Historical Philadelphia Gone Interactive

January 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

Interactive Historial Map of Philadelphia

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has announced creation of an interactive Web site that connects stories to places across time in Philadelphia neighborhoods.

The Web site will focus first on two areas  Old Southwark and the Greater Northern Liberties  that were always home to immigrants and working class. We have chosen these neighborhoods because both are essential to understanding Philadelphia’s history and its industrial legacy as the “workshop of the world.” Situated north and south of the Center City historic district and home to successive immigrant communities almost three centuries, these areas continue as vibrant multiethnic neighborhoods featuring many sites of interest—historic houses of worship, community art and culture centers, gardens and murals, marketplaces, and ethnic businesses. Characterized by block upon block of low-rise row homes where common laborers, artisans, and skilled industrial workers, usually immigrants or migrants, settled, the boundaries of these neighborhoods were defined by work, home, religion, and ethnicity. What constitutes “the neighborhood” – that basic unit of the Philadelphia experience – is subjective, fluid and dynamic, defined as much by contested turf as by common ground.

Landscape and places in a landscape are both real and imagined, literal and symbolic. By using the landscape as a lens, PhilaPlace reveals how each population that arrives in a neighborhood creates new histories, traditions, and memories tied to place. Cultural traditions are always changing. They are combined, adapted, invented in response to interaction with others and the uniqueness of situation, place, and time. Historically these neighborhoods have been home to new immigrant and working-class residents, but as economic growth results in rapidly rising real estate values, newer immigrants and some long-term residents are threatened with displacement. By documenting these neighborhoods and their change over time, PhilaPlace promotes and protects unique neighborhood spaces and the sites within them that hold meaning for today’s inhabitants. PhilaPlace aims to capture and represent these traces and layers by focusing on multiple experiences of place and adaptive re-use—sites reused by newer ethnic groups that arrive and replace earlier groups or former industrial sites recently converted into living spaces—as a way to address and interpret issues of neighborhood change, gentrification, and interethnic relations now and historically.

The site, www.PhilaPlace.org, weaves stories shared by ordinary people of all backgrounds with historical records to present a picture of the rich history, cultures and architecture of the neighborhoods.

(Via Philly.com)

Entry filed under: Genealogy, Historical Places & Locations, Just for Fun, News. Tags: , , , , , .

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