superfresh and AC Moore. But think of it a century ago for a totally different picture of industrial South Philadelphia. Theresa Everline tells the story of Baugh & Sons, a bygone major fertilizer company on the riverfront > more

Surveying The Damage With <em>Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences</em>

Surveying The Damage With Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences

March 25, 2015  |  Vantage

A picture is worth a thousand words, but some can leave you speechless. We caught up with photographer Matthew Christopher to discuss a nation in architectural decline and his new book, "Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences" > more

A Look At Temple University's Demolition History

A Look At Temple University’s Demolition History

March 18, 2015  |  Vantage

Philadelphia preservationists have taken a wrecking ball to the gut in recent days, with the Boyd Theatre currently coming down and the fate of the legendary Blue Horizon sealed by the Philadelphia Historical Commission's choice to not designate its interior. Meanwhile, just up North Broad Street, Temple University is in the midst of a demolition spree, in some cases with no plans to replace what it's knocking down. Rachel Hildebrandt surveys what's been lost through almost 70 years of campus expansion > more

The Hidden Patterns Of Ownership In Northern Liberties And Grays Ferry

The Hidden Patterns Of Ownership In Northern Liberties And Grays Ferry

March 11, 2015  |  Vantage

Grays Ferry and Northern Liberties are both two miles from City Hall and mirror each other in percentage of renters. Tracing the addresses of landlords in both areas, David Hilbert examines affluence and poverty through property owner distance and neighborhood investment > more

Shining A Light On The Beacon Of Boathouse Row

Shining A Light On The Beacon Of Boathouse Row

March 9, 2015  |  Vantage

The peaceful Schuylkill River was once a bustling aquatic highway of commercial marine activity. Turtle Rock lighthouse was built in the late 1800s to keep traffic away from the river banks and Fairmount Water Works. Over a decade later the first all-female athletic club on the river built their clubhouse around the beacon, preserving the lighthouse for future admiration and intrigue. Contributor Maria Gorshin illuminates this present day curiosity of Boathouse Row > more

Penn Takes

Penn Takes “Collage” Approach To Preservation With Perry World House

March 6, 2015  |  Vantage

Not every historic building in the city can be saved, though total demolition doesn't have to be the final answer either. Co-editor Michael Bixler looks at a third way at Perry World House, now under construction, in conversation with University of Pennsylvania campus architect David Hollenberg > more

On Front Street, A Warehouse With A Sacred Past Seeks Salvation

On Front Street, A Warehouse With A Sacred Past Seeks Salvation

March 4, 2015  |  Vantage

Kensington was once home to generations of Presbyterians and their houses of worship peppered the neighborhood. One of the denomination's oldest surviving churches in the area was just put up for sale after being used as a building supply warehouse since the 1950s. Oscar Beisert digs deep into the former lives of Second Associate Presbyterian and unearths a strong case for preservation > more

Under Inspection: Five Residential Projects Currently Breaking Ground

Under Inspection: Five Residential Projects Currently Breaking Ground

February 25, 2015  |  Vantage

Boon times for our evolving skyline as large-scale construction projects pop up all over the city, but how will the designs hold up when the buildings are complete? Hidden City contributor and urbanist inspector Stephen Stofka puts an eye on five big residential projects about to begin > more

Winter Whiteout 2015

Winter Whiteout 2015

February 23, 2015  |  Vantage

Though last month's Storm of the Century resulted in little else than a dusting and forecaster embarrassment, this winter has meant serious business. Thanks to the brutal recent cold snap, Philadelphia has had its coldest February in over 30 years. Top the frozen landscape with 4-6" of Saturday's surprise snowfall, and the big city turns to Currier & Ives. Brad Maule tips his cap to the old romantics with this snowy walk through Fairmount Park > more

At Liberty Place, The Ghost Of Hot Jazz

At Liberty Place, The Ghost Of Hot Jazz

February 20, 2015  |  Vantage

Long before One Liberty Place leveled the area with sky-high apartments and upscale shopping, Ranstead Street used to belong to Billy Krechmer. His little jazz club burned with Swing and Dixieland brass for over 28 years. Music historian and archivist Jack McCarthy has the skinny on this long-lost gem > more

A Row House Full Of Romance At Yerkes Wedding Salon

A Row House Full Of Romance At Yerkes Wedding Salon

February 13, 2015  |  Vantage

Valentine's Day is tomorrow and affection is in the air. If you want to make it legal, Yerkes Wedding Salon on Baltimore Pike offers everlasting matrimony for only $100. Contributor Kyrie Greenberg has this endearing story about a civil ceremony business that has been fast tracking couples looking to get hitched for over 100 years > more

A Winter's Walk Around East Park Reservoir

A Winter’s Walk Around East Park Reservoir

February 6, 2015  |  News, Vantage

The quiet season has set in on the abandoned, nature-reclaimed West Basin lake at East Park Reservoir. On one of the the last winter mornings before humans are reintroduced, Hidden City co-editor Michael Bixler took a chilly hike with Autubon PA and Outward Bound to hear what the future holds for this extraordinary, urban wildlife sanctuary > more

Urban Farmers Look To Land Bank For Help Holding On To Property

Urban Farmers Look To Land Bank For Help Holding On To Property

January 30, 2015  |  Developing Challenges, Vantage

With the Land Bank finally open for business, urban gardeners and farmers hope for legal protection against the City's "Revoke Clause." Hidden City contributor and Kensington farmer Nic Esposito digs deep into the issue > more

Bell Of The Ball: Philadelphia's Short-Lived <em>Other</em> Football Team

Bell Of The Ball: Philadelphia’s Short-Lived Other Football Team

January 29, 2015  |  Vantage

This Sunday, professional football serves up its biggest feast in its annual Super Bowl spectacle. With the Eagles watching from home again, Matt Szalwinski dusts off some sports history to remember some other local pros who've hit the gridiron, including the 1970s' Philadelphia Bell > more

With Ice And Coal Building's Murals Gone, Is Italian Market Development Coming?

