Real Philly History, Real Fast

Fascinating Facts and Interesting Oddities about the City's Heroes and Historic Sites

Jim Murphy
Book Cover

PB: $18.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1924-8
Publication: Jun 21

Ebook: $18.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1925-5
Publication: Jun 21

256 pages
5.25 x 8.5
45 color photos, 6 halftones, 1 maps

An amusing and informative insider’s guide to the Philadelphia history you don’t know


Philadelphia is known as the home of vibrant colonial history: the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, and Independence Hall. But the City of Brotherly Love is also home to—and less well known for—its quirky history. The country’s first quarantine station was located here. One of Philly’s clocks has a face larger than Big Ben’s in London. And a unique skill of Black abolitionist James Forten saved him from a life of West Indian servitude (and “Forten” was not even his real name).

In Real Philly History, Real Fast, Jim Murphy provides an original tour of the city. He highlights artistic gems including the Dream Garden Tiffany mosaic and Isaiah Zagar’s glittering Magic Gardens. He profiles intriguing historical figures from military leader Commodore Barry to civil rights heroes like Lucretia Mott. Murphy also explores neighborhoods from Chinatown to the Italian Market and the unique architectural details of Carpenters’ Hall and the PSFS building.

Each chapter provides a pithy story about a historical person or site, along with bullet points featuring interesting oddities, and nearby attractions along with fun facts such as: Why there are so many churches? What is the Philadelphia Eagles’ connection to the U.S. Custom House? Which famous artist may have been Philadelphia’s first nude model? And where was the Liberty Bell secretly damaged? (We didn’t do it!)

This is Philly history in bites that are as digestible as a soft pretzel with mustard.

About the Author(s)

A longtime resident of Philadelphia, Jim Murphy is a certified tour guide who does frequent in-person and online presentations on “The Amazing Success of William Penn.” A copywriter and former creative director at Devon Direct Marketing and Advertising, he has owned a marketing communications business since 2004, and was the editor of Choices, an award-winning magazine published by the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union. He has been researching Philadelphia history since 2010 and would love to speak to your group.