February 1, 1993 |
It was the deadliest, most catastrophic, gut-wrenching event in Philadelphia history. For four months, just about everything else in what was then America's largest city - the capital of a new nation - stopped while the populace either fled in terror, died or fought for their lives. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the worst yellow-fever outbreak on the East Coast. Many local historians find the late summer and fall of 1793 the most fascinating and dramatic period in city history.
April 3, 2012
IN A CITY that has made history a backbone of a multibillion-dollar tourist trade, it might surprise the average citizen how little he or she knows about Philadelphia's history outside the narrow window of 1776. That's one reason why we were quite taken with a new multipart documentary series on the city's history being produced by former mayoral candidate and Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority board chief Sam Katz. Katz has produced two out of potentially 12 segments of "Philadelphia, the Great Experiment," a lively documentary on the city.
November 1, 1993 |
Philadelphia has endured a lot of trauma: British occupation, anti- Catholic bloodshed, Spanish flu, Red scares, race riots, Mafia wars, MOVE wars, AIDS. But nothing approaches the devastation, drama and threat to the city's existence as the great yellow-fever epidemic of 1793. During late summer and fall of that year, commerce and government practically ceased. Half the population fled while 5,000 died. Just burying the victims was a challenge in a city paralyzed by fear.
July 16, 1998 |
It took less than 100 days. Ten percent of Philadelphia's population died in the yellow fever epidemic that devastated this city in 1793. Memories of that disaster spurred Congress to create the Public Health Service 200 years ago: July 16, 1798. The small corps of physicians - the first group of federal employees who had to meet testing requirements to be hired - was charged with caring for merchant marines. We've relegated yellow fever to the history books, but the Public Health Service continues to be a not-so-silent partner in our challenge to the hazards that put our lives at risk every day. Across the street from Independence Hall, not far from the final resting place of many victims of that long-ago epidemic, the PHS wages its battle from the regional office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
November 2, 1993 |
That chill wind that howled through window and tree all day yesterday was more than just a harbinger of winter. It was an echo of another cold snap 200 years ago - a frost that ended three months of disease and death in the City of Brotherly Love. The yellow fever epidemic of 1793 laid waste to the young republic's capital and largest city. It killed 5,000 of the Philadelphia area's 50,000 residents and sickened thousands more. About half the rest fled, including George Washington, Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Mifflin, and others who could afford to leave.
October 6, 2002 |
During the last decade of the 18th century, there were a number of yellow fever epidemics in Philadelphia. Outbreaks of this dread disease occurred in 1793, 1797 and 1798, killing nearly 10,000 people, according to S.P. Wetherill's Philadelphia History (1916). City officials linked the epidemics to ships from foreign countries docking in the port of Philadelphia. The only way to deal with contagious diseases was to isolate victims. In 1799 the city government bought 10 acres in Essington on the Delaware to establish a quarantine station.
May 17, 2008 |
She has held the same tortured pose for more than 130 years, her face contorted, her mouth open wide in a scream. Bony hands press against her sides, and strands of strawberry-blond hair fall behind her. Who is this mysterious woman at the Mütter Museum in Center City? How and when did she die? And what can modern science tell us about her? One night last week, after the museum closed, radiographers, forensics experts and technicians attempted to pry the secrets from the so-called "soap lady" using high-tech portable X-ray equipment.
April 1, 2012 |
In the summer of 1793, people in Philadelphia began dying of a mysterious disease, later identified as yellow fever. By the end of the year, the illness had killed one in 10 Philadelphians, yet the devastation also strengthened the city. Determined to prevent future outbreaks, leaders created the Water Works, revived public parks and improved hospital care. Former mayoral candidate Sam Katz and his son Philip tell this tragic, gruesome, yet inspiring story in the latest installment of their 12-part video documentary on this city's history titled, Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.
March 5, 2012 |
The historic Lazaretto, a 213-year-old building that once served as a quarantine hospital and that is unlike anything still standing in North America, almost didn't make it. When its owner balked at a surging tax assessment, developers snapped up the property, salivating at the potential of the 10-acre Tinicum Township tract as a parking lot serving neighboring Philadelphia International Airport. But in the end, preservationists and a stubborn Board of Commissioners won out. There will be no field of cars on the Delaware County site where, starting in 1801, thousands of immigrants were treated as they arrived in the New World.
April 3, 2012 |
PHILADELPHIA: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 6ABC. IF FILMMAKER Ken Burns had had Sam Katz's budget, we might still be in the early innings of "Baseball. " But Katz, the former mayoral candidate, who, along with his son, Philip, has been at work for a few years on a documentary series on the history of Philadelphia, is making progress. And thanks to his add-a-pearl approach, you don't have to wait until he's finished to see how it's coming. On Wednesday, just about a year after "The Floodgates Open," the first installment of "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment," made its television debut on 6 ABC, the station will introduce a second chapter, "Fever: 1793.