Chapter Program, Annual Meeting & Picnic

Waterworks with Canal

Monday, October 8, 2018

Inland: the Abandoned Canals of the Schuylkill Navigation

Photographer Sandy Sorlien of the Fairmount Water Works will present highlights of her recently completed documentary project. With the assistance of local canal historians and an urban archaeologist, Sandy has researched and photographed the entirety of the 108-mile Schuylkill Navigation slackwater-canal system, from anthracite coal country to tidewater at Fairmount. This is perhaps the most significant linear archeological feature in Pennsylvania, having been the original impetus for 19th century industrial growth in the Schuylkill Valley and beyond. The Navigation was built 1816-1828, but during the 1940s-50s Schuylkill River Desilting Project, much of the stone infrastructure was dismantled or buried, or left to overgrowth. Yet the intrepid explorer may still find beautiful Navigation landscapes and informative remains. In a lively slide talk, Sandy will present a selection of her color photographs of dams, locks, aqueducts, and canals, along with historic images and maps

Sandy Sorlien was born and raised in the Schuylkill Valley. She has worked at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center since 2013. Previously her career in landscape photography included three Fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She taught photography at the University of the Arts, the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia University, and Moore College of Art & Design, and has exhibited at the Michener Museum, the Print Center, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, and currently, in the Pennsylvania Landscape show at the Woodmere Art Museum. Sandy also consults in the urban planning field, writing design and zoning codes for towns and cities. In 2015 she won a Knight Cities Challenge Grant to train Roxborough citizens to write their own Neighborhood Conservation Overlays.

Time: 6PM Picnic           7PM Annual Meeting             7:15 Program

Place: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, 640 Waterworks Drive

           You can park on the Circle, closer to the FWWIC

Cost: $15 per person by Advanced Reservation only

Note: Food is only ordered for reservations. Mail your name and number in party with check payable to OE/SIA, to arrive no later than October 6 to: Larry DeYoung, 54 N. Waterloo Rd., Devon, PA 19333. If you wish to pay at the door, e-mail Larry at

Questions: Send an e-mail to

DEADLINE: October 6, 2018


saylor cement kilns

Association for Preservation Technology Delaware Valley Chapter (APT-DVC)

and the Oliver Evans Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archeology




Please join APT-DVC and the Oliver Evans (Philadelphia) Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archeology on Saturday, June 9 for an expanded tour program as we explore the cement manufacturing industry in the Lehigh Valley. This tour will run from 11:00 am to approximately 4:00 pm and will include historic cement manufacturing sites such as the Coplay Cement Company vertical kilns; a museum dedicated to the Atlas Cement Company, the cement manufacturing giant of the 20th century; and an active cement manufacturing plant, LaFargeHolcim.

The Coplay Cement Company constructed 8 vertical-type brick kilns for the production of cement between 1893 and 1904. These kilns are among the last of the vertical-type kilns remaining in the US (and possibly the world), as the more efficient rotary-type kiln was developed soon after their construction. This tour will include an introduction to the history of the cement industry in the Lehigh Valley, the Coplay Cement Company, and the vertical kilns. A discussion of the kilns’ conditions, conservation issues, and attempts to stabilize and preserve the kilns will follow. Attendees will then take a hard hat tour of the kilns. Guides include Preston Hull of Building Conservation Associates, Inc., Brian Wentz of Keast & Hood, Erik Valentino of Masonry Preservation Services, and Vanessa Della Torre of Spillman Farmer Architects.

The Atlas Cement Company was one of the largest cement manufacturing companies of the 20th century. Started in the Lehigh Valley in 1889, Atlas manufactured cement out of their Northampton plant for such incredible structures such as the Panama Canal, the Empire State Building, and the Holland Tunnel. Atlas closed their doors in 1982 and soon after Ed Pany, whose father worked at Atlas his entire life (and who himself worked there during summers in the 1950s), created the Atlas Cement Company museum, collecting over 3,000 artifacts. This tour will be conducted by Ed Pany, where he will talk about the history of the Atlas Cement Company through the many artifacts he has collected.

LaFargeHolcim is the largest cement and building materials manufacturing company in the world, with plants in 80 countries. The company was started in 1883 in France and their Whitehall, PA plant has been in use since 1899, making Whitehall one of the oldest operating cement plants in the United States. This tour will include a brief lecture on plant safety and the manufacturing process followed by a tour of the plant to see all of the equipment that used to make the product, from quarry to shipping.

