By Tom Waring
South Philly Review
Queen Village sisters Natalie and Tricia Pompilio enjoyed their 2017 book collaboration, Philadelphia walking: 30 walking tours showcasing art, architecture, history, and little-known gems.
“It was really, really fun. I love doing research and telling these stories, ”Natalie said.
So when Reedy Press – which specializes in books of local interest – came to them last year to write a book called, It was once Philadelphia, they quickly agreed. Natalie, a full-time freelance writer, had time off because the papers didn’t need her entertainment-related stories with the pandemic cancellation shows.
“It happened at the right time,” she said.
While Natalie is the writer, Tricia is a professional photographer. They dedicated the book to their father, Lou, who died in May 2020.
Natalie said the research has proven to be educational for her.
“I learned a lot. Every time I learn something, I get excited,” she said.
Natalie said readers will also be informed about Philadelphia.
“You will learn something, at least one interesting fact that you will enthusiastically relate to someone else,” she said.
There are many ancient sites in South Philadelphia: the old Moyamensing Jail near 11th and Reed Streets, where Edgar Allen Poe and Al Capone once resided; a field near 11th and Wharton streets that housed the Pythians, a black baseball team; the Nickelodeon Crystal Palace Cinema, which opened in 1908 near 4th and South Streets; Dunbar Theater / Lincoln Theater, 500 S. Broad St., which featured black stars such as Lena Horne, Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington; Ronaldson Cemetery, 10th Street and Bainbridge Street; Palumbo’s, a cabaret near 8th and Catharine streets that drew stars such as Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Bob Hope before being destroyed by fire in 1994; Sparks Shot Tower, at Front and Carpenter Streets, which supplied munitions for the War of 1812 and the Civil War; Larry Fine’s house of Three Stooges Fame, 3rd and south of the street; Abbott Alderney Dairy, built in 1921 near 17th and McKean streets; the house of civil rights activist WEB Du Bois, at 6th and south of the street; singer Marian Anderson’s home, 762 S. Martin St .; Bok High School, at 9th and Mifflin streets; and the home of US Mint engraver Frank Gasparro at 727 Carpenter St.
City-wide locations include the original Horn and Hardart built in 1902 on 8th and Chestnut streets; the Schmidt and Sons brewery on 2nd Street and Girard Avenue which closed in 1987; the Jack Frost sugar refinery, which went bankrupt in 1981 on land that now houses Rivers Casino; Grace Kelly’s house in East Falls; the television studio on 46th and Market streets which hosted American kiosk; Shibe Park / Connie Mack Stadium, 21st Street and Lehigh Avenue, where the A’s won three World Series and the Eagles won the 1948 NFL title in a blizzard; and Tasty Baking, at 28th Street and Hunting Park Avenue until its move in 2010.
The 200-page book sells for $ 22.50. It is available by e-mail [email protected] or on the Facebook page it used to be in Philadelphia.
The book is also available on Amazon and at the following locations: National Constitution Center; Baederwood Pharmacy, Baker & Taylor Books, Barnes & Noble, Bella Turka, Black Dog Books, Brown’s ShopRite, Head House, Latitudes & Longitudes, Babis Pharmacy, PA General Store in Reading Terminal Market, Paper on Pine, Ray and Judy’s Bookstop, Re -Turn the page, Robertson’s Flowers, Second Time Books, Sun Rose Words and Music, Sweet Magnolia, Doylestown Bookshop, Village Pharmacy and Words Matter Bookstore. ••