Each of the nearly 100 essays in Insight Philadelphia tells a succinct, compelling, and little-known tale of the city’s past. Some stories are quirky, like how early gas stations were designed to resemble classical temples, or the saga of how a museum acquired a 2000-year-old Greek statue, then had it demolished with a sledgehammer. Other stories turn serious, exploring the tragic deaths of child laborers in the city’s textile mills and a century-old case of racial profiling that led to a stationhouse murder. Historian Kenneth Finkel introduces readers to the many brave souls and colorful characters who left their mark on the city, from the Irish immigrant “coal heavers”—who initiated the nation’s first general strike—to the teenage Josephine Baker making a flashy debut on the Philadelphia stage.
Illustrated with scores of rare archival images, Insight Philadelphia will give readers a new appreciation for the people and places that make the City of Brotherly Love so unique.