Poth Brewery, Brewerytown


A post from Rich Wagner

Wow, Brewerytown is poppin’. Took the Hidden City tour of Poth brewery with people from the firm that is planning to develop the building for housing. This joins a growing list of brewery preservation success stories in Philadelphia!

I hadn’t been inside since my Philadelphia Brewery Tour in 1996 when it was Red Bell and people on my tour got to sample beer from the zwickle thanks to Jim Cancro, brewer, who gave us the tour. Well, the Red Bell sign is faded but they’re breathing new life into this beauty.

At the conclusion of the tour Larry Handy and I did a “pop up” breweriana exhibit of Poth and Brewerytown breweriana!

Across the street the 200 horse stable of the Bergner & Engel Brewing Co. is also being restored.

Then there’s the mural a block away which is fantastic composite, showing names of the breweries of Brewerytown, old and new.

And of course, around the corner up Girard Ave. is Crime and Punishment, currently the only brewery in Brewerytown.

Below is a link to the story of the F.A. Poth Company from the 1860s to the 1930s The Jewel of Brewerytown: Past, Present, and  Future at the Poth Brewery, A Thesis in Historic Preservation by Mary Elizabeth Feitz, 2015 




This November 11th marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, bringing an end to “The War to End All Wars”. The treaty was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

For years people would stand at that time for a moment of silence to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Over 3,000 Philadelphians made that sacrifice.

To commemorate this historic event and the contribution that Philadelphians made, I am bringing to Philadelphia a travelling exhibit that will include photographs of those who served from our area.

The exhibit will be here for two days – November 11th (the actual day) and November 12th. I am looking for sponsors and a site on the commercial corridor for the exhibit and for photos of those that served in the war.

Please contact me at joelspivak@comcast.net.

Please copy this information and send to anyone you think who may wish to participate.


New Source of Railroad photos

Media High Bridge2

Image from Media Historic Archives Commission Stephen H. Appleton Collection

Member Adam Levine shares this information on a project of his involving about a year of scanning, editing, and cataloging glass plates ranging from 4×5 to 8×10 in size that have never before been available.  Adam is chairman of the Media (Pa.) Archives Commission. The group recently put online the Stephen H. Appleton Collection which includes more than 2,000 glass photographic negatives, taken in Media, Pennsylvania and vicinity from 1888 to 1909.  You can find the collection at mediahistoricarchives.org

Adam is informing the Oliver Evans chapter because the collection includes about 200 photographs related to local railroads. These images can be located on the Archives website by using the Browse & Search by subject headings. He is hoping that members with knowledge of the subjects can provide more information about the photos. Adam adds, “The photographer was very cryptic in his descriptions, and while I have tried to more fully identify and locate the photos, I’m not a railroad expert and would appreciate any input people want to give.”

People can respond through the “Contact Us” link on the website.


Carter Litchfield was an early member of the society and a generous supporter of the Chapter. His research focused on linseed oil mills and processing. His press publications can be viewed at this link.: https://openlibrary.org/publishers/Olearius_Editions.

Several current Oliver Evans Chapter members have been involved with this title.


This gazetteer provides historical background on the linseed oil industry and detailed histories of more than 70 mills in the Garden State, which was a center of production during the 19th century. Many of these mills were “combination” mills, manufacturing not just linseed oil but a variety of other products by waterpower, so the book will also be of interest to fans of gristmills, tanbark mills, and the like. Well illustrated. Hardcover, 223 pages. Written by Carter Litchfield [SIA], Richard L. Porter [SIA], and Paul W. Schopp, with contributions from Dorothy White Hartman, Patrick Harshbarger [SIA], and Stephanie Stevens. Published posthumously by Litchfield’s Olearius Press, all proceeds have been generously donated to the SIA by the Litchfield estate.

SIA Member Price: $25 ($20 plus $5 shipping). Members outside of U.S. please email sia@siahq.org for additional shipping charges. You must be a current member of the SIA to buy this book.

Download Table of Contents.

Order online.


Brewing and Malting in Early Philadelphia

In addition, Rich will be giving the Oliver Evans Chapter a presentation on Breweries along the Schuylkill River coming up in May

Rich Wagner, Pennsylvania Brewery Historian

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

100 E Northwestern Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118


THURSDAY, APRIL 19 | 7:00 pm

Members: $15

Non-Members: $20

Anthony Morris, ancestor of Arboretum founders, John and Lydia Morris, became Philadelphia’s second brewer in 1687. The Morris family founded several breweries to supply ship captains with necessary sustenance for their long voyages and serve the city’s thriving tavern culture that supplied the growing city with food, drink, and lodging. When Philadelphia was the second largest English-speaking city after London, and the largest seaport in the colonies, it produced more beer than the rest of the colonies combined. William Penn and later the founding fathers promoted the development of the brewing industry as a solid foundation for a temperate society and as an engine for promoting industry and technological innovation. Brewing gave agriculture production a boost since brewers needed barley and hops, which encouraged their cultivation. Rich Wagner began interpreting the brewing process in 1990 at William Penn’s home, Pennsbury Manor. Since then he has constructed his own brewing system to demonstrate the brewing technology of the late seventeenth century. Using this experience along with primary source material he gives us a view of the city’s earliest breweries.


Book Talk


Edward W. Duffy will be speaking on his new book, Philadelphia Celebrates: Three Great Anniversaries – 1876-1926-1976

When: Sun, September 24, 1pm – 2pm

Where: Ryerss Museum & Library, 7370 Central Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA

The book will be available at the talk and can be found on Amazon. It is described as follows:

How do you celebrate a national commitment to equality, liberty, and tolerance in the middle of political upheaval, riots, and a national draft? What can we learn about the character of a city by studying how its representatives plan such a celebration?

These are the questions that drive Edward Duffy’ s book, Philadelphia Celebrates: Three Great Anniversaries 1876, 1926, 1976. A remarkable account of the Centennial, Sesquicentennial, and Bicentennial celebrations of the American Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia Celebrates lays bare the motivations behind the planning and execution of these celebrations. Far more than just a history, this book is, above all, a portrait of the people who made these celebrations possible: the rebels, the crooks, the advocates, and the citizens forgotten in the shadow of politicians egos.


Celebrate National Hot Dog Month

Blue Grotto's photo.

JUL14, 2017


Member Joel Spivak continues to commemorate National Hot Dog Month in various places around the city. He will be grilling and handing out franks to celebrate the grand “reopening” of the The Blue Grotto, an arts and event venue on Lancaster Avenue. Joel has long studied and promoted  this area of the city, in the shadow of Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania. The Blue Grotto gallery of found objects and light is an artistic expression of dedicated members of the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia, now in their 25th year. 

We will be grilling dogs from 6p until they’re all gone!

There will also be a jazz concert at the CEC as a kickoff to the Lancaster Ave Jazz Festival which will be Saturday 7/15.

Come enjoy a hot dog, some jazz, great people, and the bluest room you can imagine!