• 320 pages
  • 10 x 8
  • 1 figure, 208 halftones
  • Price: $46.50
  • EAN: 9781592135066
  • Publication: Sep 2007

Forgotten Philadelphia

Lost Architecture of the Quaker City

Thomas H. Keels

Forgotten Philadelphia provides a richly illustrated survey of landmark Philadelphia buildings that have succumbed to the ravages of time and changing tastes. More than three centuries of masterful architecture, from William Penn's Slate Roof House to Romaldo Giurgola's Liberty Bell Pavilion, demolished only last year, are brought back to life in this beautifully designed book. Writing with obvious affection as well as a deep knowledge of his subjects, Thomas Keels employs photographs, drawings, prints, maps, and architectural plans to revisit these vanished treasures. Unlike other books on landmark buildings, Forgotten Philadelphia discusses works of architecture not only from a design standpoint but also in terms of their significance to the city's political, economic, and cultural life. Organized chronologically from 1682 to the present, this book provides a context that allows readers to understand how tastes change over time, rendering obsolete the very buildings that were once considered to be works of art and genius. The final chapter, "Projected Philadelphia," describes fifteen structures that might have changed the face of the city had they ever moved beyond the drafting table.


"For architecture, history and Philly buffs, it’s an indispensible volume...(T)he ‘Projected Philadelphia’ chapter (may be) the most compelling… Looking at these beautiful architectural drawings is like walking directly into the province of dreams, and their pure optimism – the sense of their rightness – provides this book with a melancholy-tinged but fitting finale.The Jewish Exponent

"(A) handsome volume…Not for nearly half a century…have we seen such a compilation of great departed buildings… (There) are good, important stories with good, familiar pictures." Nineteenth Century

"This is a lavishly illustrated, tightly written coffee-table book, full of fascinating nuggets…Thanks to Keels’ efforts, those lost buildings won’t be forgotten." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"The second half of Forgotten (Philadelphia) makes an important contribution to our appreciation of what Philadelphia recently lost…. General readers with an interest in Philadelphia and preservationists alike will be turning to this book for years to come. Also unlike many books of photographs and postcards that have appeared in recent years, Forgotten Philadelphia is well organized and attractively formatted. It is also thoroughly indexed, and the repositories holding the original photographs, prints and drawings reproduced here are clearly identified—a lesson yet to be learned by many publishers." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

"Encyclopedic in scope and brimming with narrative detail, Forgotten Philadelphia presents a fascinating...account of significant Philadelphia buildings that have fallen to the wrecking ball....The book will be of interest not only to historians of Philadelphia, but also more generally to architectural historians, preservationists, and geographers....(T)he book is engagingly written and brings together an impressive array of evidence and detail." Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies

About the Author(s)

Thomas H. Keels is a local writer and historian. He is the author of Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries and co-author of Chestnut Hill.