Reading: ‘Remembering Kensington and Fishtown’ by Ken Milano

My neighborhood has a historian: Ken Milano.

The author of several books and speeches, a friend gave me his cherished Remembering Kensington and Fishtown: Philadelphia’s Riverward Neighborhoods, which, of course, has lots of focus on my neighborhood and, even, my own block.

Living in a neighborhood named for its fishing communities, notably of the shad of Delaware Avenue, perhaps one of my favorite take aways from the book was an old local fisherman’s rhyme [Page 37]:

When the Lord made shad,
The Devil was mad,
For it seemed such a taste of delight,
So to poison the scheme,
He jumped in the stream,
And stuck in the bones out of spite.

The 128-page book is full of interesting stories, but, below, I share some of my other favorites:

Did William Penn’s Treaty with the Leni-Lenape Take Place? [Page 17]

Earliest Known Use of the Name ‘Fishtown’ [Page 76] — 1808

Edgar Allan Poe Reports on Kensington in 1840 [Page 80] — On the Kensington railroad riots

USS Alligator, first submarine of the United States Navy [Page 82] —

Cohocksink Creek, Kensington’s Historical Border [Page 91] — Discusses Kensington and Fishtown boundaries

West Street Burial Ground [Page 96] — Across the street from my house was a graveyard

Changing ways in which society collects information

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The way we have gained information has apparently changed in the past 200 years, according to a really interesting and insightful graphical analysis of those trends by online magazine Baekdal.com.

The graphic analysis, as depicted above, aims to give some sense of the how the sources of information developed in common society. It suggests that in the next 10 years, we’ll find more and more news and information via social networks, with declines in TV, general Web sites and blogs.

After a few hundred years of newsletters, pamphlets and other written news sources known of in Europe and perhaps present elsewhere, the idea of a regularly published, verifiable collection of news source was developed in the United States in Boston, New York and Philadelphia in the mid-18th century. Leading to that turn of the century, more than 50 newspapers of varying stripe were bubbling in the colonies, leading to the idea of “freedom of the press” when the 1791 Bill of Rights were ratified.

This graphic and its explanation — well worth your time — gets the history down, if briefly, but I can’t say I agree with all its prognosticating about the future of news gathering.

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Who is Tom Ferrick's heir: the best Philadelphia newspaper columnists

Philadelphia was long a breeding ground for some of the most meaningful metro columnists in the country.

Some say the newspaper columnist is dying, but it isn’t dead.

So who’s the next columnist of record in one of the oldest newspaper cities in the world?

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The History of the Philadelphia Inquirer

The history of the Philadelphia Inquirer mirrors the path of all the big gray ladies in the United States.

While putting together suggestions for the Inquirer months ago, I came across some interesting reading on the third oldest newspaper in the country, which is nearing its 180th birthday. Follow it and the path of your own hometown paper.

But why isn’t the Inquirer already cashing in on its historical brand? It seems it may be moving that way, but I want to see more and as a means to develop, sustain its brand and monetize it.

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In Washington D.C. for Obama inauguration, Franklin birthday

I am going to the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington D.C. tonight, to get settled and look around town, where I will be covering the inauguration of Barack Obama on Tuesday.

More on that to come.

Obama left yesterday from Philadelphia to head to D.C., also making a stop in Delaware. Leaving from Philadelphia is a historic nod to past presidents, like Abraham Lincoln, and fittingly landed on the 303rd anniversary of the birth of Philly’s favorite founding father: Ben Franklin.

Celebrate that below.

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Geronimo surrenders on this day, go jump in a pool

Two hundred twenty-two years ago today, famed Apache chief Geronimo surrendered to U.S. and Mexican forces after 25 years of fighting. Now in mainstream culture his legend is reduced to jumping into pools or otherwise inanely leaping.

Do you want to make up for the brutal repression of a people and hundreds of years of neglect by learning why Geronimo is such an important historical and revolutionary – albeit ultimately unsuccessful – figure? Of course you do.

Oh, I’m sorry, did you say quote Wikipedia at length? Alright:

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What is Labor Day?

Enjoying your day off and the end of summer but have no idea why?

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. [Source].

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Saddam Hussein: 29 years since coming to power

What a quick and tumultuous rise to power.

Twenty-nine years ago today in 1979, Saddam Hussein replaced the resigning president of Iraq and went on to further consolidate his power.

It was the beginning of nearly three decades of tickle fights with the international community. In April 2003 he was dislodged from power and on Dec. 30, 2006 he was hanged for charges of genocide.

Historic newspaper circulation data: how many fewer newspaper readers are there?

Okay, we get it, newspaper circulation is down. Everyone is ditching print for online.

But, I get the feeling it is a bit exaggerated. I’ve already posted here that we’re simply living through what we’ll someday call the newspaper bubble, the market swinging the industry nearer to a healthy environment.

I would love to really investigate the rise and fall of newspaper circulation numbers through generations, but the numbers are kept fairly private by those who have the best access, groups like the Audit Bureau of Circulations, a nonprofit that was formed in 1914 by publishers and advertisers wanting to provide the industry regulated, reputable circulation data – and they aren’t giving it out to me.

So, we tend to mostly guess from reports in newspapers that provide some information. I did find some great numbers from the Newspaper Association of America, though the data is only up to 2003, perhaps before industry fears went public and the newspaper bubble had clearly burst. After that date, the NAA makes you pay for the information.

Rather than forking out the $50, let’s just crunch what we have.

Continue reading Historic newspaper circulation data: how many fewer newspaper readers are there?