Author Archive

Christopher R. Dougherty

Christopher R. Dougherty is the longtime proprietor of NFR--"The Necessity for Ruins"--an online investigation of the region's built environments and cultural geography. He has an MA in American History from the University of Scranton and an MS is Community and Regional Planning from Temple University's School of Environmental Design.

Wooden Icons of New York City’s Skyline Still Hewn in Olney

Wooden Icons of New York City’s Skyline Still Hewn in Olney

September 28, 2017  |  Vantage

For the last 163 years, the Hall-Woolford Tank Company has supplied the Big Apple with its most enduring skyline icon: the rooftop water tank. Contributor Chris Dougherty takes us into the shop of the Olney manufacturer where the spirit of Workshop of the World is alive and well > 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

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 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

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