• 264 pages
  • 5.25 x 8.5
  • 45 color photos, 6 halftones, 1 map
  • Price: $18.95
  • EAN: 9781439919248
  • Publication: Jun 2021
  • Price: $18.95
  • EAN: 9781439919255
  • Publication: Jun 2021

Real Philly History, Real Fast

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

Jim Murphy

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.


A breezy glide through Philly history, Murphy’s new book should give every lover of this historic place new insight into the characters, places, and events that shaped it through four centuries.
Sam Katz, Executive Producer, History Making Productions

Even the most knowledgeable expert on Philadelphia history is likely to learn some new and interesting facts from Real Philly History, Real Fast. Jim Murphy has a way of bringing Philadelphia’s obscure and offbeat history to light in a wonderfully readable fashion.”
Paul Steinke, Executive Director, Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia

Jim Murphy has probably forgotten more Philly history than most historians know. Real Philly History, Real Fast makes readers want to discover the iconic places, and the men and women from all races and walks of life who made this city great. Each page of his excellent book contains a fact that will elicit anything from a smile to a ‘Wow!’ Billy Penn would be proud!
Tim McGrath, author of James Monroe: A Life

"This book by Jim Murphy certainly ranks as one of the best guides to visiting Philadelphia.... The author has done a fine job presenting a guide that anyone can use to navigate the city and all it has to offer. It is highly recommended.
Pennsylvania Magazine

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.

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