Commentary on the Will of Mary Houlton (1730-1811)

MARY HOULTON “Maiden” (1730-1811) Parents:   John Houlton (1695-1769) &  Elizabeth Brooks (1700-1759) (On June 11, 1722, New Garden MM, Chester County, Pennsylvania, “Margaret Johnson & Rachel Miller make report that the marriage of John Houlton & […]

The African American Museum of Philadelphia.  Photo by Jim Murphy.

The African American Museum of Philadelphia

Where you’ll meet a “Who’s Who” of remarkable Americans many of us know little about Growing up in Delaware County, I heard family horror stories about the discrimination Irish Catholics faced when they landed here. And about […]


Hats off to Richard Tittermary, the 1798 Southwark Direct Tax Surveyor of the Revenue, But a Sad Moment for a Missing Antiquity

Shown below is an example of the A plus handwriting and details recorded by the tax assessor for East Southwark, Philadelphia County, PA in 1798.  Pennsylvania is indeed fortunate that these assessments still exist. All […]

This marker is at 312 Walnut Street.

The Acadian Connection

Longfellow’s popular poem Evangeline still has people searching for the tombs of the Acadian heroine and her lost lover Gabriel in Philadelphia – even though they’re fictional characters! Until recently, I only vaguely knew about […]

Gloria Dei Church, Photo by Amy Grant

Renewal and Restoration at Old Swedes’ Historic Graveyard

After over three hundred years of continuous use, the churchyard at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church was in desperate need of repair and restoration. Trees and shrubs had overrun the burial ground and needed pruning […]

Masonic Temple, Philadelphia

The Magnificent Masonic Temple

Inside are seven spectacular halls representing different cultures and styles – each one more dazzling than the last. The building is an architectural tour de force. Some years ago, a Philadelphia tour guide – who saw me near the […]

Capt. Gustavus Conyngham.  Painting by V. Zveg.

Captain Gustavus Conyngham, USN, King George III’s Worst Nightmare

This daring Errol-Flynn-type character terrorized English ships, capturing more vessels than Commodore John Barry and Captain John Paul Jones combined

The Reading Terminal Market attracts six million visitors a year.

Reading Terminal Market

If the 123-year-old Reading Terminal Market (RTM) were a boxer, it would have been knocked out in the 1970s. By 1979, eight years after the Reading Company declared bankruptcy, the once-proud market was stumbling badly. […]

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

If you asked me to rank Philadelphia’s must-see sights, the unique Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) building on North Broad Street would easily top my list of buildings. To me, this one-of-a-kind creation, […]

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

This historic special-collections library and museum on Washington Square welcomes residents and tourists alike. In 1814, a group of local learned men – with broad interests in science, literature, politics and more – announced the […]