Civic boosters in the late nineteenth century adopted “Greater Philadelphia” as a phrase denoting aspirations for progress as well as way of describing the region including Philadelphia and extending beyond its boundaries. For more than a century since, numerous businesses and other organizations, including The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, have signaled their regional scope by adopting this phrase. This layer of the Encyclopedia emphasizes topics that cross the region of Philadelphia, southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware, including governance, geography and settlement patterns, infrastructure, transportation, and social issues.
Philadelphia ranked as one of the nation’s foremost saw manufacturing centers for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By the mid-nineteenth century a number of major saw manufacturers operated in the city, including the world’s largest, Henry Disston’s Keystone Saw Works.
Philadelphia was at the center of the early prison reform movement, first introducing individual cells at Walnut Street Prison and later solitary confinement. The city's prisons later became notorious for conducting experiments on prisoners and a high rate of incarceration.
From its inception, zoning became a fraught subject. By empowering neighborhood groups and local politicians with power over land use in their communities, zoning brought such groups in Philadelphia and elsewhere into contest with developers, industrial concerns, and sometimes with other people who wanted to move into their neighborhoods. In 1962, Mayor James Tate signed a major overhaul to the zoning code at City Hall, the first revision to the code since 1933.
Jewelers Row in Center City Philadelphia emerged in the 1880s and over time became home to more than two hundred jewelry retailers, wholesalers, and craftsmen. The 700 block of Sansom Street has evolved throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and still houses many jewelry shops.
Free clinics known as dispensaries served the “working poor” from the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries. The Philadelphia Dispensary for the Medical Relief of the Poor, considered the nation’s first, opened in 1786 and erected a new building on Fifth Street in 1801.
The Old Dutch House in New Castle, Delaware, dates to the seventeenth century and is believed to be one of the oldest houses in Delaware. Henry Hudson, who was employed by the Dutch East India Company, anchored in Delaware Bay in 1609, and claimed the country for the Dutch.
The four-state compact that established the Delaware River Basin Commission was a breakthrough in addressing the land and water impacts of natural resources spanning political jurisdictions. Washington Crossing is a historic vantage point for river recreation.
The bounty of the hinterlands helped fuel Philadelphia's progress. Hopewell Furnace, like other iron forges in the region during the colonial and early republic periods, supplied iron necessary for industry.
U.S. presidents have long visited Philadelphia to invoke the historic values of the country's founding documents. Independence Hall has been the backdrop for many such visits, beginning in 1833 with Andrew Jackson.
Until the 1890s, Windmill Island sat in the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden, first as one island and then two after a canal was cut. The canal would have been across from what in the twenty-first century is the Philadelphia terminus of the RiverLink ferry.
The Model Cities program called for federal services to redevelop the nation’s poorest communities. In 1967, North Philadelphia was designated for renewal, but efforts faltered and goals changed, with a textile company moved from North Broad Street to Spring Garden and Seventh Street.
Beginning in the 1920s, the Philadelphia region’s independent transit companies added motorized buses. The south east corner of 13th and Filbert Streets marks the location of the old Union Bus Terminal. Today, The Greyhound station on Filbert Street is just a few blocks away from the old Union Bus Terminal, which was a Thirteenth and Filbert.
The central event in the novel, 'The Garies and Their Friends,' is a graphically-rendered race riot, evoking the historical riots of 1834, 1838, 1842, and 1849. One of these riots, the Lombard Street Riot, has a historical marker located at Sixth and Lombard Streets.
Outside the urban core of Philadelphia, the picturesque rural landscape proved a significant draw to many artists in search of the purportedly simple, wholesome, and moral quality of countryside living. Prominent among the art colonies was Rose Valley, near Moylan, Pennsylvania.
The discovery of oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania, and the drilling of the first successful well in 1859 led to an oil revolution. Soon pipelines emerged as a key to oil transport, and pipeline growth continues today. Some lines reach refineries at Marcus Hook, near the state line between Pennsylvania and Delaware.
From radio’s earliest days, Philadelphia-area college and high school students have tested its boundaries. On Chestnut Street, Drexel University’s WKDU regularly welcomed local talent into its studio for live events, as did WPEN, which lent its studio to college broadcasters.
Media was built on farmland in the 1850s as the new seat of Delaware County. Twelve miles from Philadelphia, Media is an early example of a “planned community,” both a commercial center and a place to conduct government business. The Media Theatre served as a movie palace for almost 75 years.
Chester was once a booming industrial city and housed one-third of the population of Delaware County. The city supported iron works, locomotive works, paper mills, oil refineries and a ship yard in the years after the Civil War, but industrial jobs vanished in the twentieth century.
Pennsylvania Impressionist painting flourished in eastern Pennsylvania in the first half of the twentieth century. Often referred to as the “New Hope School” because artists in Bucks County produced the best-known works, the style was also practiced vigorously in Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Lehigh Counties, and key artists of the movement taught at the Pennsylvania […]
From 1754-89, relations between Pennsylvania and native tribes eroded badly. By 1789, only one enclave remained, as others were pushed westward or killed in fights with settlers. Near Conestoga, Pa., was the site of a massacre by the Paxton Boys.
Musical Fund Hall is where a convention altered the Pa. Constitution to disallow voting by black residents, a move that inspired the essay 'Appeal of Forty Thousand Citizens, Threatened with Disfranchisement, to the People of Philadelphia,' which argued against ratification.
Forts and other defenses on the Delaware River and, later, along the Atlantic coast guarded Philadelphia and other commercial centers during times of military jeopardy. Fort Mifflin and other surviving forts serve as reminders of the key role forts played in the region's economic, political, and social history.
In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, casino gambling became an accepted public policy in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and other states desperate to generate tax revenue and create jobs. But the gains often came with significant social and economic costs in Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and other communities in the region.
Although the United States’ involvement in World War I lasted just over a year, the conflict in Europe had a lasting impact on the Philadelphia region. The war created new opportunities for the region's industrial base, including the New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden.
The religious diversity of Philadelphia led to the creation of specialized institutions of higher learning reflecting each religion's values. Catholic-affiliated schools continue to embrace their religious banner, less so those schools with different affiliations.
People of African descent have migrated to Philadelphia since the seventeenth century. Although African Americans faced discrimination, disfranchisement, and periodic race riots in the 1800s, the community attracted tens of thousands of people during World War I's Great Migration.
The revival of immigration to Philadelphia and its surrounding region in the early nineteenth century provided one of the most powerful elements in reshaping the city's society. The German Society of Pennsylvania assisted German newcomers in finding jobs and housing.
For more than three centuries Parochial schools in the Philadelphia region have responded to the changing characteristics of the region’s Catholic population.
The Delaware River Port Authority was created nearly 100 years ago as a bi-state commission for the purpose of building a single toll bridge. A 1992 amendment gave the DRPA two new mandates–port unification and economic development-- both of which proved to be difficult to implement.