Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

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[caption id="attachment_15307" align="alignright" width="300"]A black and white photograph of the exterior of an airport, with a large crowd of people and an airplane in the foreground. On June 26, 1945, spectators, public officials, and representatives from Trans World Airlines celebrated the opening of Northeast Philadelphia Airport, where commercial operations first resumed in the Philadelphia region near the end of World War II. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries)[/caption]

Commercial aviation grew dramatically in the United States in the twentieth century, and a number of airports in the Philadelphia area grew to become regional centers of the industry. There was nothing assured or inevitable about this growth, however. It depended on the efforts of local political leaders, investments by the aviation companies, and state and federal aid.

Parks and racetracks served as the first landing areas for airplanes in Philadelphia, but by the late 1920s designated airfields dotted the city and surrounding region. While most were privately owned, the federal government established a flying field at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and a seaplane base on the Delaware River in Essington, Pennsylvania.  Just upstream from Essington in the Eastwick section of southwest Philadelphia, the city built its first municipal airport in 1926 to serve as a site of operations for a Pennsylvania National Guard squadron, a commercial flying service called the Ludington Exhibition Company, and the U.S. Post Office’s new airmail flights between Washington, D.C., and New York City.

[caption id="attachment_15313" align="alignright" width="300"]photograph of several people holding model airplanes To celebrate the opening of Philadelphia Municipal Airport on June 20, 1940, local hobbyists brought model planes to fly for the crowd. (PhillyHistory.org)[/caption]

While the Eastwick field was soon deemed inadequate for Philadelphia’s needs, constructing a larger city-owned and -operated airport proved difficult.  Work began in 1931 on an expanded tract, which included the Eastwick property and land on adjacent Hog Island purchased from the federal government, but this project ground to a halt the next year, a victim of the Depression and a fiscally conservative mayor, J. Hampton Moore (1864-1950), who cut the city’s public works budget. Most flying activity, including the airmail service, had already shifted across the Delaware River to the less flood-prone Central Airport on Crescent Boulevard in Pennsauken, New Jersey, and  construction languished until 1936 when a new mayor, S. Davis Wilson (1881-1939), restarted the work with funds made available under the New Deal.  Although a laborer strike and a dispute between the city and the federal government over the location of a runway delayed completion, the new Philadelphia Municipal Airport officially opened in 1940.

[caption id="attachment_15320" align="alignright" width="300"]A black and white aerial photograph of the Philadelphia Municipal Airport, showing main building, runways, and fields surrounding the land. Constructed between 1936 and 1940, Philadelphia Municipal Airport had to discontinue commercial flights in 1943 due to military safety concerns. When the airport opened again in 1945, it soon became an international airport as European travel restrictions were lifted after World War II. (PhillyHistory.org)[/caption]

When the United States entered World War II, military operations at area airports increased.  Philadelphia Municipal Airport and the Greater Wilmington Airport in New Castle County, Delaware, served as Army Air Corps bases, and Mercer Airport near Trenton functioned as a test site for Navy planes built at a nearby plant. The government also purchased a few privately owned airfields during the war. One in Northeast Philadelphia was improved and donated to the city in 1944, while another in Montgomery County, Willow Grove Naval Air Station, would remain an active military facility for decades after the war.

Postwar Aviation Boom

With the war’s end, commercial aviation in the United States boomed, and the City of Philadelphia worked to make its municipal airport a part of the growing industry.  It renamed the facility Philadelphia International and turned to the federal government for money to help build longer runways and a larger terminal. Before 1946, the U.S. government funded municipal airport development on an ad hoc basis, via New Deal work relief programs and wartime national defense projects.  In 1946, though, Congress established a grant program to subsidize construction and renovation and thereby promote a national network of airports. Federal grants became a continuous source of funding for airport construction from the late 1940s into the twenty-first  century and helped fund a new international airport on Hog Island that opened in December 1953.

In the 1950s, Philadelphia International gained more flights to other cities in the United States and abroad.  City leaders also campaigned to terminate the leases of the National Guard and air force reserve squadrons based at the international airport, believing they impeded commercial flying operations. Military leaders offered to pay for an expansion of the Northeast Philadelphia Airport if their units could operate there, but the city rejected the idea and the units eventually relocated to Willow Grove Naval Air Station in the early 1960s. The Mercer County and New Castle County fields served less controversially as homes to National Guard squadrons in the decades after World War II  and, along with the Northeast Philadelphia Airport, supported business aviation, charter and recreational flying, and light manufacturing.  

[caption id="attachment_15308" align="alignright" width="300"]A black and white photograph of taxis and cars in front of an air port terminal. Along with expanding the number of runways and terminals for more passengers and flights, Philadelphia International Airport had to drastically change how people negotiated the airport. New parking garages, public transportation options, and multi-lane arrival and departure roads eased some of the stresses involved with traveling. This scene of pre-improvement congestion is from 1978. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries)[/caption]

By the mid-1960s, traffic at Philadelphia International had reached record levels, and officials decided it would have to be expanded to accommodate future growth.  With financial support from the state and federal governments, the city began construction of new runways, terminals, parking lots, and a SEPTA regional rail line connecting the airport to Center City.  While the investments were welcome, their management drew heavy criticism in the 1970s because of delays, cost overruns, and revelations that city and political party officials had accepted bribes from construction firms bidding on contracts.  Some critics called on Philadelphia to cede its control of the airport to an independent authority that they said would manage it impartially and in the best interests of the whole metropolitan region, but city leaders successfully resisted the idea.        

When Congress voted in 1978 to deregulate the airline industry by abolishing the Civil Aeronautics Board, the airline business and the business of airport management both changed.  For forty years, the CAB had dictated who could start an airline, what cities it could serve, and what fares it could charge. After 1978, market competition answered these questions and cities assumed more direct responsibility for attracting airlines to their airports.  Greater competition encouraged airlines to establish hubs—specific airports where they concentrated their operations— and cities competed for hub status to gain more flights, jobs, and revenues.  Deregulation also allowed low-cost carriers to proliferate. These airlines usually provided fewer amenities and routes but offered travelers lower fares and helped offset the inflationary effect a larger carrier operating a hub at the same airport tended to have on ticket prices.

Hub for US Airways and UPS

While the 1980s and 1990s were a volatile time for the industry as airlines grappled with the realities of deregulation and many new and long-established carriers went out of business, traffic at Philadelphia International generally increased. The airport became a hub for US Airways and United Parcel Service, attracted service from a number of low-cost carriers, and saw new facilities develop to handle growing airplane, passenger, and automobile traffic.  This expansion sparked conflicts with neighboring communities like Delaware County’s Tinicum Township, in which much of the airport lay, over property tax payments and plane noise.

In the early twenty-first century, discount airlines began flying from some of Greater Philadelphia’s smaller regional airports.  With reduced operating costs and less tenant demand, the fields charged airlines lower rents and landing fees, making them compatible with the budget airline business model, and the airports’ locations along limited-access freeways made them accessible to area travelers.  The Atlantic City, Mercer County (now Trenton-Mercer), and New Castle County (now Wilmington-Philadelphia) airports all gained new service from discount airlines in this period.

[caption id="attachment_15310" align="alignright" width="300"]A black and white photograph of two people next to a helicopter near the northeast Philadelphia airport. In 1982, Italian helicopter manufacturer Agusta opened a facility adjacent to Northeast Philadelphia Airport. Technicians used the nearby airfield for testing and training flights. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries)[/caption]

Global demand for private jets and civilian helicopters grew after 1980, and a number of aircraft companies established assembly and maintenance facilities at area airports during that time.  AgustaWestland, an Italian-British helicopter builder, opened a shop at Northeast Philadelphia Airport in 1982 that later expanded into a manufacturing facility; Dassault Aviation of France established a maintenance, repair, and overhaul station for its business jets at Wilmington-Philadelphia Airport in 2000; and in 2007, American firm Sikorsky began assembling helicopters in a plant at the Chester County Airport in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

State and local governments helped entice these companies with tax breaks and construction financing. The fields also offered manufacturers less air traffic and lower rents than large commercial airports; proximity to deep-water ports, interstate highways, and railroads; and an established supply chain and skilled labor pool, thanks to Boeing’s long-time presence as a helicopter builder in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. 

By the early twenty-first century, many of Greater Philadelphia’s airports were regional centers of the world’s commercial aviation industries. While globalization led to the loss of traditional industrial jobs in the area, it fostered new employment, including manufacturing and mechanical jobs, at the airports. The growth of the local aviation economy was not an inevitable consequence of globalization, however.  Intentional policies of development and investment, both public and private, made it possible.

Demian Larry is a Ph.D. candidate in American history at Temple University.  His dissertation is about the politics and economics of airport development in Philadelphia.

Forts and Fortifications

[caption id="attachment_14513" align="alignright" width="300"]A color photograph of re-enactors walking out of a walled fort. Onlookers are sitting on  the wall and standing in the background. Fort Mifflin, shown here during a public-history event in 2014, and similar forts on the Delaware River were once a critical component in the defense of Philadelphia. Today, the fort's long history is a foundation for educational programming and events that support restoration and maintenance. (Photograph by Donald D. Groff for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.)[/caption]

Constructed from the seventeenth through the mid-twentieth century, defensive fortifications along the lower Delaware River and bay guarded the region during times of international and sectional upheaval. As important structures with such long histories, forts help to explain the political, economic, and social history of the Greater Philadelphia region.

