March 28, 2010 |
Over more than half a century, the odd little stoneware jug inlaid with white porcelain eyes and fiercely bared teeth was stored in a china closet, then a shoe box, an attic, and a kitchen cupboard. Ten inches tall and about 10 around, the vessel was a mystery to Robert Strang, a plumber who unearthed it in 1950 in the city's Mount Airy section. He was digging a sewer line in the 1100 block of Mount Pleasant Avenue, when a turn of his shovel exposed the pottery. With his boss' OK, he took it home, thinking it might be an Indian relic.
February 22, 2010 |
There was cannon fire in Philadelphia on the morning of Feb. 22, 1797, as 16 rounds of salute - one for each state - rang out in celebration of the nation's greatest hero. It was the 65th birthday of George Washington, the "man who united all hearts," as John Quincy Adams called him. And with Washington's final weeks as president ahead, the event was celebrated with "more sincere joy" than ever, according to the Philadelphia Gazette. People of all classes paraded to the President's House at Sixth and Market.
February 21, 2010 |
He was one of the first great chefs of Philadelphia - in fact, of the young nation. The chief cook in President George Washington's home here in 1790 had only one name: Hercules. In the mansion's open-hearth kitchen, where elaborate banquets were prepared, where spitted meats sizzled and "fricaseys" simmered in cast-iron pans over hickory fires, underlings scurried to execute the orders of Hercules, "the great master-spirit," according to one account, who seemed to be everywhere at once.
February 20, 2010 |
Depardieu shrugs off flak for going dark to play Dumas Gerard Depardieu yesterday dismissed critics who have attacked him for darkening his skin to play mixed-race author Alexandre Dumas in the new film L'autre Dumas. Patrick Lozes of France's Representative Council for Black Associations said it's insulting that a white actor was cast to play Dumas, whose grandmother was a Haitian slave. "It is a way of saying that we don't have any black actor who has the talent to play [Dumas]
February 15, 2010 |
AS IF on cue, winter clouds parted and bright sunlight flooded through the jewel-like stained glass windows of Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, on 6th Street near Lombard, just as yesterday's celebration of the 250th anniversary of Bishop Richard Allen's birth began. Allen - a freed former slave who courageously walked out of a segregated, racially-intolerant St. George's Methodist Church here in the late 1700s and eventually helped create, in 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal Church - was honored with a spiritual warmth that rivaled the brightness of that sudden sunlight.
November 25, 2009 |
FORGET the tryptophan, I've got technology on the brain. What's missing? A few weeks ago, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission sent out a mailer announcing that something called E-Z-Pass Plus would be available to E-ZPass customers (like me) beginning on Nov. 1. As it explained: "E-ZPass Plus allows E-ZPass customers to use their transponder to pay for parking fees at participating facilities displaying the E-ZPass Plus logo. " Sounds great. Among the facilities currently accepting E-ZPass Plus: LaGuardia Airport, JFK International, Albany International, Syracuse Hancock International, Newark Liberty International, Atlantic City International, New York Avenue Parking Garage (in Atlantic City)
October 16, 2009 |
Three hours after darkness fell, John Brown and his band of armed men approached the bridge leading over the Potomac River to the dozing town. They aimed to seize the U.S. armory, grab its thousands of rifles, and start a slave revolt that would spread across the South. It was 150 years ago today, Oct. 16, 1859. The long-haired, wild-eyed Brown was about to launch a raid that would hasten the Civil War and make him the most notorious man in America, a figure who still ignites controversy a century and a half later.
August 24, 2009 |
Five generations separate Elsie Styles-Harrison of Malvern and the ancestor who served as a slave in the White House. In the years between them, Paul Jennings, the property of President James Madison, became the subject of a passing reference. He had something to do with an attempted slave escape, an aunt mentioned to Styles-Harrison decades ago. It wasn't until she got her first computer that Styles-Harrison discovered the historic importance of her great-great-great-grandfather.