Phoenixville station and tower overlooking the iron and steel complex ca. 1910

Phoenixville station and tower overlooking the iron and steel works.

The Schuylkill River Heritage Center
presents a talk by David Messer,
a celebrated author of many books about railroads

Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 7:30 PM
The Foundry at The Schuylkill River Heritage Center
2 N Main Street, Phoenixville, PA

Admission is Free and no registration is required.



A presentation at the National Museum of Industrial History, Bethlehem, PA
Sunday, February 24th at 2pm

Narrow Gauge railroads were an integral component of many integrated steel plants, useful for their ability to move heavy loads within the tight confines of steel mills. The Youngstown Steel Heritage Museum has undertaken a project to recreate a narrow gauge steel mill railroad including examples of the specialized rolling stock such as Open Hearth charging trains and Ingot Mold trains. The centerpiece of this new exhibit, named the J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad, is a 1937 H.K. Porter saddle tank steam locomotive which will return to operation in Youngstown this year. This presentation will discuss the creation of the J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad and the restoration of J&L (Jones & Laughlin) steam locomotive number 58.

The presentation will be given by Rick Rowlands. Rick Rowlands is the executive director of the Youngstown Steel Heritage Museum in Youngstown, Ohio. He has been involved in various aspects of steel industry history and preservation for over two decades including the preservation of blast furnaces and steam-driven rolling Mills.

This talk, part of the museum’s ongoing “How It Works” series that takes place on the fourth Sunday of every month, is designed to help patrons further understand of specific facets of industrial history. Admission for the “How It Works” tour is $5 in addition to regular museum admission.

Here is a link to information on visiting the museum.

Underground Philadelphia: From Caves and Canals to Tunnels and Transit


Philadelphia’s relationship with the underground is as old as the city itself, dating back to when Quaker settlers resided in caves alongside the Delaware River more than three hundred years ago. The City of Brotherly Love later became a national and world leader in the delivery of water, gas, steam, and electricity during the industrial age. The construction of multiple subway lines within Center City took place during the early twentieth century. An intricate subsurface pedestrian concourse was also developed throughout the downtown area for the city’s inhabitants. From Thirtieth Street Station and Reading Terminal to the Commuter Rail Tunnel and transit lines that were never built, Philadelphia’s infrastructure history is buried under the earth as much as above. Join authors Harry Kyriakodis and Joel Spivak as they reveal the curious aspects of the Quaker City’s underground experience.

Harry Kyriakodis is a librarian, historian and writer about Philadelphia and has collected what is likely the largest private collection of books about the City of Brotherly Love—more than 2,800 titles, new and old. He is a founding/certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides and gives walking tours and presentations on unique yet unappreciated parts of the city for various groups. Once an officer in the U.S. Army Field Artillery, Harry is a graduate of La Salle University (1986) and Temple University School of Law (1993). He is also the author of Philadelphia’s Lost Waterfront (2011) and Northern Liberties: The Story of a Philadelphia River Ward (2012), both published by The History Press, and The Benjamin Franklin Parkway (2014), a postcard history book from Arcadia Publishing. Harry is a member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Society for Industrial Archaeology and also writes regularly for the blog Hidden City Philadelphia.

Joel Spivak is an architect, artist, author and community activist in Philadelphia, where he helped lead the renaissance of South Street in the 1970s and early 1980s by coordinating with artists and builders. He opened his own specialty toy store, Rocketships & Accessories, and in 1992 co-founded Philadelphia Dumpster Divers, an artists’ collective. Nicknamed the “Trolley Lama” for his expertise in Philadelphia’s public transit history, Joel has a degree in industrial arts and is a member of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. His books include Philadelphia Trolleys (2003) and Philadelphia Railroads (2010), both with Allen Meyers and part of Arcadia’s “Images of Rail” series. Joel also self-published Market Street Elevated Passenger Railway Centennial, 1907–2007 for the 100th anniversary of the El. He originated Philadelphia’s National Hot Dog Month celebration, which spotlights both non-vegan and vegan sandwiches. His wife is artist Diane Keller.

ISBN: 9781625859730
Publisher: The History Press
Date: 02/11/2019
State: Pennsylvania
Images: 67 Black And White
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)

Below is a link to the publisher’s website where the book can be ordered.

The Oliver Evans Chapter is planning an authors’ presentation this coming Spring. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at this event.


From Stream to Sewer: A History of Philadelphia’s Landscape

A Presentation by Adam Levine

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Wagner Free Institute

As we walk around the city of Philadelphia, few of us think about the hidden world of streams that once meandered across the city. Adam Levine will present a fascinating illustrated lecture that will uncover part of the city’s history that few people ever think about – the drastic changes made in the urban landscape since the city’s founding in 1682. Levine has been digging into the history of the city’s sewers and drainage systems since 1998. His talk will focus on the systematic obliteration of hundreds of miles of city streams—including Cohocksink Creek in the Wagner’s vicinity, Mill Creek in West Philadelphia, and Wingohocking Creek in Germantown. These streams, with watersheds that covered thousands of acres, were wiped off the city’s map, buried deep underground in pipes as large as 20 feet in diameter to serve as main drainage arteries in the city’s 3,000 mile sewer system. The combined flow of sewage and stormwater in these pipes, which periodically overflow, has environmental repercussions that are still being dealt with today—not only in Philadelphia, but in any older city with a similar sewer system. This lecture is guaranteed to reveal a side of urban infrastructure you have never seen, and change the way you think about cities in general.

Museum open until the talk begins at 6 p.m. Registration is free, but donations ($5 suggested) are welcomed at the door!

About Adam Levine:

Adam Levine, a historical consultant for the Philadelphia Water Department and webmaster of, is the expert on all things water (or sewer) related in Philadelphia. Levine has been digging into the history of the city’s sewers and drainage systems since 1998. He is also editor in chief of PHS Grow, the magazine of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and author of five books on gardening

Date And Time
Wed, February 20, 2019
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM EST

Wagner Free Institute of Science
1700 West Montgomery Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19121

Check this link to register for the free event and see some eye-opening photos. Below that is information on transport to the musum.