The earliest fortifications in the lower Delaware region resulted from the intense economic colonial rivalries and wars of the early seventeenth century, as Dutch, Swedish, and English Protestant capitalist states battled Spanish, Portuguese, and French Catholic kingdoms for control of the North American and West Indian trade and settlement. Their rivalry led to construction of Fort Nassau, built in 1626 by the Dutch West India Company on the east bank of the Delaware (the future site of Gloucester City, New Jersey), and Fort Christina, built in 1638 by the New Sweden Company at the confluence of the Christina River and Brandywine Creek (the future site of Wilmington, Delaware). Both fortifications served as centers for fur trading, and Fort Christina also developed as an agricultural settlement. The New Sweden Company dispatched more than a dozen expeditions over the next decade bringing Swedes, Finns, Dutch, and German settlers to the Delaware, then known as the South River. When Lieutenant Colonel Johan Bjornson Printz (1592-1663), a veteran of the Thirty Years War (1618-48), became governor of New Sweden in 1643 he further fortified the colony with Fort Nya Elfsborg (Elsinboro, Salem County, New Jersey) and Fort New Gothenburg (Tinicum Island, Pennsylvania) upriver on the west bank a mile south of Fort Nassau. 

[caption id="attachment_14508" align="alignright" width="194"]A color painting of a man wearing black clothing with a white undershirt. The man has long hair and is looking off to the right side of the image. Johan Printz, the third governor of New Sweden, oversaw the construction of Fort Nya Elfsborg and Fort New Gothenburg before resigning from his position in 1653. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)[/caption]

The Dutch West India Company naturally responded to New Sweden’s threat to New Netherland’s commercial monopoly on the South River by strengthening Fort Nassau, building a number of small, fortified trading posts across the river, and erecting Fort Casimir where the river met the Delaware Bay (later the site of New Castle, Delaware). The new fort stood well below the Swedish forts and promised to stop Swedish ships entering the bay and river. New Sweden soon seized Fort Casimir, but had neither the resources nor manpower to construct and hold such a fort as aggressive New Netherland Director-General Peter Stuyvesant (1612-72) sent a thousand-man expedition up the Delaware in 1655 to retake the defensive works and bring an end to New Sweden.

Britain Prevails Over the Dutch

The regained Dutch influence on the Delaware River was short-lived. In 1664, after the Dutch surrendered New Netherland to the British, they quietly abandoned their forts on the Delaware. Without major threats to control over the region and naval supremacy in the bay and nearby Atlantic coast, the British decided not to garrison fortifications on the Delaware. Spending money on forts or defense also did not interest the Quaker provincial government of Pennsylvania, created by land grant to William Penn in 1681. By the mid-eighteenth century, though, the need for fortifications in the Delaware Valley increased as Britain became locked in a century of colonial warfare with France and Spain.

Greater defenses became an issue by the 1740s as French soldiers and their Native American allies came south from Canada into western and central Pennsylvania to block English westward settlement, while French and Spanish naval forces—particularly privateers from the West Indies—came up the coast and plundered several Delaware Bay and river settlements.  Local residents constructed a fortified redoubt in 1748 near Wilmington, but the Quaker assembly in Philadelphia refused to raise money for the city’s fortification. When the French and Spanish threatened Philadelphia’s trade and business, more-militant Quaker merchants joined with a non-Quaker political faction that included Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) to fund defensive measures. During King George’s War (1740-48), Franklin used the sale of lottery tickets to fund the construction in 1747-48 of the Grand (Association) Battery, a great twenty-seven-gun stone wall along the south Philadelphia (Southwark) riverfront, and a smaller Society Hill Battery just upriver. Fortifying the lower Delaware and Philadelphia became more urgent during the French and Indian War, 1754-63, particularly after the British were driven from Fort Duquesne in western Pennsylvania and moved eastward toward Philadelphia. In response, Franklin oversaw construction of a number of fortifications in the Lehigh Valley, where he personally directed the building of Fort Allen (Weissport, Carbon County) in 1755.

[caption id="attachment_14515" align="alignright" width="203"]A color photograph of a hand drawn map of an fort on an island. Fort Mifflin on Mud Island, as drawn in this 1788 map, was destroyed by British bombardment in the fall of 1777. (Library of Congress)[/caption]

The British government, overtaxed by continual warfare against the French in Europe, the Caribbean, Atlantic Ocean, and North America, expected the Pennsylvania Assembly to bear the burden of arming the Delaware Valley, particularly fortifying the Delaware River approaches to Philadelphia. To this end the British army dispatched military engineer Captain John Montresor (1736-99) to fortify Mud Island (also called Fort Island) on the Delaware riverfront near the mouth of the Schuylkill River. Montresor designed a small stone fort and began construction of a southern and eastern wall of the Mud Fort (later Fort Mifflin). Worsening relations between England and her North American colonies interrupted construction until 1775, as the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and increasingly protested British taxation and trade policies.

1776: Need for Forts Gains Urgency

Months of debate over whether Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or the Continental Congress, should select sites and pay for defensive works along the river reached a critical stage after the American Declaration of Independence. On July 5, 1776, the Continental Congress purchased a site for a fort in Billingsport (Paulsboro), New Jersey. General George Washington (1732-99) asked Col. Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746-1817), a highly skilled French-trained Polish/Lithuanian military engineer to design the fort, and the Continental Congress hired French military engineer Philippe DuCoudray (1738-77) to build it as an anchor for a chain of frames of large iron-tipped logs known as cheveaux-de-frise to be spread across the river channels to prevent British warships coming upriver to attack Philadelphia. Congress also authorized construction of Fort Mercer on a high bluff known as Red Bank, Gloucester County, New Jersey.   

The British attack on Philadelphia in late summer and fall of 1777 forced completion and garrisoning of the three Delaware River forts. Fort Billings, defended by local militia, was the first to fall to the British Army, then British naval vessels breached the chevaux-de-frise and slowly moved upriver toward the Mud Island (Fort Mifflin) and Red Bank (Fort Mercer) fortifications.  British naval bombardment of Fort Island, reportedly the heaviest cannon fire of the Revolutionary War, reduced the Mud Fort (Fort Mifflin) to rubble. Forts Mercer and Mifflin were abandoned on November 15, and the British Army occupied Philadelphia.

[caption id="attachment_14517" align="alignright" width="575"]A color image of a black and white map showing forts and the trails of ships through the Delaware River near Philadelphia. The attack on Fort Mifflin, Fort Mercer, and Fort Billings by the British military in the fall of 1777 was chronicled on this inset of a map by English cartographer William Faden. (Library of Congress)[/caption]

The Revolutionary War marked the last time that forts in the Philadelphia region defended against an enemy force. Nevertheless, fortifications became important while Philadelphia served from 1790 until 1800 as the national capital. President Washington and his secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), pressed for rebuilding Fort Mifflin and constructing river defenses, particularly with the growing threat of French and British naval incursions in the Delaware during the wars of the French Revolution. The federal government hired civil engineer Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant (1754-1825) to redesign Fort Mifflin and military engineer Anne-Louis de Tousard (1749-1817) to build the bastion. Tousard used government funds to buy material from Philadelphia merchants and hire local German, Irish, and English carpenters and bricklayers. African American slaves, many owned by Tousard, supplied the necessary labor. The fort was named Fort Mifflin in 1795 after Washington’s wartime adjutant general, Thomas Mifflin (1744-1800) of Philadelphia.  

The Influence of Naval Arms

Work ceased on Fort Mifflin when the national capital left Philadelphia in 1800 for the Potomac River. Some construction resumed during the War of 1812, but Jeffersonian Republicans preferred to spend money on several temporary batteries of twenty-four-pounder cannon on islands in the Delaware River and use small gunboats to protect the city. Moreover, it seemed that the region should be defended with a fort farther downriver because Fort Mifflin stood too close to Philadelphia to provide adequate defense against increasingly long-range naval armament. The U.S. government began to look at sites near New Castle, Delaware, and Pea Patch Island, a large island in the middle of the Delaware River channel where the river met the bay.  Work began on a Pea Patch Island fort soon after the War of 1812.  Fire destroyed the partially built fort in 1831, but construction resumed in 1833 on a large stone fortification called Fort Delaware.

[caption id="attachment_14516" align="alignright" width="300"]a black and white aerial photograph of a building in the middle of an island. Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island was one part of the "defensive triangle" to protect the manufacturing centers along the Delaware River. (Library of Congress)[/caption]

Defense of the region became necessary once again with the advent of the Civil War. After the Confederate capture of Fort Sumter in the Charleston, South Carolina, harbor in 1861, the U.S. and Pennsylvania governments demanded the arming of Fort Delaware. They worried that a nearby secessionist movement in the state of Delaware and southern counties of New Jersey threatened the security of the cities of Philadelphia, Chester, and Wilmington, which were rapidly emerging as centers of munitions manufacturing, gun casting, and ironclad shipbuilding. The railroad system carrying troops and material south to meet the rebel forces also passed through these cities. Rumored construction of a huge Confederate Navy ironclad warship particularly disturbed the region, and Fort Delaware needed to mount heavy smoothbore guns and floating mines to stop enemy ironclads from attacking Philadelphia. The federal government began to build a great ten-gun battery on the Delaware City riverfront (Fort DuPont) to protect Pea Patch Island. Fort Delaware and to a lesser extent Fort Mifflin served as prisoner-of-war camps throughout the Civil War. Fort Delaware held more than 30,000 Confederate prisoners and local Southern sympathizers in the extremely unhealthy, disease-ridden Pea Patch Island facility.

