Our Mission

Hidden City Philadelphia of CultureTrust is dedicated to exploring Philadelphia’s urban landscape in all its complexity through journalism and public history. 

The Hidden City Daily, our online publication, acts as a watchdog for historic preservation in Philadelphia. We also delve deeply into architecture, urbanism, photography, public art, city life and Philly history. Our goal is to surprise, delight and inform our readers. To view our editorial policies, click here.

Our Hidden City Tours aim to change the way local folks look at familiar places, and to illuminate Philadelphia’s often neglected post-colonial history. Tours range from members-only visits inside extraordinary sites such as the vacant Red Bell Brewery, to walking tours that explore places such as Mt. Moriah Cemetery, the Lost Jewish Quarter, and Subterranean Philadelphia.

Our Story

Hidden City Philadelphia grew out of founder Thaddeus Squire’s interest in exploring old estates, churches and factories. He went on to create the Hidden City Festival in 2009, which featured site-specific contemporary art and performances at nine obscure or abandoned places, including the Met Opera House and Disston Saw Works. The festival received the 2010 Henry J. Magaziner Award from the AIA’s Philadelphia Chapter  “recognizing an individual or organization outside the fields of preservation and design that has made a significant contribution to the preservation of the built environment”

A second festival was held in 2013. Today, Hidden City is a non-profit organization that remains dedicated to connecting local residents to Philadelphia. Our online publication, the Hidden City Daily, covers Philly’s urban landscape, while our tour program explores the city’s post-colonial history. 

Hidden City received the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office’s Community Initiative Award in 2016, and the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s Advocacy Award in 2019.