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. Author note: 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.
av Lou Harry
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