The last decades of the nineteenth century became the golden age of American coastal fort building as the United States entered into imperial rivalries with Germany, Russia, England, France, Japan, and particularly Spain, which seemed a threat to American interests in Cuba and the Philippine Islands.  As the federal government moved to modernize and strengthen American seacoast defenses, the Philadelphia region gained additional fortification in 1896 with construction of a battery on Finn’s Point, Pennsville, Salem County, New Jersey.  Named Fort Mott after New Jersey Civil War and National Guard commander Brigadier General Gershom Mott (1882-84), the new fort created a defensive triangle with Forts Delaware and DuPont to stop any enemy fleet before it could reach the great manufacturing centers upriver at Wilmington, Chester, and Philadelphia.

World Wars Bring Heavier Artillery

Delaware Valley forts played no fighting role during the Spanish-American War, but U.S. entry into the First World War in 1917 brought the prospect of a greater need for defending the region as it continued to be a center for naval and merchant shipbuilding, munitions making, and other war goods. Moreover, the region became a mobilization nexus for troops to be shipped to the European fronts. Forts Mott and DuPont were garrisoned by artillery units. Fort DuPont built more barracks, a hospital, and warehouses to train and equip draftees and house troops and material destined to fight in the Great War. However, the region faced no real threat from enemy forces other than sabotage of defense industries by German agents in New Jersey.    

[caption id="attachment_14512" align="alignright" width="300"]A color photograph of a stone buildings with a curved window, and a large barrel gun sticking out of the window. The building is surrounded by grass, sand, and some trees in the background. The artillery used in the gun blocks at Fort Miles, poised on the Atlantic shoreline near Lewes, Delaware, were meant to pierce the armor of enemy ships from thousands of feet away. (Wikimedia Commons)[/caption]

The threat to the region was greater by the time of the Second World War, when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 raised the possibility of long-distance aerial attack. Older, obsolete forts gained new purposes as sites for anti-aircraft batteries, including Fort Mifflin, manned by the first African American Coast Artillery unit. It soon became apparent, though, that the greatest threat to the region during the Second World War came from powerful German U-boats that torpedoed merchant ships and oil tankers off the Jersey and Delaware coasts and lurked just off the Delaware Bay and capes to intercept ships coming out of the Delaware Bay.  In response, the United States moved all Delaware River and bay defenses to the seacoast, erecting Fort Miles on Cape Henlopen, near Lewes, Delaware. Fort Miles featured giant, long-range sixteen-inch guns and 90mm anti-aircraft batteries. Round concrete observation and fire-control towers were constructed along the Jersey coast as far north as Sandy Hook and down the Delaware coast to Ocean City, Maryland.

Locating coastal defenses ever farther away from Philadelphia and the Delaware River during the Second World War attested to the increasing spatial dimensions of modern warfare and long-range capabilities of new weapons. It suggested as well the increasing obsolescence of the Greater Philadelphia region’s historic forts. All Delaware River forts were declared war surplus after the Second World War and remaining guns or other military material were removed. Forts Mott, DuPont, and Delaware were given to New Jersey and Delaware and became parts of historic districts and state park systems. Fort DuPont retained a National Guard armory. Fort Mifflin was eventually obtained by the city of Philadelphia and supported by a private Fort Mifflin Society to preserve one of the most historic forts in American history. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers retained a presence on site. None of the early seventeenth-century forts remained, but plaques and monuments marked the original sites of Forts Elfsborg, Billings, Mercer, Casimir, and Christina. The surviving structures and monuments and plaques served as reminders of the central role forts played in the earliest history of the Greater Philadelphia area.  

Jeffery M. DorwartProfessor Emeritus of History, Rutgers University, is  the author of histories of the Philadelphia Navy Yard; Fort Mifflin of Philadelphia; Naval Air Station Wildwood; Camden and Cape May Counties, New Jersey; Office of Naval Intelligence; Ferdinand Eberstadt and James Forrestal.  He also is the co-author of Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh: Building of the Quaker Community of Haddonfield, New Jersey, 1701-1762  (Historical Society of Haddonfield, 2013).

Trails (Recreational)

[caption id="attachment_14394" align="alignright" width="300"]A black and white photograph of three people standing on a trail below a rock ledge in the forest. Exploring the landscapes of the Mid-Atlantic became easier as advocacy groups and state governments supported interconnected trail systems with professionally-developed paths. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries)[/caption]

An expanding network of recreational paths for walkers, hikers, cyclists, joggers, and commuters serves the Greater Philadelphia region.  The first recreational paths date to the mid-nineteenth century, when upper-class residents sought idyllic walking grounds in rural cemeteries and urban parks. In the twentieth century, grassroots hiking clubs built additional footpaths, but by the early twenty-first century governments and large contractors stepped in to create new multiple-use paths with state and federal funding.

Walking, long a necessity of everyday life, also became viewed as a recreational activity in the middle to late nineteenth century. The invention of the telephone, advances in public transportation—first omnibuses, then cable cars and electric trolleys—and the emergence of a middle class that did less physical labor allowed some Americans to re-envision walking as something pleasurable and therapeutic.  These potential hikers were also those most likely to be influenced by new ideas about the natural world portrayed in Romantic paintings of pastoral landscapes, Transcendental writings about the spiritual value of nature, and the aesthetics of rural cemeteries such as Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill and urban greenways such as Fairmount Park, which contained some of the first designed walking paths.  Like many late nineteenth-century Americans, these new walkers formalized their interests by founding clubs.

Hiking clubs—and the trails they built—came relatively late to the Philadelphia region.  Early outing clubs, such as the Boston-based Appalachian Mountain Club (1876) and the San Francisco-based Sierra Club (1892), had thousands of members by the time a group of influential newspaper publishers and businessmen founded Pennsylvania’s first hiking club, the Pennsylvania Alpine Club, in 1917.  Based in Harrisburg, the Alpine Club lobbied the state legislature to enact conservation measures related to outdoor recreation, forestry, and wildlife protection.  The club also constructed the Darlington Trail, the state’s first modern hiking trail, west of Harrisburg. 

Hiking Broad Street

During the next several decades, middle-class hikers founded at least a dozen regional clubs throughout Pennsylvania, including the Philadelphia region.  In 1928, the Back-to-Nature club emerged from a series of walks the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin organized as part of a “correct posture campaign.”  The first hikes led groups of more than 500 people up and down Broad Street before the organizers realized that the hikers would be safer walking along the paths in Fairmount Park, nearby rural roads, and the more-distant Appalachian Trail.  In 1961, the club constructed the fifty-mile Batona Trail across New Jersey’s Pine Barrens.

Other hiking clubs were attracted to trail building even earlier.  The New York–New Jersey Trail Conference, originally founded in 1920 as the Palisades Interstate Trail Conference, played an instrumental role in building the early Appalachian Trail from New York City, across New Jersey, and into Pennsylvania.  The Philadelphia Trail Club organized regular trips to the Appalachian Trail, some seventy miles to the north, to maintain a section of the rocky, ridgeline path between the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers. In contrast, the Horse Shoe Trail Club, a suburban-based club founded by Henry Woolman in 1934, decided to build its own trail linking Valley Forge to the Appalachian Trail near Harrisburg.  In addition to volunteer labor from the region’s hiking clubs, Woolman secured assistance from the National Youth Administration for the Depression-era project.  As the name suggests, the 140-mile trail was opened to both equestrians and hikers.

[caption id="attachment_14393" align="alignright" width="575"]A black and white photograph of children walking through a field in front of a building, with some trees off surrounding the group. Children visiting the Smith Memorial Playground would hike through the surrounding Fairmount Park for educational programs focusing on the local flora and fauna. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries)[/caption]

In the post-World War II period, the popularity of hiking increased dramatically as new outfitting materials such as nylon and aluminum, dehydrated foods, higher rates of automobile ownership, interstate highway construction, and the expansion of the state and national park systems made hiking more comfortable and convenient.  During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the rise of the environmental movement, promoted by grassroots hiking clubs and institutionalized in federal legislation and funding, added new meanings to time spent in the woods.  In response to the rising demand, state agencies and volunteer organizations created more and more trails in parks throughout the region.

Trail Surge in the 1980s

During the 1980s, a major shift occurred in the region’s trail activity, as well-groomed, multiple-use trails appealing to cyclists and walkers of all abilities grew in popularity. In part, the shift resulted from policymakers’ evolving understanding of trails’ positive benefits for economic development, public health, alternative transportation, and ecological functions such as storm-water management.  Greater Philadelphia was well-suited to take advantage of these new ideas.  The region’s post-industrial infrastructure of abandoned canal towpaths and railroad rights-of-way offered clear, level, and well-engineered corridors for recreational trails.

