That Beloved Litany: The “City Of Firsts”

The world's first electrical computer was debuted in Philadelphia in 1946. Photo: Newsworks

  • The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia project’s “Phrasing Philadelphia” essay series returns with Michael Zuckerman’s “City Of Firsts,” offering up that familiar—and not so familiar—litany of innovative achievements of the city. To Zuckerman, professor emeritus at Penn, Philadelphians’ use of the phrase “signified a place that could look backward and appreciate its past as New York never did.”
  • Plan Philly reports on confusion within the city’s planning community concerning just when the riverfront overlay expires. Initial fears that developers would not need to follow the new proposal’s regulations are now thought to be ill-founded.
  • The Inquirer looks at the prospects for the reuse of the recently announced Catholic school closings. While past examples have been successfully re-geared as mixed use and fully residential units, large open spaces such as cafeterias and gyms admittedly cause problems.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

Send a message!



Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
PA Ballet Swings Wrecking Ball At North Broad Landmark

PA Ballet Swings Wrecking Ball At North Broad Landmark

May 21, 2018  |  News

A 107-year-old terra cotta treasure on Automobile Row will be demolished for a vacant lot. Michael Bixler has the story > more

Kensington Workshop Keeps Neighborhood Clocking In

Kensington Workshop Keeps Neighborhood Clocking In

May 16, 2018  |  Last Light

Inside a 124-year-old mill in Kensington, World Manufacturing Inc. is buzzing with work orders. Theresa Stigale puts us on the production line with this photo essay > more

Take Me Up To the Ball Game! Rediscovering The Bleacher Houses Of North Philly

Take Me Up To the Ball Game! Rediscovering The Bleacher Houses Of North Philly

May 15, 2018  |  Vantage

Dave Coyne gives us a rooftop view of old Shibe Park and the backstory behind Swampoodle's little-known "bleacher houses" > more

On Motherhood & The Circle Of Life At City Hall

On Motherhood & The Circle Of Life At City Hall

May 11, 2018  |  Soapbox

For Mother's Day, Stacey Meadows takes us inside the Register of Wills office at City Hall with this moving personal essay > more

Neighbors Vote

Neighbors Vote “No” On Christian Street Church Proposal

May 9, 2018  |  News

A new design proposal to demolish and develop the site of Christian Street Baptist Church is met with unanimous disapproval from neighbors. Starr Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

The Urban Conversation Of Row House Window Displays

The Urban Conversation Of Row House Window Displays

May 8, 2018  |  Vantage

Mabel Rosenheck peeks inside the front window to examine Philly's tradition of row house expression > more