Thursday, August 30, 2012

Images of America - Roxborough (2011)

Somewhere in your travels you have seen the Images of America series. It culls historical information about 'small towns and downtowns' into remembrances of times past using local historians and sources. They currently have 6,075 titles! You can read more about it and search for your favorite community HERE.

I grew up in Roxborough, a section of Philadelphia, and stumbled on this entry in the series while I was doing some research. Luckily Amazon had two in stock and now they only have one copy.

It didn't take me long to read through the entire book since it has the requisite 200+ pictures with captions and just a few introductory pages of background. Not that I am complaining. I was delighted to find things I recognized and facts I didn't know.

For example, my neighborhood was called Wissahickon Hills and was built after World War II. But our street bordered on Fairmount Park and we had woods directly across the street.
Wissahickon Schist Photo: Michael P. Klimetz
When I played in the woods as a child, I often found rocks containing garnets, which still seems magical to me. It never occurred to me that those rocks were unique in any way. They were named Wissahickon Schist by Florence Bascom, the first woman geologist. Bet you never heard of her. Among other things she was the founder of the Geology Department at Bryn Mawr College. (She died the day before I was born at the age of 82.) They named a crater on Venus after her. You can read more about her many firsts HERE.

Beyond that I learned that the deli where I bought steak hoagies originally opened as a general store and Post Office in 1825 although the building dates to 1797. The Methodist Church where I attended Girl Scouts dates to 1847 and was enlarged in 1871. The cave where I played was the result of mining in 1763, and the reservoir I walked around with friends after school for something to do was built in 1897 to be part of Philadelphia's drinking water system. 

These are delightful reads for a couple of hours of nostalgia and learning more about your roots. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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