With Ice And Coal Building’s Murals Gone, Is Italian Market Development Coming?

January 26, 2015  |  Vantage

The community mural wall at 9th and Ellsworth is all but a gray-washed memory today. A barrier for the empty lot where the Ice And Coal building once stood, it stands a fine example of artists pitching it to tackle urban blight. Daniel Shurley takes us down to South 9th Street, where plans for a Business Improvement District, and possibly a new, creative life for the wall, are currently in the works > more

Lost Buildings Of 2014

Lost Buildings Of 2014

January 16, 2015  |  Vantage

Our annual review of significant Philadelphia buildings lost to demolition includes significant sites of gay, Jewish, and retail history along with the usual churches and industrial buildings > more

The Last Synagogues Of Strawberry Mansion

The Last Synagogues Of Strawberry Mansion

January 7, 2015  |  Vantage

In a city of layers, Michael Buozis uncovers a certain palimpsest: the synagogues of Strawberry Mansion, fulcrum of Jewish life between the two world wars > more

Architects From Across The Globe Converge On Washington Square To Reimagine The Athenæum For 2050

Architects From Across The Globe Converge On Washington Square To Reimagine The Athenæum For 2050

December 22, 2014  |  Vantage

Distinctly perceptive insights on architecture, history, preservation, and the role of the library in the city among the winning visions for the Athenæum of Philadelphia in the year 2050 > more

Trove Of Philly-Centric Books For The Holidays

Trove Of Philly-Centric Books For The Holidays

December 16, 2014  |  Vantage

If you're looking for holiday books with a Philly bent, Nathaniel Popkin has ten new ones--from art to essays to history, biography, and policy--to suit the readers on your list > more

Under Inspection: Urbanism And University City's New Apartment Towers

Under Inspection: Urbanism And University City’s New Apartment Towers

December 10, 2014  |  Vantage

Four new residential towers are transforming the West Philly skyline, changing the landscape above and altering our visual environment below. Hidden City contributor and in-house urbanist Stephen Stofka pulls out the red pen and puts them through the test > more

Postmortem: Not Bad

Postmortem: Not Bad

December 9, 2014  |  Vantage

The PNB letters, in place for nearly six decades, are gone. Brad Maule weighs the visual and psychological change in the context of the hot real estate market. Plus, a Maule treat for a donor to our Fall Campaign on its last day > more

In Search Of The Source

In Search Of The Source

November 26, 2014  |  Vantage

As gorgeous a landscape as the Wissahickon Creek carves through Philadelphia, it couldn't possibly begin its journey to the Schuylkill as an inlet from a shopping mall parking lot. Could it? Brad Maule heads to the suburbs to find out > more

The Gilded Mall Of Market Street: Gimbels Had It

The Gilded Mall Of Market Street: Gimbels Had It

November 24, 2014  |  Vantage

Where the great Gimbels department store once stood a parking lot sits today. With the recent rejection of a casino license for the site, it looks like it may stay that way for now. Shadowbat has the story behind this long gone, cherished Philadelphia institution and the development black hole that is left in its place at 8th and Market > more

We Haven't Forgotten: Gimbels Thanksgiving Parade Was The First

We Haven’t Forgotten: Gimbels Thanksgiving Parade Was The First

November 24, 2014  |  Vantage

Another first Philadelphia can claim is inventing the Thanksgiving Day parade. Gimbels department store started it all in 1920. Kyrie Greenberg gives us the backstory on this iconic public celebration > more

12th Street Gym Is Great, But It Used To Be The <em>Shvitz</em>

12th Street Gym Is Great, But It Used To Be The Shvitz

November 19, 2014  |  Vantage

Nothing says healthy living like a corned beef sandwich, a lit cigar, and the sauna. Ron Avery gives us an old-world tour of Camac Baths, the former Jewish bathhouse at 12th Street Gym > more

The <em>Cobertizos</em> Of Kensington

The Cobertizos Of Kensington

November 5, 2014  |  Vantage

Steeped in culture, community, and a sense of ownership, Kensington's porch cages are anything but a neighborhood quirk. Michael Buozis brings us this latin-infused story of tradition and architectural modification > more

City For Families? Millennial Parents Say So

City For Families? Millennial Parents Say So

October 28, 2014  |  Vantage

If schools are a key to retaining families, what is Philadelphia to do? Quite a lot, says David Feldman, who takes us inside the parent and community-led movement to invest in ten public elementary schools > more

A Monumental Shift At Dilworth Park

A Monumental Shift At Dilworth Park

October 24, 2014  |  Vantage

Olin's design for Dilworth Park gives Philadelphia what it has long struggled for: a suitably grand approach to the monumental City Hall, says Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin. Here's his review of the park, now essentially complete > more

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