From 2011 to 2016, Jim Murphy’s column, “Exploring the City,” ran in the Society Hill Reporter six times a year.

His subject matter in those 32 columns ranges from “Our Charley,” a child buried in Old Pine Churchyard … to Commodore John Barry … to the ground-breaking PSFS building.

To make his stories come alive, Jim looks for what he calls interesting oddities. And he often captures and summarizes important details in Fast Facts at the bottom of his columns.

Jim now writes for QVNA, the magazine published by the Queen Village Neighbors Association.

A lover of history and Philadelphia, Jim is also certified as a tour guide by the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.

‘Liberty 360’ Adds a New Dimension to Learning

A few steps from Independence Hall, state-of-the-art technology is making Philadelphia’s history come alive in powerful new ways for young and old alike.

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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.

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Christ Church

With a soaring 196-foot steeple that towers over newer structures nearby, Christ Church is both a spectacular historic building … and living history at its best.

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Historical Society of Pennsylvania

At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, you’ll find an astonishing collection of unique documents, watercolors, genealogical records, letters, diaries and more.

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Isaiah Zagar

After moving to Philadelphia from the suburbs in 2008, Jim Murphy was fascinated by the colorful, shimmering mosaics he found on Gaskill, Leithgow, and South Streets.

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National Archives at Philadelphia

Whether you are putting together a family history, trying to prove citizenship, learning how to evaluate primary sources, or doing any type of historical research, it’s worth a visit to the National Archives.

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National Museum of American Jewish History

After watching the National Museum of American Jewish History’s glass and terra cotta building rising along 5th Street below Market for what seemed like ages, Jim Murphy was anxious to see what was inside.

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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!

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The Gaskill Street Baths

The Public Baths Association formally opened its first baths April 20, 1898 at 410-12 Gaskill Street in “one of the oldest and most thickly populated sections of the city.”

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The Library Company of Philadelphia

If you’re looking for books, prints, periodicals, photos or ephemera from Colonial America through the 19th century, this is the place to go!

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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.

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Washington Avenue Immigration Station

Since the 1870’s, the station was an entry point and processing center for immigrants, primarily from Southern and Eastern Europe. From here, newcomers moved into the city or other parts of the state.

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Welcome Park

Considering all that William Penn did for Philadelphia and our nation – while living here less than four years – he is seriously unappreciated by the very city he founded.

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Who is John Barry?

Commodore John Barry played an extraordinary role in our country’s history. Without his heroism and leadership, we might well be swearing allegiance today to the Queen of England.

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