“Philadelphia used to have a lot of industry”: Farewell to the Girard Point (Tidewater) Grain Elevator

“Philadelphia used to have a lot of industry. Not so much anymore.” –Harry Hagin, site superintendent, Camden Iron and Metal, 12/19/07 At 7AM on Sunday, demolition charges will echo throughout the refineries and tank farms of South Philadelphia as scrap dealers Camden Iron and Metal implode the headhouse of the last of Philadelphia’s great grain […]

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William Rau and the Spirit of Transportation

When the Pennsylvania Railroad enlisted Philadelphia photographer William H. Rau to market the quality of the Railroad’s system by photographing its trackage, stations, and other facilities, photography was moving from the amateurist’s province to becoming an appendage of capitalism.  Photography, a medium that offered unpretentious and precise depiction of reality, was an ideal way to generate respect for the Railroad’s engineering expertise.  While some of Rau’s photos have recently fetched outrageous sums at […]

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