Safety Equipment

The tour includes a hardhat walkthrough of the Coplay site. Please bring your own hardhat. If you cannot provide a hardhat, please email Kevin Wohlgemuth ( and APT-DVC may be able to provide one for your use. All Personal Protective Equipment for the tour of the LaFarge plant will be provided by LaFarge. All they ask is that you wear closed-toed shoes.


The tour will begin PROMPTLY at 11 am on Saturday, June 9 at the LaFarge Whitehall plant. It is about 1.5 hours north of Philadelphia at 5160 Main Street, Whitehall, PA 18052. Please arrange to carpool, as parking space will be limited. Please let Kevin know if you can volunteer to drive others. The registration fee for carpool drivers (at least 3 in a car) will be refunded as reimbursement for gas.


$20 for members of APT-DVC or SIA. A box lunch including sandwich (vegetarian options will be available), chips, cookie, and a bottled water, is included in registration. Please let Kevin know if you will not require a boxed lunch.

Free for carpool drivers (at least 3 in a car).

Limit 10 APT-DVC attendees and 10 SIA attendees. Please select the appropriate membership when registering so that we have an accurate head count.

Reference Material:

Program Reminder

Breweries of the Schuylkill: A Virtual Trip Upstream


Rich Wagner, PA Brewery Historian


Date: Monday, May 7, 2018

Time:  5:30 Refreshments

             6:15 Program

Cost: $10 per person if preregistered       $15 if not reserved in advance

Place: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center

You can park in the Circle, closer to the FWWIC

Registration: E-mail names and phone numbers of members and guests to: or phone Reese at 610-692-4456



Breweries of the Schuylkill: A Virtual Trip Upstream



Rich Wagner, PA Brewery Historian

The Schuylkill is one of our nation’s oldest industrial rivers. At various times in the 19th and 20th centuries, 80 breweries were located on its banks in towns from the mouth to head with 38 in Philadelphia and 22 in Reading. Join us as Rich shares tales and images on a trip upstream to view all the breweries that have ever existed along the river from Philadelphia to Pottsville.

OESIA member Rich Wagner has been diligently researching Pennsylvania’s brewing history for more than 30 years. He mastered the art of brewing at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and has honed his skills working at several area craft breweries over the years. A talented home brewer, Rich gives demonstrations of colonial brewing several times a year, leads tours of breweries past and present, writes articles and gives talks on brewery history, architecture and ephemera and is the author of Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty (2012, The History Press).

Date: Monday, May 7, 2018

Time:  5:30 Refreshments

   6:15 Program

Cost: $10 per person if preregistered       $15 if not reserved in advance

Place: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, 640 Water Works Drive

           You can park in the Circle, closer to the FWWIC

Registration: E-mail names and phone numbers of members and guests to:

  or phone Reese at 610-692-4456

The Centennial and the Museum School: The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art

thumb_Memorial Hall, opening day of the Centennial _1024

Memorial Hall, Philadelphia. Centennial opening day, May 10, 1876. Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia Print & Picture Department.

Did you know that the Philadelphia Museum of Art began as a museum of industrial art? The museum, along with a school (now University of the Arts), was founded in 1876 in order to take advantage of the purchasing opportunities at the Centennial International Exhibition and was called the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (PMSIA).

The Centennial International Exhibition (Philadelphia, 1876), America’s first world’s fair, was a showcase for American manufacturing and for Philadelphia, then one of the world’s manufacturing giants. Sara MacDonald will present on how PMSIA began and how both institutions evolved to what they are today.

Sara MacDonald has been a librarian in charge of the archives at the University of the Arts since 1987. She co-authored The University of the Arts (ISBN 973854521X) in 2006 with Eugene A. Bolt, Jr. She has presented the institution’s history at conferences and to the UArts community.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Time:  5:30 Refreshments                 6:15 Program

Cost: $10 per person if preregistered       $15 if not reserved in advance

Place: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center

You can park in the Circle, closer to the FWWIC

Registration: E-mail names and phone numbers of members and guests to: or phone Reese at 610-692-4456

Manayunk Sewer Detention Basin Tour


DATE: Tuesday, April 10, 2018                           TIME: 2 PM

The Venice Island underground storage basin of the Philadelphia Water Department is an enclosed basin which temporarily stores diverted flow from the sanitary interceptor sewer during intense rain storms. The basin is capable of storing nearly four million gallons of water that is later pumped out and directed to a treatment plant. The underground storage basin is approximately 400 feet long, 75 feet wide and 25 feet deep and located under the current parking lot and basketball courts.

