The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River

Beth Kephart
Book Cover

PB: $15.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-637-7
Publication: Jun 17

HC: $30.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-636-0
Publication: May 07

Ebook: $30.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-638-4

120 pages
5.5 x 8.25
18 halftones

An autobiography of the Schuylkill, and a meditation on the river's impact on Philadelphia's history, people, and environment

Read the Prologue (pdf).


The Schuylkill River-the name in Dutch means "hidden creek"-courses many miles, turning through Philadelphia before it yields to the Delaware. "I am this wide. I am this deep. A tad voluptuous, but only in places," writes Beth Kephart, capturing the voice of this natural resource in Flow. An award-winning author, Kephart's elegant, impressionistic story of the Schuylkill navigates the beating heart of this magnificent water source. Readers are invited to flow through time-from the colonial era and Ben Franklin's death through episodes of Yellow Fever and the Winter of 1872, when the river froze over-to the present day. Readers will feel the silt of the Schuylkill's banks, swim with its perch and catfish, and cruise-or scull-downstream, from Reading to Valley Forge to the Water Works outside center city. Flow's lush narrative is peppered with lovely, black and white photographs and illustrations depicting the river's history, its people, and its gorgeous vistas. Written with wisdom and with awe for one of the oldest friends of all Philadelphians, Flow is a perfect book for reading while the ice melts, and for slipping in your bag for your own visit to the Schuylkill.

Table of Contents

Flow Table of Contents Preface Rising Bear Ganshowahanna Howling Flight Found Swarm Temptation Ice Storm Catfish Comet Confidante, Three Days Afterwards John Bartram Baptismal Rights State in Schuylkill Skating Party Tipsy Crossings Fort Mifflin Independence Confession Folly Ice Air Laurel Soul Yellow Fever Varnish The Hills Unplugged Meriwether Lewis Conflagration Progress Ornament Navigation Water Wheels Haven Meteors above the Colossus Love Eden Asylum Anthracite Fins Heroes Waste Civil War Respects Sculling Anthracite Nostalgia Steam Winter of 1872: Frozen Through Zoological Gardens Mighty Katherine Rows Intimations: Anthony Drexel Ooze Influenza Supperating Revenge Something Last Skate Abiding Kite Tails Falling Up Jewfish: The Aquarium at the Old Water Works Comet Flow Pussy Willows Hurricane Agnes Renditions Proverbial Something Catfish South Street Bridge Suicide Ernesta Drinker Ballard Blaze Love Bibliography Acknowledgments

About the Author(s)

Beth Kephart, the award-winning author of eighteen books, teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Pennsylvania, writes about memory and place for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and is the strategic writing partner in the boutique communications firm, Fusion. Her acclaimed Philadelphia stories-- Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, Dangerous Neighbors, a Centennial-era novel, and Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year--arose from her passion for her city.