The middle of the 19th century was a particularly lawless and turbulent time for American cities, and Philadelphia with its very diverse population was one of the most violent. Irish immigrants were the victims of a great deal of bigoted stereotyping, usually portrayed as ignorant, brawling drunkards. Worse, they were a “foreign” element not to be trusted. Their loyalty was not to their new nation but to a “Papist” church, its “evil priests” and “despotic Pope.” Inflammatory anti-Catholic pamphlets proclaimed that once the Irish population was large enough, they would take over America. Riots were commonplace, but the bloodiest riots of the era, without question, exploded in the summer of 1844 when Protestant “Native Americans” battled Irish Catholics in a two-part street war that left about 25 dead and more than 100 wounded and injured. Two large Catholic churches, a rectory and a seminary were burned to the ground and scores of houses set on fire. Click here to purchase the book.

 

At the crossroads of Center City, Philadelphia, stands city hall, an architectural and sculptural masterpiece whose size and beauty rival the grand structures found in the capitals of Europe. Shortly after the Civil War, city hall embraced the community's need for a new municipal building while filling the visionary desire of its designers to underscore Philadelphia's reputation as "the Athens of America." Thirty years later stood a monumental structure that was easily the largest building in North America and one of the most beautiful, displaying over two hundred fifty pieces of sculpture. Philadelphia's City Hall illuminates the fascinating account of the building's controversial origin, its symbolic sculptural program, and the largest statue topping a building in the world. These stunning photographs highlight a marvel of masonry and community vision created by a city with the desire to show the world what it could produce. Click here to purchase the book.

 

Philadelphia's River Wards is the story of five remarkable neighborhoods that line the banks of the Delaware River from Vine Street to the Frankford Creek: Northern Liberties, Kensington, Port Richmond, Frankford, and Bridesburg. The first white settlers arrived in the area in the 1600s, and the population grew with the influx of European immigrants in the 1800s and early 1900s. Industry flourished as fabric and textile mills sprang up and shipyards and terminals lined the waterfront. In 1922, the Frankford El, a technological marvel, forever changed the face of transportation in the area, connecting the River Wards to the far reaches of the city. Philadelphia's River Wards captures this history in more than two hundred vintage photographs, rare maps, and historical drawings. Click here to purchase the book.

 

 

There is no member of the United States Marine Corps who is not aware of the importance of Tun Tavern to the Corps origins. To Freemasons in America, Tun Tavern is an important part of their story. Yet little is known of its history. Historian George Holmes has compiled the most concise account to date on the establishment that played such a vital role in early Philadelphia history when the city was new. Within the pages of Tun Tavern Freemasons and Marines will find the story of their beginnings in the City of Brotherly Love, told as part of the history of the simple edifice whose story is anything but simple. The handbook has many pictures and illustrations that serve as a record of the events that took place in the Tun whose enigmatic history is pieced together with satisfying clarity within its pages. Click here to purchase the book.

 

Former Philadelphia Northeast high school principal Harry Silcox, aand life long resident of the City of Brotherly love tells the story of Philadelphia northeast resident Marine hero Al Schmid is blinded in battle and returns home to be rehabilitated. He readjusts to his civilian life with the help of his soon to be wife. Hollywood made a full lenght motion picture called Pride of the Marines. Click here to see the interview.

 

 

Roland was the ultimate pioneer of hosting Friday night horror flicks. Born John Zackerly from Philadelphia. Goulish props and cheap TV stages was his shtick. Also imputing himself into scenes of the movies he was showing. After a few seasons Zackerly got a better gig in New York, but for legal copyright reasons the name Roland remained behind. He continued to frighten children on friday evenings, but using the name Zackerly. Zackerly appeared in a few B movies during his long career. Click here view the video.

 

There she blows. Since the early 1900s South Philadelphia Pier 122 has loaded billions of tons of coal on ships for around the world. Trained down from Pennsylvanias mountains, this gantry would go 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Click here to view it's demise.

 

 

Half ball, wire ball, step ball, chink, dead box, In the 1950s a time when things were much simpler. A time before the internet, vidio games Kids used their imagination. Along with a few local philly personalities, and some old factory buildings and urban streets they are explained. Click here to view the video.

 

What do you do with an old skate, an old milk box and a hunk of 2x4? You make a scooter. Click here for a video instruction and demonstration. Click here to view the video.

 

 

A few church goers wanted a new neighborhood church, but didn't have the money. Someone no one knows, came up with the idea of building the church from worn 3 foot saw grinding wheels. The local Diston saw company was glad to give the perishioners all there worn wheels. Before they knew it, they were worshiping in a church that still stands today 100 years old. Click here for the video.

 

A collection of images I did from some of the most eerie places in Philadelphia. Byberry, the old power house, abandoned factories and other places long gone. All to the backround music of Vangellis. Click here for the video.