• 240 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.25
  • Price: $25.95
  • EAN: 9781566393751
  • Publication: Sep 1995
  • Price: $25.95
  • EAN: 9781439904442
  • Publication: Sep 1995

Strange Philadelphia

Stories from the City of Brotherly Love

Lou Harry with Michael Strickland

Most history books paint Philadelphia as a place of revolutionary greatness, but there exists a forgotten, alternative history of the City of Brotherly Love. For example, did you know that

  • when Ben Franklin was Deputy Postmaster General for the American colonies, he ignored rival printers' requests for mailing priveleges. Instead, he loaded down the mail carriers with his own papers and enjoyed the use of a private delivery system that cut off the competition.

  • the Slinky was created by a marine engineer stationed in Philadelphia, who later became an evangelist and Bible salesman in Bolivia, leaving behind his wife, his children, and the Slinky fortune.

  • 50,000 people gathered in Fairmount Park in 1953 hoping to see a vision of the Virgin Mary, who three schoolgirls claimed to have seen near a park bush. Though the Blessed Mother never did appear, visitors to the site left behind offerings of rosaries, flowers, crutches, and over $6,000.

  • while 11,000 spectators sat in the Spectrum waiting for the Ice Capades to begin, 32-mile-an-hour winds blew a chunk of the roof off the city's newly constructed stadium.

Find these and a hundred more "strange" and fascinating stories in this collection of vignettes. These pieces of the past can't be found in history books—they are surprising side bars to the famous and not-so-famous events and people of historical Philadelphia.


"Lou Harry has scavenged in the dusty corners of Philadelphia's past to produce a quirky, funny, offbeat book that makes history interesting to non-historians." —Carol Saline, Philadelphia Magazine

"Strange Philadelphia is a 'must' for anyone who combines a love of American history with an interest in the bizarre. The stories are informative, fascinating, and frequently hilarious. Don't miss it." —Philadelphia City Councilman W. Thacher Longstreth

About the Author(s)

Lou Harry is Senior Editor at Seven Arts Magazine, he has written for dozens of publications, including New Jersey Monthly, Theater Week, and Atlantic City Magazine.