[caption id="attachment_14359" align="alignright" width="201"]A color photograph of people walking on a paved path through cutting through a field of grass. Valley Forge National Park has more than seven miles of paved trails for visitors to exercise on. Overall, the Valley Forge trail system is more than twenty miles long and connects to three larger trail systems. (Photo by R. Nowitz for Visit Philadelphia)[/caption]

The Schuylkill River Trail, begun in 1979 by the Schuylkill Greenway Association, followed sections of towpath and railroad beds for 130 miles toward Pottstown, Reading, and beyond.  Along the Delaware River, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania preserved the anthracite-coal canal as a state park in the early 1950s, and, beginning in the 1980s, the towpath was re-envisioned as part of a larger trail system that would follow the Delaware and Lehigh rivers 165 miles north to Wilkes-Barre. Later studies showed that the two trails combined annually attracted more than one million users and generated at least $25 million for the region’s economy.  Most trails were shorter in length and relatively local in their impact. In 1978, for example, Montgomery County purchased an abandoned railroad corridor that became the nineteen-mile Perkiomen Trail.  It took twenty-five years to complete but quickly became one of the region’s most popular trails for walking and biking.

In the early twenty-first century, the trails movement once again experienced a major turning point.  A coalition of environmental and bicycle advocacy groups, spearheaded by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, successfully advanced a vision for an interconnected, 275-mile network of multiuse trails throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  In 2010, the coalition secured a $23 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to complement nearly $33 million invested by the William Penn Foundation during the previous twenty years.  Along with state grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, this funding allowed the coalition to fund priority trail projects, brand the emerging network of trails as “The Circuit,” and launch a sophisticated fundraising campaign that sought hundreds of millions of dollars to complete more than 450 miles of trails.

Silas Chamberlin holds a doctorate in environmental history from Lehigh University and currently serves as a regional adviser in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources.  His dissertation, “On the Trail: A History of American Hiking,” is the first comprehensive, national history of the hiking and trails community from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century, and his research on trails, hiking, and outdoor recreation has appeared in Pennsylvania History and Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Roger W. Moss

Roger W. Moss is Executive Director Emeritus, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, a position he occupied from 1968 to 2008.  Simultaneously he was an adjunct professor in the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the author of more than a dozen books on architecture and design, including the trilogy Historic Houses of Philadelphia (1998), Historic Sacred Places of Philadelphia (2005), and Historic Landmarks of Philadelphia (2008) published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. 

Athenæum of Philadelphia

[caption id="attachment_14368" align="alignright" width="300"]A color photograph of the front of a stone, three-story building on the corner of a block. A smaller brick house and larger building are to the side and background of the building. The Athenæum of Philadelphia on Washington Square was constructed in 1845-47 to house the Athenæum's collections and offer an elegant atmosphere for members. (Tom Crane Photography)[/caption]

The Athenæum of Philadelphia, a non-profit, member-supported library, was founded in 1814 “to disseminate useful knowledge.”  Threatened for its very existence with the advent of the city’s free library in 1894, the organization subsequently recovered and ultimately thrived as it reinvented itself as a special- collections library with related public exhibitions, lectures, and publications.

Unlike modern tax-supported public libraries, athenæums were private organizations established as associations of dues-paying subscribers or as stock companies—in which the purchase of a share made one an owner.  Early member-supported libraries such as The Library Company of Philadelphia (1731), The Redwood Library in Newport, Rhode Island (1747), The Charleston Library Society (1748), and The New York Society Library (1754), began appearing in America’s major coastal towns in the eighteenth century. By the early nineteenth century, when neoclassicism was the popular style, member-supported libraries were often named for Athena, the ancient Greek goddess of arts and literature.  This name became synonymous with the term library in towns like Zanesville, Ohio; Keokuk, Iowa; and La Jolla, California, as Americans moved west in the later nineteenth century.

The Athenæum of Philadelphia’s founders were leading citizens of what was then the largest city in the United States, including Chief Justice William Tilghman (1756-1827), Jacob (1788-1856) and Benjamin Gratz, George and Roberts (1786-1836) Vaux, Nicholas Biddle (1786-1844), Horace Binney (1780-1875), George Cadwalader (1806-79), and Mathew Carey (1760-1839).   They declared “their first and immediate object” to be “the collection, in some central place, of American and foreign periodical publications of political, literature and science, maps, dictionaries, and other books of reference to which access might be had at all hours of the day.”  Many of the founders were also members of The Library Company and The American Philosophical Society, but neither of these institutions remained open for extended hours, nor did they specialize in periodicals and books of reference.

Early Years

For nearly three decades, the Athenæum occupied the first floor of Philosophical Hall, next to Independence Hall, across Fifth Street from The Library Company of Philadelphia.  These were years when the Athenæum grew rapidly in prestige, membership, and the variety of books and periodicals available to its stockholders. By 1825, Jonathan P. Sheldon of New York declared that every visitor to Philadelphia should go to the Athenæum for “New York has no institution of the kind to compare with it. A comparison of the Libraries of the two cities and especially the situation of each as to pecuniary matters, would place New York far behind her rival in matters of correct taste and liberality.”  The members regularly brought visitors to the rooms, dutifully entering their names in a “Strangers’ Book” kept at the librarian’s desk. These ledgers record visits by John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan and, on October 1, 1825, “General LaFayette,” introduced by “all the members.” The occasion of the Marquis de LaFayette’s visit prompted the members to elect him their first honorary member.

In 1829 William Lehman, a wealthy and bookish druggist, bequeathed $10,000 to the library for “the acquisition of a suitable building.”  However, it would not be until 1845 that a building lot on Sixth Street opposite Washington Square was finally acquired and an architectural competition announced.  Ultimately designs were received from such major Philadelphia architects as William Strickland (1788-1854), Thomas Ustick Walter (1804-87), and John Haviland (1796-1865), but the design adopted and constructed came from a recent Scottish emigrant, John Notman (1810-65), who with his Athenæum design introduced to American the first example of a brownstone Italianate Renaissance palazzo made popular in London by Charles Barry at the Travellers’ Club (1829). The three-story building provided two floors of rental space. Lawyers occupied the ground floor while architects and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania settled on the third floor.  Eventually the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects became a tenant.  The AIA would presage the future by calling for the establishment of an architectural library at the Athenæum.

Today the Athenæum occupies all three stories of the original building as well as another level inserted under the building in the 1970s for additional high-security, temperature- and humidity-controlled collection storage.

[caption id="attachment_14369" align="alignright" width="575"]A color photograph of a reading room of a library. The ceiling is high, with elegant lights, furniture, and art decorating the room. Preservation and restoration efforts by the Athenæum since the 1970s have left the Members Reading Room looking as lavish as it was in 1847. (Tom Crane Photography)[/caption]

For the Athenæum and the other member-supported libraries in the city, the opening of the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1894 was a cataclysmic event.  Operating under the motto Liber Libere Omnibus—Free Books for All—the Free Library effectively undercut Philadelphia’s membership libraries such as the Mercantile Library, which claimed more than 6,000 members and an annual circulation of 140,000 volumes at the time.  The Mercantile Library eventually failed and was absorbed by the Free Library.  At the Athenæum, membership steadily declined, even with the approval for book circulation in 1855, and its modest endowment proved inadequate to properly maintain the building, which also affected rental income.  By the 1920s the board of directors was hiring retired clergymen as caretaker librarians and the future appeared bleak.  Encouraged by the post-World War II urban renewal of Society Hill and the establishment of Independence National Historical Park, the directors hired a succession of younger librarians in the hope of revitalizing a traditional book circulation service, but efforts to increase endowment and raise funds for restoration of the building were generally unsuccessful.


[caption id="attachment_13705" align="alignright" width="300"]A black and white photograph of two men shaking hands. The man on the right is holding an award. George Vaux (left), here with writer David McCullough, helped the Athenæum find success as a special collections library with a broader focus and a variety of new programs. Vaux's thirty-one years as board president guided the Athenæum in new directions while still offering ways to "disseminate useful knowledge." (The Athenæum of Philadelphia)[/caption]

The downward spiral was arrested in the 1960s and 1970s when George Vaux (1908-1996), an energetic direct descendant of an Athenæum founder, was elected president of the board of directors. He replaced inactive board members with scholars and administrators who brought to the table extensive experience with not-for-profit institutions.  Simultaneously he attracted community leaders and generous donors.  The directors then hired their first executive director who was charged with redefining the Athenæum as a special-collections library with related public exhibitions, lectures, and publications, while simultaneously strengthening the traditional membership structure and services.   Substantial sums were raised from individual donors and local and national foundations to hire a professional staff and to restore and expand the National Historic Landmark Athenæum building to provide proper facilities to care for and exhibit the collections. 

