Abandoned canals of the Schuylkill navigation

Tue, June 8, 2021
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

A talk by Sandy Sorlien
presented by The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

A Philadelphia native and longtime Manayunk Canal neighbor, Sandy is an Environmental Photographer and tour developer for the Fairmount Water Works. Starting in 2014, she bushwhacked the entirety of the 108-mile, 200-year-old Navigation system, documenting the stone ruins of locks, dams, and aqueducts. She’ll show some of these hand-built works, most from the 1840s. She will also address the Navigation’s role in the Industrial Revolution, as canal boats brought anthracite coal from Schuylkill County to tidewater at Philadelphia. The dams, development, and coal waste caused a pollution disaster requiring a major river cleanup, which buried many of the historic sites – fortunately not all of them. Sandy’s project has been supported by the Charles E. Peterson Fellowship Fund of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Photographer and urban planner Sandy Sorlien will present photographs, maps, and drawings from her upcoming book, Inland: The Abandoned Canals of the Schuylkill Navigation. (Fall, 2022)

Zoom information will be sent the day of the event. Register here to receive the link for the free talk.


In case you missed Bob Thomas’s canal presentation for The Lower Merion Conservancy, it is available as a recording in the link below. 1821 to 2021: 200 Years on Our Regional Network of Historic Canals

The webinar recording is now available on the Conservancy’s website. Please feel free to share with friends and neighbors!

Philadelphia Railroads

An Oliver Evans Chapter Program
presented by Joel Spivak

Wednesday, June 2, 2021
7:00 – 8:30

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Philadelphia, “the workshop of the world,” produced locomotives, railcars, interiors, wheels, and tracks. Some of the earliest railroads in the country operated in Philadelphia and left a legacy of treasures around the city.

Take a virtual tour and hear about Joel’s love of the railroad and how he developed a lifelong interest in the subject.

The book, “Philadelphia Railroads,” by Allen Myers and Joel Spivak, is a tribute to Oliver Evans, the inventor of the American “High Pressure Steam Engine.”

Chapter member Joel Spivak is a native of Philadelphia and has had a varied career in architecture and the arts. His community service is legendary, and has benefited neighborhoods all over the city. Projects he was involved in include creating the South Street Renaissance and defeating the Crosstown Expressway in the 1970s, the opening of Rocketships & Accessories space toy store in the ’80s, and winning the “Outstanding Achievement in Design for Affordable Housing” HUD award in the 1990s. He created and managed a Little League baseball team at Sack’s Playground at 5th & Washington in the early ’90s, and has created events for National Hot Dog Month for the past 10 years. In addition, he has written three books on transportation history in Philadelphia. He was awarded “Citizen of the First Rank” by City Council for his lifetime commitment to his neighborhood and the city of Philadelphia.

The program will be presented through a Zoom meeting. 

Pre-registration is required to receive the link to the Zoom meeting.

To register, please send an email indicating your interest to the Chapter address: oesiaphila@gmail.com

Reminder: 200 Years on Our Regional Network of Historic Canals

A presentation By Bob Thomas
Hosted by the The Lower Merion Conservancy

Thursday, May 13
7:00-8:30 pm

Two hundred years ago – before the age of railroads — an extensive canal system served our region, linking Philadelphia with major points from Chesapeake Bay to Canada and from Pittsburgh to New York City. Learn from historian, planner, and architect, Bob Thomas, where this system was located, how it worked, where extensive parts of it survive to this day, and how to visit and enjoy this great historic resource.

ZOOM, pre-registration required for link to program

Register through link below: