Author Archive

Sam Robinson

Sam Robinson is an attorney living in Philadelphia where his professional wanderings occasionally cause him to stumble across lost corners of the City landscape.

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

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

Preparing A Provident Future

Preparing A Provident Future

August 28, 2013  |  Vantage

From its three-masted ship atop a golden domed cupola, the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building has watched over its West Philadelphia neighborhood for 85 years. In telling its history, Sam Robinson finds the relationship between building and neighborhood tenuous. As the City makes plans to relocate the Police headquarters and Public Health offices there, the relationship might continue that way > more

Diffused Down Below: Philadelphia's Lost Vault Lights

Diffused Down Below: Philadelphia’s Lost Vault Lights

June 19, 2013  |  Vantage

In this old city—especially in Old City—plain old stone and concrete sidewalks are occasionally dotted by iron plates with small, thick pieces of glass. Sam Robinson goes underground to see how vault lights used to provide diffused light to commercial and residential basement spaces > more

Of Philadelphia Maps And Mapmakers

Of Philadelphia Maps And Mapmakers

May 31, 2013  |  Vantage

As the city grew, so too did the need to properly document its growth. Sam Robinson takes a look at how the insurance industry shaped mapping technology, and finds out who Hexamer, Bromley, and other familiar historic map names really are > more