The new leadership first focused on the extensive collection of rare books and periodicals surviving from the period when the Athenæum had been founded, flourished, and erected its building.  The promising extension of the collection scope to include Victorian material culture prompted an invitation to the newly founded Victorian Society in America to establish its headquarters in the Athenæum building.  Thus the library was overnight introduced to a national audience that attracted the interest of scholars and collectors such as Samuel J. Dornsife (1916-1999), whose lifetime collection of rare design books and trade catalogues devoted to Victorian-era architecture, decorative arts, and interior design, ultimately came to the library where it has provided a rich core of documentary sources for the authentic restorations of Victorian buildings as well as licensed commercial lines of authentic reproduction lighting fixtures, wallpapers, textiles, and paint colors.  Subsequent collecting greatly expanded those holdings.

[caption id="attachment_14367" align="alignright" width="300"]A color photograph of a reading room, with tables, lights, and bookshelves lining the walls. Once known as just the News Room, the Busch Reading Room became the primary location for researchers and students to review the Athenæum's collection of rare books, manuscripts, and architectural drawings. (Tom Crane Photography)[/caption]

The Athenæum’s rare book collection originated with a substantial early nineteenth-century gift from Samuel Breck of Sweetbrier (1771-1862), and the time-honored practice of libraries collecting collectors’ collections continued right through to the twenty-first century.  Among the most distinctive donations have been theater historian Irvin R. Glazer’s (1922-96) collection of books on America theater buildings; Robert L. Raley’s architecture and garden design books; former director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Evan Turner’s collection of early books and manuscripts on the history of books and printing dating from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries assembled by his father, Professor Albert Morton Turner; and Eli P. Zebooker’s collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century maps and prints of Philadelphia. 

Emphasis on Architecture

The primary focus of the library’s research collections gradually became American architecture prior to 1930.  Recognizing that no institution in Philadelphia actively collected architectural records or specifically sought to support research on architects and builders, the Athenæum undertook that role in the early 1970s, accumulating over time 220,000 architectural drawings, 300,000 photographs, and supporting documentation representing the work of 26,500 architects and engineers.  Of special interest has been the collection of books known to have been owned or consulted by architects who practiced in the greater Philadelphia region. For that reason the library acquired whenever possible the intact office libraries of early architectural firms as well as their client records and drawings.  One example of such an omnibus acquisition is the office records, library, and drawings of Theophilus P. Chandler (1844-1920), founder of the University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture.  The Athenæum also became the official repository of the records of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The Athenæum’s architectural drawing collection has focused primarily on Philadelphia architects and builders ranging from master builders such as William Palmer (1771-1815) and Owen Biddle (1774-1806) to the earliest professional architects: Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820), John Haviland (1792-1851), William Strickland (1788-1854), and Robert Mills (1781-1855).  The crown jewel of the nineteenth-century holdings is the complete archive of Thomas Ustick Walter (1804-87).

[caption id="attachment_13700" align="alignright" width="575"]A color painting of the Capitol of the United States, with a large crowd of people, horses, and street cars in front of it.  Thomas Ustick Walter's painting of the U.S. Capitol--featuring the dome and side wings that he designed--is part of the Athenæum's vast architectural collection. (The Athenæum of Philadelphia)[/caption]

The twentieth-century architectural holdings are substantial and include sixty thousand drawings representing the career of Paul Philippe Cret (1876-1945), the office archives of the country-house architects Walter Mellor (1880-1940) and Arthur I. Meigs (1882-1956), the complete archive of the Art Deco theater architect Louis Magaziner (1878-1955), and the office records of the Henry D. Dagit & Sons dynasty, and many others.

Decorative Painters and Craftsmen

The drawings of decorative painters and craftsmen such as stained-glass makers and decorative ironsmiths are more ephemeral than those of architects.  Holdings at the Athenæum include a comprehensive collection of the celebrated stained-glass master, Nicola D’Ascenzo (1871-1953); the archives of the decorative painter George Herzog (1851-1920), who was responsible for Philadelphia City Hall, the Union League Club, and the Masonic Hall; and the New York City artists H.D. & J. Moeller—among others.

In 1999 the Athenæum conceived and the William Penn Foundation funded a cooperative agreement with the University of Pennsylvania Architectural Archives, the Philadelphia Historical Commission, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, to establish the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project (later renamed the American Architects and Buildings collection) to offer free of charge online access to more than 26,500 biographical essays of architects, engineers, and contractors and information on 270,000 projects and buildings, supported by 135,000 digitized images.

Although begun in 1814 as a reading room for noncirculating books and periodicals, the Athenæum grew over its two centuries of activity to include a thriving lending collection offering both print and e-books, major resources in the history of architecture and the design arts, a mid-nineteenth-century museum collection, and two websites providing research support with both maps and architectural drawings.  Although steeped in new technology, the Athenæum still realizes the noble desire of its founders:  "to disseminate useful knowledge."

Roger W. Moss is Executive Director Emeritus, the Athenæum of Philadelphia, which he directed  from 1968 to 2008.  Simultaneously he was an adjunct professor in the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the author of more than a dozen books on architecture and design, including the trilogy Historic Houses of Philadelphia (1998), Historic Sacred Places of Philadelphia (2005), and Historic Landmarks of Philadelphia (2008) published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. 

Society Hill

Society Hill is one of Philadelphia’s oldest neighborhoods, with more buildings surviving from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries than any other in the country. Usually defined by the boundaries of Walnut, Lombard, Front and Eighth Streets, this area south of Independence National Historic Park evolved over the centuries as a diverse, complex residential and commercial neighborhood. Although deteriorated by the 1950s, it was reborn as a city historic district and attracted international attention for its innovative combination of urban renewal and preservation.

[caption id="attachment_13944" align="alignright" width="300"]A black and white photograph of a building with a large tower at the front of the rectangular building. There is an overhang covering the sidewalk along the building, and the sidewalk is filled with people and products. Dock Street Market was a principal food distributor for many local restaurants and businesses dating back to the 1700s. It was among the buildings cleared to make way for Society Hill Towers. (PhillyHistory.org)[/caption]

Society Hill’s history begins in 1682, when William Penn first set foot in his new colony at the point where Dock Creek poured into the Delaware, near the Blue Anchor Tavern. To spur development, he gave a charter to “The Society of Free Traders” and a strip of land in the same area, which became part of the new city of Philadelphia when Penn’s surveyor sketched the grid centered on High Street (now Market), a few blocks north. The Society flew its flag on the top of a small hill that soon become known as “The Society’s Hill.”

[caption id="attachment_14066" align="alignright" width="560"]A color painting of a series of row homes along a street. People in dresses and coats are walking along outside the buildings. Popular in Society Hill and throughout the rest of the city, row houses were typically inexpensive and easier to construct than stand-alone houses. Older row houses became the focal point for urban renewal campaigns in Society Hill during the 1950s. These houses, depicted in an 1830s painting, are grander than the row houses that later in the nineteenth center became a staple of working-class housing. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)[/caption]

All social classes and both enslaved and free blacks moved to the growing neighborhood, with larger houses on the main streets and smaller quarters filling in back streets and alleys soon added to the grid.  By 1776, the neighborhood had a diverse population. The elite built freestanding mansions such as the Physick House and town houses such as the Powel House. Close by were smaller structures for servants and workers, particularly those from the nearby waterfront. Farther inland were the homes of tradesman, craftsmen, and others.

[caption id="attachment_14259" align="alignright" width="300"]Physick House (1786). Last surviving free-standing Federal-style mansion in Society Hill. Home of Dr. Philip Syng Physick, father of American surgery. The Physick House, built in 1786, is the last surviving free-standing Federal-style mansion in Society Hill. It was the home of Dr. Philip Syng Physick, father of American surgery. (Photograph by Bonnie Halda)[/caption]

Some of the city’s first public and community institutions took root here. The growing population prompted construction of a new market, which started with shambles (sheds) on Second Street in 1745 and gained a Head House in 1804. The neighborhood added churches of various denominations such as the Friends Meeting (a Quaker meeting house), St. Peter’s (Anglican), Old St. Joseph’s (Roman Catholic), and Old Pine Street Church (Presbyterian). Richard Allen founded Mother Bethel, home church of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, there. A Quaker and a public almshouse (predecessor to the city’s first public hospital and its large state hospital, Byberry) housed the poor, Pennsylvania Hospital (the first private hospital in the country) tended the sick, and the gaol, or the Walnut Street jail or prison, held prisoners and debtors. The Athenaeum, a member-supported library and museum, opened. Economic activities ranged from the port to taverns, the first insurance company, and the offices of investors, physicians, and attorneys. The diversity of people and interests also led to clashes, most famously a large anti-Catholic riot in 1844, part of a broader conflict between nativists and Catholics in the city.

The Fifth Ward

Once called the Dock Ward, the area came to be defined as the Fifth Ward, a designation that fit it until well after World War II. By 1860, 24,792 lived there. The population declined to just over 7,000 people by 1950, largely due to outmigration to the suburbs. By 2010, the population was just over 6,000 people. 

The population mixture changed as well. As Philadelphia grew, commerce and elite families moved westward, away from Society Hill. Always home to some African Americans, the ward’s southwest corner blended into the large African American community of the old Seventh Ward. This area was the primary subject of W.E.B. Du Bois’s (1868-1963) seminal sociological study of an urban neighborhood, The Philadelphia Negro (1899). He wrote that by the end of the nineteenth century the Fifth Ward was the worst Negro slum in the entire city, comparing it to a “cess-pool."

