August 22nd, 2013

The Struggle over Fiscal Policy

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

American politicians never seem to have been able to reach a consensus agreement on economic policy; this was as true a fact in the early 1800s as it is today. During the War of 1812, America’s economic situation reached crisis levels—without a centralized national bank, many state banks began printing their own currencies that they could not back with federal currency. Spurred by the fear that the federal government would have to default on its debt, Congress marshaled a majority in support of a new national bank, built in Philadelphia.Second Bank of the U.S.

To learn more about the Second Bank of the U.S., its connection to prominent Philadelphians and Philadelphia landmarks, such as the Merchants’ Exchange and Girard College, and the controversy that surrounded Andrew Jackson’s Bank War, visit Philaplace today.


July 24th, 2013

Church of St. Adalbert: Immigrant Enclaves In Philadelphia

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

By the beginning of the 1900s, Philadelphia’s rapid industrial growth had attracted large numbers of immigrants. Many of the immigrants settled into close communities that grew into microcosms of their original homelands. Among these communities is the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Port Richmond, where one need only walk past the various Polish markets, delis and business establishments to recognize the influence that the Polish immigrant community has had on the neighborhood.

St. Adalbert Church on Allegheny Avenue

But no single site provides a better example of this influence than does the Church of St. Adalbert on the corner of Allegheny and Thompson streets. It was built in the Polish Cathedral architectural style, and has held Polish and English services since its construction in 1909. Learn more about the church and the visit of Cardinal Karol Wojty­ła who later became the only Pope from Poland on PhilaPlace.

St. Adalbert Church on Allegheny Avenue

January 30th, 2013

The Pastorius Connection:Freedom, Faith & Education in Germantown

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

First United Methodist Church of Germantown view at corner of Germantown and High Street

One of original Germantown Academy buildings

The modern residents of Germantown in Philadelphia owe a debt of thanks to Francis Daniel Pastorius. Pastorius was a lawyer born in Germany who was responsible for the founding of Germantown. Like Benjamin Franklin, Pastorius, and later his descendants, helped to establish community institutions in the Germantown Neighborhood. Daniel Francis Pastorius provided the land for the building of one the first school in Germantown, the Union School of Germantown, which became the Germantown Academy. The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. now stands on the former site of the Academy. Pastorius great grandson, Daniel, followed in the footsteps of his Great Grandfather. Daniel Francis Pastorius believed that everyone should have the freedom to worship in their own way. Daniel Pastorius allowed early Germantown Methodists to worship in his house. Soon after, Daniel Pastorius sold them the land for the First United Methodist Church of Germantown. However, someone who begins to investigate the history of these places will find that all these institutions lead back to an unassuming building at 6019 Germantown Avenue known as the Green Tree Tavern. You can begin your journey at PhilaPlace about this historical landmark.


January 30th, 2013

Francis Daniel Pastorius: A “Beehive’s” Worth of Historical Feats

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

A modern photo of the Pastorius homestead at 25 High Street in Germantown

Almost everyone has thought of making a fresh start at some point in their lives. Francis Daniel Pastorius, however, came all the way to the American colonies to begin his new life. Pastorius was reluctant at times to complete this transition to his new life since he very easily could have returned to Germany to practice law. Pastorius, however, had little choice since thirty three fellow immigrants looked to him as a leader. These immigrants believed that Pastorius was a remarkable individual who was going to make their dream of a haven of religious freedom into a reality. Read more about Pastorius at PhilaPlace.


January 30th, 2013

The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Classroom and Office Space at the Schoolhouse Lane location of Pennsylvania School for Deaf

Many of us see the need for change in our present educational system. The question remains though how many among us are willing to take the steps to make that change. In 1820, Philadelphia merchant David Seixas took it upon himself to bring eleven hearing-impaired children into his Market Street home and provide them with an education. This “school” received a more permanent home a year later with the help of Bishop William White and the American Philosophical Society. The actions of these concerned Philadelphia citizens ultimately led to the establishment of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Read about the rich history of this school at  PhilaPlace.


December 20th, 2012

The Oellers Hotel: Defintely a Philadelphia Original

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

the public ledger building at site of old Oellers Hotel

A water color of The Oellers Hotel in 1790

A person’s ability to think up a fresh idea is something special.  A fresh idea is also something that doesn’t happen all the time. The owner of the Oellers Hotel, James Oellers, had the great fortune to think of several fresh ideas in his lifetime. Oellers was also able to witness a few firsts which happen to occur at his establishment. These firsts allowed him to enjoy a great deal of success. However, Oellers also needed to deal with some misfortune as well. Come on over to PhilaPlace and read about the rise and fall of the nation’s first hotel, the Oellers Hotel.


December 20th, 2012

Ricketts Circus: The Birth of the Circus in America

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

a picture of John Bill Ricketts on horseback

a watercolor of the Ricketts Amphitheater from 1790

Who would ever think of going to a Circus to be educated as well as entertained? John Bill Ricketts had a vision of providing his audience with amazing stunts and animal entertainment. Ricketts also wanted his show to educate the audience. We have Ricketts to thank for establishing the first modern circus in America in Philadelphia. You may ask, “what happened to this amazing showman?” Find out about Ricketts Circus on PhilaPlace.


November 28th, 2012

The First United Methodist Church of Germantown Sunday School

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

The rear of the Loder Educational BuildingChildren usually learn their first word and how to count from their mom or dad. Most parents are happy to play the role of first teacher and teach their children all they know about the child’s brand new world. However, children eventually reach the point in their education where they go to school. The First Methodist Church of Germantown has been providing children with their first lessons as well as a religious education in their Sunday School for almost two hundred years. You can find out more about The First United Methodist Church of Germantown Sunday School’s history at PhilaPlace.


November 19th, 2012

First United Methodist Church of Germantown

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

First United Methodist Church of Germantown view at corner of Germantown and High StreetThe First United Methodist Church of Germantown is quite a sight to behold for someone walking up Germantown Avenue. It definitely reminds you of the way that they used to build churches. The “Campus”, as it is called, has several buildings including an office, a chapel, a Sunday School and a main sanctuary. The story of how the Methodists Society of Germantown came into existence is amazing. The congregation of the Methodists Society of Germantown started from humble beginnings and the modern church has definitely not forgotten. The Methodist Church continues to work to improve the quality of life in the Germantown community. You can learn more about the First United Methodist Church of Germantown on PhilaPlace.


November 8th, 2012

Germantown Academy

By The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

One of original Germantown Academy buildings

Every parent works very hard to see that their child receives a great learning experience. However, what if the nearest quality school was over a day’s journey away from your house? The question then becomes, “what would you be willing to do as a parent to guarantee your child an education?”
A group of Germantown businessmen worked hard to find the answer to this question in December 1759. These members of the Germantown community decided to open their own school. Like many useful ideas, the Union School of Germantown could have remained a dream. Instead, Germantown Academy has been providing a quality education for over two hundred and fifty years. You can read more about the Academy on PhilaPlace.