Few things are as endlessly entertaining as depictions of Philadelphia in pop culture, which is why we're launching The 19102 Review, a new column devoted to Philly books.
Ed Mauger and Bob Skiba
Photography, 2013, Pavilion, 144 pp.
Philadelphia is a city that is, at times, overwhelmed by the past tense. The weight of what once was often seems to outweigh what is, or what could be.
Lost Philadelphia (released July 1), a pictorial obituary of the city’s buildings, is well aware of this. Vivid historical photographs and architectural drawings chronicle the three centuries of socioeconomic shifts that warped the environment into modern-day Philadelphia. The immaculately researched historical notes are no surprise, coming from Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides President Bob Skiba and fellow APTG member and author Edward A. Mauger, who assembled the spiritual ancestor of this book, Philadelphia Then and Now.
That book, a which juxtaposed historical images with modern-day ones, focused on more well-known locations. Lost Philadelphia feels deeper, darker and even more engrossing, paying as much attention to former downtown landmarks like Broad Street Station and the Gimbel Brothers department store as it does to the buildings and places that defined the city’s neighborhoods, like the Stetson Hat Factory in Kensington and the Lubinville Film Studios in North Philadelphia.
Mauger and Skiba do an impressive job of evoking the meanings of these lost places, making their absence felt and helping readers remember just how delicate the things we take for granted are.
If you have a book that'd be perfect for The 19102 Review (the dustier, the better), email ten.repapytic@gylime, or just drop it in the mail it to Emily Guendelsberger at Philadelphia City Paper, 30 S. 15th St., 14th floor, 19102.