During the late nineteenth century, the old Fifth Ward also became an important part of the city’s Jewish Quarter. Synagogues and Jewish newspapers and community institutions filled what is now Society Hill’s southern half, as Jewish immigrants crowded into the neighborhood. Indicative of the ethnic succession in Society Hill, in 1916, a historic Baptist church was renamed the “The Great Roumanian Shul” (as spelled out in Hebrew across the present façade of the Society Hill Synagogue).

[caption id="attachment_14261" align="alignright" width="240"]The Powel House, located at 244 S. Third Street in Society Hill, was home of the last colonial mayor of Philadelphia and is an example of a townhouse for the elite. The Powel House, located at 244 S. Third Street in Society Hill, was home of the last colonial mayor of Philadelphia and is an example of a townhouse for the elite. (Photograph by Bonnie Halda)[/caption]

In 1900, the old Fifth Ward housed an often impoverished population, with all of the health and social problems attendant to that. At the same time, the area remained a mixed-use neighborhood with commercial and industrial establishments such as a wholesale food market located at Dock Street and warehouses and light manufacturing nearby. Several publishers worked out of large buildings fronting Washington Square, and the insurance industry expanded along Chestnut Street. The area near Willings Alley was the home to the headquarters of three of the country's largest railroads. 

The Great Depression accelerated the old Fifth Ward’s transformation. Redlining limited investment, and colonial and federal houses were outfitted with storefronts and fire escapes and used as shops and rooming houses. A purveyor of hog bristles purchased the Powel House, intending  to convert it into an “outdoor garage.” Preservationists saved the historic structure  from that fate by acquiring it and operating it as a museum. But after World War II, as work disappeared from its factories and port, the old Fifth Ward sank further, with its councilman claiming Dock Street was a virtual skid row. The market was filthy, dilapidated, and congested.

Creating the New “Society Hill” 

Political reform swept over Philadelphia after World War II.  Mayors Joseph Clarke (1901–90) and Richardson Dilworth (1898-1974) led an effort to renew the city beginning with its badly decayed Center City. The city located a new food distribution center elsewhere. Mayor Dilworth built a house in the colonial style on Washington Square and moved his family there,  hoping such actions would encourage others to convert what was viewed as a dirty and dangerous “has been” area of an urban core into a place of renewal. 

[caption id="attachment_14062" align="alignright" width="238"]Portrait of a young Edmund Bacon As executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Edmund Bacon supported strategies to bring more middle-class residents into the center of Philadelphia, including Society Hill. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries)[/caption]

Led by city planner Edmund Bacon (1910-2005), an urban renewal plan gave a major role to restoration of many of the early residences. Bacon’s plan included the demolition of many nonresidential buildings and the creation of “greenways.” The hope was that several high-rise buildings such as Society Hill Towers, new single homes and developments that complemented colonial homes, red brick sidewalks and Franklin lamps, a new market near Head House Square, and a supermarket and shops all would help to draw in families. New organizations such as the Philadelphia Historical Commission and the Old Philadelphia Development Corporation were created to certify historic houses and acquire property and then resell it to owners who agreed to follow strict preservation guidelines. By adopting a historic preservation urban renewal strategy of saving an entire neighborhood, not only individual homes, Philadelphia built upon the precedents of historic districts created in Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Georgia, and elsewhere.  Locally, leaders such as Charles E. Peterson (1906–2004), employed by the National Park Service during creation of nearby Independence National Historical Park, joined Bacon in spearheading the effort. But Bacon insisted on incorporating greenways and new construction in modernist style, such as the high-rise Society Hill Towers and Hopkinson House, to create a neighborhood distinctly different from a collection of historic buildings.

[caption id="attachment_14270" align="alignright" width="297"]Joseph Jefferson House, photographed here in 2014, has a garden and garage. A plaque marks the home as the site of his birthplace. Joseph Jefferson House at Sixth and Spruce Streets, photographed here in 2014, has a garden and garage. A plaque marks the home as Jefferson's birthplace. (Photograph by George W. Dowdall)[/caption]

Peterson renamed the old Fifth Ward as “Society Hill” as part of rebranding of the area and an investment strategy. Newspaper stories of urban pioneers who had used their own labor or funds to refurbish historic structures helped change its image. But another reality was also present: Most of the African American renters were displaced from the area; merchants opposed closing their businesses; and one resident later talked about the area before renewal as “a fun little neighborhood.” In Society Hill, as elsewhere in urban America, gentrification also meant dislocation as wealthier individuals and lenders pushed older residents out. Property 

[caption id="attachment_14330" align="alignright" width="300"]Photo of Joseph Jefferson House prior to its renovation. The Joseph Jefferson House prior to its renovation in 1969-70. The photograph is undated, but the cars parked nearby suggest it is from the 1960s. (PhillyHistory.org)[/caption]

values and rents rose. The later story line for Society Hill, however, became one of private initiative more than government effort remaking a city neighborhood. After all, banks, contractors, and corporations like Alcoa Aluminum had provided much of the capital for Society Hill’s renewal.

Plans to create a Crosstown Expressway would have leveled the South Street neighborhood, while off-ramps for Interstate 95 would have taken a corner of Society Hill. Older residents opposed to renewal and newer residents supportive of it combined their organizations into the Society Hill Civic Association in 1965, joining others in successfully opposing the expressway and ramps. Society Hill was nominated as an official city historic district in 1999, helping guard its historical character by vigilant review of zoning and historic preservation standards.

[caption id="attachment_13941" align="alignright" width="575"]A black and white aerial image of the Society Hill area of Philadelphia. The image shows three large residential towers in the center, with row houses to the around the edges of the image, with a part of the Delaware river towards the top of the image. The Society Hill Towers —the 30-story trio near center— brought hundreds of new residents into the city of Philadelphia while displacing the people who lived and worked in the buildings that were demolished to provide space for the new construction. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries)[/caption]

The area went from being well below the poverty line to one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. By 2014 its population included a higher proportion of senior citizens, foreign born, and households without children than before renewal. Recent changes have included more tall buildings such as Independence Place and a wave of conversions of nonresidential buildings into condos, such as the former headquarters of the Reading Railroad transformed into a luxury condo building (The Willings). A 45-story tower (The Saint James) arose behind the façade of a nineteenth-century bank. But high-rise projects have not succeeded everywhere. For example, efforts to construct a tower behind the Dilworth House have so far been stopped in the courts.

Over more than three centuries, Society Hill evolved from a mixed-use neighborhood of a colonial town, to a big city ward that contained skid row and slum, and now to a gentrified “gold coast.” Its recent history includes a largely successful effort to return it to a former glory as an urbane village of historic homes (and, now, luxury high-rises), but one largely stripped of the industrial, commercial, and civic institutions and the visible racial and ethnic minorities that once filled its streets.

 George W. Dowdall is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Saint Joseph’s University and Adjunct Fellow, Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania.

Savings Societies

[caption id="attachment_14234" align="alignright" width="281"]A black and white photograph showing a two-story stone building on the corner of a city block. Sections of the sidewalk and the street are visible. When the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society occupied this building on Walnut at Seventh Street in the 1870s, it hired multilingual staff members to assist working-class immigrants in reaching their financial goals. (Library Company of Philadelphia)[/caption]

The two most prominent forms of savings societies are the mutual savings bank and the savings and loan association, and Philadelphia is the home to the first institution for both. The Philadelphia Saving Fund Society (PSFS), founded 1816, and Oxford Provident Building Association, formed in 1831, were member-owned cooperatives whose success helped launch two financial industries that would aid millions of Americans saving for a variety of goals, including retirement, starting a business, or the purchase of a home.  Savings societies thrived in the Philadelphia region until the 1980s when  changes in the regulatory environment led to increased competition with other financial industries. The resulting turmoil caused PSFS and dozens of savings and loans to cease operations, and by the end of the twentieth century only a handful of savings societies remained in business.

The ideals and operating principles for savings societies came to America from England and Scotland, where they originated around the turn of the nineteenth century.  Designed as self-help institutions, both savings banks and savings and loans assisted people of modest means in achieving long-term financial goals by promoting habits of systematic savings and mutual cooperation.  Significantly, people often joined either of these businesses for a specific goal—savings bank members tended to save for the expenses associated with illness, retirement, or death, while savings and loans attracted people who wanted to purchase a home.  Members made weekly or monthly deposits that the managers accumulated and invested for their benefit.  Savings banks’ funds were invested in low-risk securities like government bonds in order to preserve capital and earn steady income.  Savings and loans, however, used their funds to make mortgage loans to the members, which were repaid with interest over time.  Because the members of both institutions shared in any profits, it was in the interest of all to stay current on their deposits and payments.  At the same time, because these profits were credited to their accounts, members earned compound interest on their savings.