In addition to the various pumping facilities necessary for the management of water flow, this project includes various green features and many community oriented facilities such as a performing arts center, athletic courts, amphitheatre and large parking area.

Our tour will be privileged to witness one of the periodic flushings of the storage basin.

Our tour leader will be Michael D. Hengstler, Superintendent with the Collector’s System Flow Control Unit. Michael is a 28 year veteran of the PWD. He spent his first 25 years in the Fresh Water Pumping Unit, starting in the Electrical Maintenance Group and eventually promoting to Assistant Superintendent of Pumping.

LOCATION: Enter Venice Island from Main St. in Manayunk via Lock St. We will meet at the Manayunk Performing Arts Center.,-75.2234336,17.27z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x89c6b895bcca36a7:0xd3bcbe23906e7c07!8m2!3d40.0234686!4d-75.2222112

PARKING: Kiosk parking on the Island near the Performing Arts Center. Cost is $4 for 2 hours which should be sufficient time for the tour.

BY TRAIN: Take SEPTA #R6 to Manayunk station, then a 5 block walk.

BY BUS: Take SEPTA #61 along Main St. from Wissahickon Transfer Station.

REGISTRATION: E-mail or call Reese Davis at or 610-692-4456

the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Philadelphia Piers 122 & 124

PR Pier 122-3

The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s

Philadelphia Pier 122 & Pier 124


Gregory Vlassopoulos, Jr.

On February 5th we heard Jim Rubillo speak about Philadelphia’s Hog Island Shipyard. In March we will hear another program related to South Philadelphia: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the PRR’s Philadelphia Piers 122 & 124. In this visual presentation, Gregory Vlassopoulos will explore the PRR’s transloading facilities in South Philadelphia’s Greenwich Yards, specifically, ore handling facilities at Pier 122 and coal export operations at Pier 124. The future state of these former PRR piers will be discussed, as will be Greenwich Yards overall- from birth to death to rebirth. It should be noted that much of Broad Street Station and the Chinese Wall, when demolished about 1953, wound up under Piers 122 and 124.

Gregory Vlassopoulos, Jr. is a technology solutions executive working with Office Depot to support clients in the Greater Philadelphia region. He is a member of multiple railroad historical organizations and has an affinity for the monumental part railroads played in building America from the industrial revolution to the present. His focus of research is from 1900 to 1962, climaxing with the end of the steam locomotive era. Gregory has a special allegiance to railroads of Greater Philadelphia, as well as the Baldwin Locomotive Works, where his immigrant grandfather worked as a gantry crane operator. He resides in South Philadelphia with his wife and two children.

Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Time:  5:30 Refreshments

   6:15 Program

Cost: $10 per person if preregistered       $15 if not reserved in advance

Place: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, 640 Water Works Drive

           You can park in the Circle, closer to the FWWIC

Registration: E-mail names and phone numbers of members and guests to or phone Reese at 610-692-4456


This link will take you to some photographs and a bit of background on the piers. The site is the work of photographer Michael Froio.  Below is a bit more about his site. I hope you will explore more of it in leisure with pleasure.

“Through exploring both building and place within the American landscape, Michael’s work reveals an era where industry, wealth, and power impacted the land. His work examines the remarkable architecture and engineering projects for the benefit of the public as well as the remains of a post-industrialized nation in the back lots, wooded areas and small towns throughout the Northeast region. Represented here are three major projects: The Watershed Series is some of the earliest works, exploring the impact of man on the diverse landscape of the Delaware River Watershed. The Relic series highlights prominent historic buildings in the Philadelphia region that served the public for many years and have either been lost, restored or repurposed. Finally, the ongoing project From the Mainline examines the former Pennsylvania Railroad, once the largest railroad in the world. Highlighting its massive infrastructure and groundbreaking engineering accomplishments the project also considers the historic landscape it travels.”