History & Archaeology

    • Toynbee Tile at 34th and Chestnut

Philly’s Toynbee Tiles are slowly dying out. Will the Streets Dept. be able to resurrect a few?

The Streets Department cares about Philly’s street art. No, I’m not talking about Streets Dept., the photographer with 143,000 followers on Instagram, although Mr. Benner obviously cares a little bit…

    • Schuylkill River, Manayunk, December 1926 | (Image 7050) Aero Service Corp., courtesy of Aerial Viewpoint, Spring, TX

From Above: Manayunk and Venice Island, 1926

For this installment of From Above, we head upriver to Manayunk for a look at what this manufacturing enclave looked like 90 years ago. This is the first summer that…

    • Japanese Bazaar stereograph, Centennial Exposition 1876 | Library of Congress

Shofuso digging for its Centennial ancestor

Kim Andrews is standing on a busted up paved path, pointing at a patch of tamed weeds and poison ivy in West Fairmount Park. We are looking for the past. We…



A city’s history plays a significant role in how we move through it, especially East Coast colonial cities such as Philadelphia.  William Penn and Thomas Holmes’ grid framework for Center City Philadelphia still exists today and is in many ways Philadelphia’s most defining characteristic.  Oftentimes new development projects will unearth pieces of history long forgotten, as was the case with the planned SugarHouse Casino and the Girard Avenue interchange of I-95.  Keeping and commemorating our important historical moments helps inform future development and contributes additional character to a community.


  • Nov 11, 2015

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