In late 1816, Condy Raguet (1784-1842), a merchant and diplomat, met with several of Philadelphia’s other prominent social and business leaders to organize PSFS.  It opened its first office at 22 S. Sixth Street with the express goal of encouraging in Philadelphia's poor and working classes the practice of regular savings.  In 1818, PSFS made its first mortgage (for $7,000) to renowned architect William Strickland (1788-1854), and as word of its reputation as a safe repository spread, the institution grew. By 1850 it had more than 10,000 members, including men and women, white and African American. The first depositor was, in fact, Raguet’s African American servant Curtis Roberts.  By 1916, PSFS had the largest number of depositors of any savings bank in America, and was the second largest in terms of deposits.  In addition to PSFS, three other savings fund societies formed in the region:  Wilmington Savings Fund Society in 1832,  Western Savings Fund Society in 1847 (located on Chestnut between Tenth and Eleventh Streets), and  Beneficial Savings Fund Society in 1853 at Thirteenth Street below Market Street.  The mutual savings bank idea spread to other states, primarily in the Northeast, and by 1930 a total of 592 savings banks were in operation, controlling assets of nearly $10.5 billion.

1831: Oxford Provident Building Association

In 1831, community leaders in the Frankford section of Philadelphia met to organize the country’s first savings and loan association, the Oxford Provident Building Association.  Originally called building and loans or thrifts, these associations had the specific goal of helping the members become homeowners.  People joined by subscribing to shares in the association that were equal to the amount needed to purchase a home. They paid for them in regular installments, for a period of seven to twelve years.  As these share payments accumulated, members applied for an advance equal to the face value of the unpaid shares that would be used to buy a house; these loans would then be repaid with interest over the same terms as the original shares.

[caption id="attachment_14233" align="alignright" width="211"]A color photograph of a two story white house, with a small white fence in front of it. Parts of the sidewalk and street are shown in front of the property. The first loan by Oxford Provident was granted to Comly Rich, who purchased this house, in Frankford, for $375. The Comly Rich House has been updated with modern amenities, but the physical structure of the building has remained intact. (Library of Congress)[/caption]

The first loan made by Oxford Provident was to Comly Rich, a lamplighter and comb maker, for $375 to purchase a home at 4276 Orchard Street in Frankford.  Interestingly, the first building and loans were supposed to go out of business once the original members had all repaid their loans, but soon associations formed that took in new members on a regular basis, and their numbers multiplied.  An 1893 federal survey showed that Philadelphia had the largest number of thrifts of any city in the country (more than 400), and their work in helping working-class people buy houses contributed to Philadelphia’s reputation as the “City of Homes.”  Like savings banks, the thrift industry spread to other states. By 1930 there were 11,777 savings and loans in operation nationwide, and these small neighborhood businesses controlled $8.8 billion in assets.

One of the significant aspects of this early development of savings societies in Philadelphia was their broad appeal to all elements of the working classes.  Both mutual savings banks and savings and loans encouraged men and women to join, and by the early twentieth century many of these institutions (of which PSFS was one of the first) had created special programs to enable children to save.  At the same time, savings and loans often formed to serve specific neighborhoods or ethnic communities, a trend reflected in such names as the Thirtieth Ward Building and Loan and the Shamrock Building and Loan. In the 1920s, minority-owned thrifts appeared to address the needs of the city’s growing African American population; and by the end of the decade, Philadelphia had 36 such associations, the most of any city in the country.  The oldest of these was the Berean Building and Loan Association founded in 1888 at the Berean Presbyterian Church on South College Avenue.

Depression-Era Foreclosures

The Great Depression took a significant toll on Philadelphia’s savings societies, just as it did on all financial institutions. As members fell behind on their share payments and associations had to foreclose on delinquent loans, more than half of all building and loans in the city went out of business. While Philadelphia’s four major savings banks survived the decade, each experienced difficulties, like deposit runs, that tested the mutual spirit of these businesses. One bright spot during this decade was the opening of the PSFS Building in 1932 at 1200 Market Street in downtown Philadelphia. The 36-floor building is considered the first modern skyscraper in America and included design features that were a stark contrast to traditional bank buildings, including PSFS’s old headquarters at Seventh and Walnut Streets.  Based on the new “international style” of architecture, the PSFS building was sleek and streamlined, with identical glass-walled floors wrapped around a T-shaped steel skeleton. A 27-foot, red neon sign on top spelled out PSFS and could be seen for miles. 

The return of economic growth in the 1950s and 1960s was especially good for savings societies.  While there was not a significant increase in the number of new institutions, the surge in new housing construction (especially in the suburbs like Levittown, Pennsylvania),  as well as an increase in the number of branch offices, caused existing savings and loans and savings banks to grow significantly larger.  This period of prosperity came to an end in the 1970s as unprecedented increases in interest rates and inflation led to the first significant number of bank failures since the 1930s. Among these was First Pennsylvania Bank, Philadelphia’s oldest bank, which was bailed out by regulators in 1980.

Because of these problems, Congress passed two laws, the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 and the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982, which significantly deregulated all financial industries and gave both savings banks and savings and loans broad new lending powers.  One effect of these new laws was that many Philadelphia savings societies entered new areas of business, with PSFS being arguably the most aggressive in this type of expansion.  It merged with Western SFS in 1982, converted from mutual to stock ownership in 1983, and two years later acquired several savings and loans in Florida and the mortgage lending operations of General Electric Credit Corp. By the end of 1985, PSFS was not only the largest savings bank in the country but as part of Meritor Financial Group had become a diversified financial services holding company with $16.7 billion in assets. Another high-flying institution was Hill Financial Savings in Red Hill, which through aggressive lending and acquisitions had become by 1988 Pennsylvania’s largest savings association with more than $2.2 billion in assets.

Rapid Growth, Then Turmoil

[caption id="attachment_14235" align="alignright" width="214"]A color photograph of the PSFS Building from a few blocks away, showing the whole building, market street, people, cars, and buildings leading up to the building. The Philadelphia Saving Fund Society constructed its 36-story headquarters on Market Street in 1931-32, while it was one of the largest saving societies in Philadelphia region. (Library of Congress)[/caption]

Eventually, the problems associated with the rapid growth of the nation’s financial institutions became evident, as hundreds of banks began to fail across the country.  While the majority of savings societies in the Philadelphia region escaped the turmoil, there were several notable exceptions.  Among these was the collapse of Hill Financial in 1989, later shown to be due to fraud and mismanagement. It became one of the ten most expensive savings and loan failures in history. The 1990 failure of $5.8 billion Atlantic Financial Savings of Bala Cynwyd was the state’s most severe; both of these institutions were eventually sold to Wells Fargo. The most significant loss, however, was PSFS, seized by federal regulators in December 1992 and sold to Mellon Bank. While PSFS ceased to exist, the iconic PSFS building remains a part of the city, having begun a new life in 2000 as the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.

Despite the turmoil and consolidation of the 1980s and 1990s, the Philadelphia region is still  home to several billion-dollar savings institutions. These include Beneficial Mutual Savings Bank (successor to Beneficial SFS) and  Wilmington Society for Savings FSB, as well as Firstrust Savings Bank, Fox Chase Bank, and First Savings Bank of Perkasie, all of which were originally founded as mutual savings and loans or savings banks prior to World War II.


David L. Mason is an Associate Professor of History at Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Georgia, and has written extensively on the savings and loan industry.

Silas Chamberlin

Silas Chamberlin holds a doctorate in environmental history from Lehigh University and currently serves as a regional adviser in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources.  His dissertation, “On the Trail: A History of American Hiking,” is the first comprehensive, national history of the hiking and trails community from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century, and his research on trails, hiking, and outdoor recreation has appeared in Pennsylvania History and Landscape Architecture Magazine.

Schuylkill Expressway

[caption id="attachment_14078" align="alignright" width="300"]A black and white photograph of a highway with cars as it curves towards Philadelphia. Buildings, city hall, and the Philadelphia museum of art are in the background. The Schuylkill Expressway offers a direct route between the northwest suburbs and the heart of Philadelphia. The popularity of the route, shown here in the 1960s, has turned it into one of the most congested and accident-prone highways in Pennsylvania. (PhillyHistory.org)[/caption]

Fully opened for traffic November 25, 1958, Philadelphia’s Schuylkill Expressway was gridlocked from the first day of its operation. Envisioned by city planners as a panacea for economy-suffocating urban traffic congestion, but built on flawed engineering assumptions about traffic flows, the expressway ignored any concern for postwar social and regional realities.  Rather than being acclaimed, within years the highway was decried, ignominiously branded the “Surekill Distressway.”

Decades before it was built, traffic jammed the narrow streets of 1930s Philadelphia despite the Great Depression, and later the city’s World War II-fueled economic revival only exacerbated matters. Postwar pro-growth planners and organizations such as the Greater Philadelphia Movement (GPM) and the Citizens’ Committee on the City Plan (CCCP) saw this automobile congestion, together with slums and suburbanization, as draining the city’s lifeblood. Well-engineered express highways, they argued, would save the downtown and help restore livable urban neighborhoods.

[caption id="attachment_14166" align="alignright" width="300"]Traffic on the westbound Schuylkill Expressway backs up near the Philadelphia Museum of Art on January 29, 2015, after a minor accident blocked the left lane, resulting in a miles-long backup that affected both directions of the expressway. (Photography by Donald D. Groff for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia) Traffic on the westbound Schuylkill Expressway backs up near the Philadelphia Museum of Art on January 29, 2015, after a minor accident blocked the left lane. (Photograph by Donald D. Groff for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia)[/caption]

Highway mania had intensified in 1938 with publication of “Toll Roads and Free Roads,” prepared by the Bureau of Public Roads (BPR).  Created in 1916 to free American farmers from the mud, the engineering-oriented BPR in 1938 now advocated a modern urban-oriented highway system that one year later was rendered graphically in General Motors’ “Futurama” exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

After World War II, Philadelphia boosters rallied behind the idea of modern freeways and pressed for a submerged Vine Street Expressway to relieve congestion from traffic flowing into the city from New Jersey via the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.  However, Pennsylvania’s historically anti-urban state legislature, which controlled both state and federal highway funds, quashed the idea. Instead, momentum built in Harrisburg for an east-west arterial highway in 1947 called the Valley Forge Expressway, connecting Philadelphia with King of Prussia and designed to relieve traffic jams on U.S. Route 30, which served Philadelphia’s “Main Line” suburbs such as Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford. Talk of such a highway dated from the 1920s and appeared in the 1931 Regional Plan of the Tri-State Regional Planning Federation.

[caption id="attachment_14077" align="alignright" width="300"]A photograph of some leveled dirt with markers and rope showing the edges of a road. Hills of dirt and people are in the background. The construction of the Schuylkill Expressway took almost ten years to complete. Excavators had to even-out hills and depressions along the Schuylkill River before the pavement process could begin. (PhillyHistory.org)[/caption]

By 1941, the year that President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Interregional Highway Commission proposed a 40,000-mile, federally funded interregional highway system (the Federal Aid System), the so-called Valley Forge Expressway appeared on Pennsylvania’s wish list of modern state highways.  Together with the widened and submerged Vine Street and the “Industrial Highway” skirting the Delaware River, the Schuylkill Expressway was featured in planner Edmund Bacon (1901-2005) and architect Oscar Stonorov’s (1905-1970) spectacular “Better Philadelphia Exhibit” in 1947.

With the Pennsylvania Turnpike nearing completion, Philadelphia’s fledgling City Planning Commission in 1947 undertook a Philadelphia-Camden origin-and-destination survey, whose data officially supported building an express highway following the Schuylkill River from the new Pennsylvania Turnpike exit at Valley Forge into the “heart of Philadelphia.”  

However, while both the Bureau of Public Roads and Edmund Bacon saw the Schuylkill Expressway relieving traffic congestion regionally, north and south of the proposed multilane highway, as well as east and west, Clark, Rapuano, Holleran, Hardesty, and Hanover, the engineering firm contracted to design the roadway, interpreted the 1947 origin-and-destination data to alleviate mainly Pennsylvania Turnpike and Philadelphia-generated traffic volumes. They ignored Broad Street traffic and other traffic flowing from Philadelphia’s burgeoning northeast where Bacon planned  garden-city communities. Nor did Clark, Rapuano’s flawed design grapple any more successfully with the topographical obstacles presented by the rugged, albeit idyllic,  Schuylkill Valley terrain as it entered the city limits.  Against protest, the historic Schuylkill canal locks and sections of Fairmount Park were sacrificed, and the narrowing of the roadway from six lanes to four as the highway approached Thirtieth Street made a bottleneck inevitable, despite frequent and dangerous turnoffs into Fairmount Park.

Constructed between 1949 and 1959, much of it before the availability of federal funds derived from the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, the original Schuylkill Expressway largely predated modern highway standards. By 1962, fatal accidents occurred frequently, and experts identified ten potential deathtraps. In 1970, with federal funds, the state completely redesigned and rebuilt the complex of on- and off-ramps in the vicinity of City Line Avenue and the Roosevelt Boulevard Extension.  In the 1980s, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation added new lanes and rebuilt shoulders along the entire twenty-mile length of the highway.  Long the busiest highway in Pennsylvania, by the twenty-first century the expressway carried 163,000 vehicles daily within Philadelphia County and 109,000 more vehicles daily in adjoining suburban Montgomery County. Its heavy use profoundly impacted the growth of the Philadelphia region.  It especially opened the city’s western suburbs to intensive residential and industrial development, making Montgomery County, for example, a center of American pharmaceutical industrialism and boosting one of the largest shopping-mall complexes in America at King of Prussia. That intense growth, plus the traffic from North Philadelphia and Bucks County flowing from the Roosevelt Boulevard Extension of the expressway, daily flooded the highway with commuter vehicles. Thus, notwithstanding several rebuildings, the Schuylkill Expressway in the era 2010-2014 still ranked as one of the most dangerous and congested commuter highways in America.  Its historic failings attest to the flawed motivations and assumptions that guided its birth.

John F. Bauman is Visiting Research Professor at the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, and the author of books and journal articles on a broad range of urban policy issues.

Walking Purchase

[caption id="attachment_13736" align="alignright" width="239"]A color image of a map, that shows a small triangular piece of land, with boundaries, mountains, and small animals drawn on the page. Soon after the Walking Purchase was complete, John Chapman surveyed the area and created this map. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)[/caption]

With the Walking Purchase of 1737, Pennsylvania officials defrauded the Delaware Indians out of a vast amount of land, perhaps over one million acres, in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys. John Penn (1700-46) and Thomas Penn (1702-75), the sons of William Penn (1644-1718), with James Logan (1674-1751), the provincial secretary of Pennsylvania, devised the land grab by using an unsigned draft of a 1686 deed, obtaining support from the Iroquois and using trickery to take much more land than specified in the draft deed.  The Walking Purchase represented a shift from earlier land transactions between William Penn’s government and the Delawares (also known as the Lenapes and Munsees) and paved the way for tensions that contributed to the Seven Years’ War.

After receiving a charter for Pennsylvania in 1681, William Penn sought to purchase the land in southeastern Pennsylvania from the Delawares, obtaining much of the territory before leaving the colony in 1684. His agents negotiated the purchase of land in central Bucks County in 1686, but the deed was unsigned because Penn failed to send enough trade goods to complete the sale. Penn had left the colony in part to address his financial problems and the purchase was never fully consummated.

By the 1730s, the increasing population of Pennsylvania coupled with the growing debt of Penn’s heirs led the Penns and Logan to defraud the Delawares. Speculators, including Logan, had already purchased tracts of land in northern Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley, but needed an agreement with the Delawares before allowing settlement.  Logan produced the unsigned copy of the 1686 deed, claiming that the Delawares had agreed to sell territory that a man could walk in a day and a half north from the boundary at Wrightstown. While the Delawares believed the new boundary would be Tohickon Creek in central Bucks County, Logan and the Penns aimed to obtain territory well beyond the Lehigh River. Historian Stephen Harper pointed out that the alleged deed lacked any signatures or evidence of payment, which weakened the proprietors’ claims to the land.  Nevertheless, Logan met with Delaware sachems at Pennsbury and continued to press the proprietors’ claims. 

Misleading Map

Logan worked for a rapid resolution to this situation at a series of meetings with Delaware sachems.  Logan and Thomas Penn met with Nutimus, Manawkyhickon, Lapowinzo, and Tishcohan at Stenton, Logan’s county seat outside of Philadelphia, in August 1737.  Manawkyhickon expressed a willingness to agree to the transaction if the sachems could learn how much land had been ceded to the proprietor in the draft deed. Andrew Hamilton, an agent for the provincial government, produced a map, which misled the sachems into thinking that the purchase involved only territory south of Tohickon Creek.  The sachems finally agreed to the transaction after being assured that the Delawares would not be removed from their settlements.

[caption id="attachment_13737" align="alignright" width="179"]A color map of the eastern side of Pennsylvania, with parts of Western New Jersey. The map is shaded to show the size of the Walking Purchase. Some areas are labeled. The shaded area in this modern map of eastern Pennsylvania shows the total area claimed through the Walking Purchase. (Wikimedia Commons)[/caption]

Unbeknownst to the Delawares, colonial agents had already performed a reconnaissance of the territory and cleared a path for the walkers.  On September 19, 1737, three colonial walkers set off at a rapid pace; after one and one-half days one man covered over 60 miles.  Surveyors acquired even more territory by angling the boundary to the confluence of the Delaware and Lackawaxen Rivers. 

When the Delaware Indians protested the amount of land they lost in the Walking Purchase and refused to leave the region north of Tohickon Creek, the Pennsylvania government appealed to the Iroquois to help justify the transaction. Canassatego, an Iroquois spokesman, rebuked the Delawares for not complying with the purchase at a conference in Philadelphia in 1742.  Over subsequent years, most Delawares in eastern Pennsylvania moved west to the Ohio River Valley and developed trade relations with the French.  With the onset of hostilities in the Seven Years’ War, many Delawares sided with the French after General Edward Braddock (1695-1755) rejected their attempt to forge an alliance with the British.  Consequently, the Walking Purchase reflected a shift from William Penn’s early diplomacy with the Delawares, alienating them from the British colonists by the mid-eighteenth century.

Tim Hayburn received his doctorate in colonial American history from Lehigh University.  

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