Up the Hills of East Falls: From Mill Town (Twice) to Suburb in City

Tuesday, October 4, 6 PM to 7:30 PM

presented by Steven J. Peitzman
Sponsored by the Preservation Alliance

Watch ONLINE via ZOOM from the safety and comfort of your home. A link with instructions will be provided two hours prior to this virtual lecture. 

The now submerged falls on the Schuylkill River, about five miles from central Philadelphia, once provided splendid scenery and excellent fishing (well-known to the Lenape, our predecessors). Several mills built as early as the late 1600s on the lower Wissahickon Creek and on Falls Run added industry to recreation and tourism. With the 19th century came a railroad, steam, and the immense Dobson Mills, which made blankets for the Union Army, and carpets for everyone else. The “Falls Village” became a busy, smoky mill town—”Falls of Schuylkill”–dense with workers’ rowhouses, churches, and breweries. But how did the renamed East Falls survive the closing of the mills, which at its peak employed 6000 women, men, and children, and find a new way to flourish?

Steven J. Peitzman, though partly retired, teaches at Drexel University College of Medicine and attends at a student-run free clinic. He is widely known as an historian of medicine, and is proud of his 2000 book on the history of Philadelphia’s Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania/Medical College of Pennsylvania. Dr. Peitzman has resided just east or west of Wissahickon Avenue most of his adult life, so claims to be both Germantowner and Fallser. In recent years, as an active preservationist he has submitted several successful nominations to place significant buildings on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. He is active in the East Falls Historical Society and serves on the Advocacy Committee of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.

$15 | General Admission

$10 | Alliance Member 

Students with ID, residents of the neighborhoods being presented, or individuals with financial difficulties free with email to vcheng@preservationalliance.com

Click the link below to register and pay for the event.

You do not need to register for the organization or check the register for site box to complete the event request and pay for a ticket.


Henry Disston & The Development of Tacony

A presentation by Alex Balloon

Sponsored by the Preservation Alliance

Tuesday, September 27 at 6:00 pm

Watch ONLINE via ZOOM from the safety and comfort of your home. A link with instructions will be provided two hours prior to this virtual lecture. 

This talk will trace the development of the Tacony neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia. Founded as a “company town within the City” by Henry Disston, Tacony became home to the world’s largest saw works. This planned community included housing, religious institutions, social organizations, and commercial developments. Tacony is home to a National Register Historic District and a number of locally-designated landmarks. The Tacony Community Development Corporation in partnership with the Tacony Historical Society and the Tacony Civic Association has worked to preserve and enhance the neighborhood through targeted revitalization efforts.

Alex Balloon is the former Executive Director of the Tacony Community Development Corporation. He has authored a number of historic nominations for Tacony Landmarks and worked to advance the most recent designation of the Disston-Taocny Waterfront Historic District. He has a background in Historic Preservation & Urban Redevelopment and a Masters Degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.

$15 | General Admission

$10 | Alliance Member 

Students with ID, residents of the neighborhoods being presented, or individuals with financial difficulties free with email to vcheng@preservationalliance.com

Go to this link to register for the presentation:


Roebling Chapter Presentation


With Professor Richard Haw

Thursday, September 29, 2022 at 6 P.M. 

Presented both in-person and online
Tickets are $10.
The lecture will be followed by a Book Signing.
Presented in partnership with The New York Landmarks Conservancy.

In this lecture, Professor Richard Haw, will discuss his book, Engineering America: The Life and Times of John A. Roebling. John Roebling was one of the nineteenth century’s most brilliant engineers, ingenious inventors, successful manufacturers, and fascinating personalities.

The book is the most comprehensive biography of John Roebling and the first in over 75 years. It is based on immense amount of original archival material that sheds light on many unknown aspects of Roebling’s life and narrates Roebling’s life, not just as an engineer, but also the places and times in which he lived.

Raised in a German backwater amid the war-torn chaos of the Napoleonic Wars, Roebling immigrated to the US in 1831, where he became wealthy and acclaimed, eventually receiving a carte-blanche contract to build one of the nineteenth century’s most stupendous and daring works of engineering: a gigantic suspension bridge to span the East River between New York and Brooklyn.

In between, he thought, wrote, and worked tirelessly. He dug canals and surveyed railroads; he planned communities and founded new industries. 

Like his finest creations, Roebling was held together by the delicate balance of countervailing forces. On the surface, his life was exemplary and his accomplishments legion. As an immigrant and employer, he was respected throughout the world. As an engineer, his works profoundly altered the physical landscape of America.

He was a voracious reader, a fervent abolitionist, and an engaged social commentator. His understanding of the natural world, however, bordered on the occult and his opinions about medicine are best described as medieval.

For a man of science and great self-certainty, he was also remarkably quick to seize on a whole host of fads and foolish trends. Yet Roebling held these strands together.

John Roebling was a complex, deeply divided yet undoubtedly influential figure, and this talk will provide an overview of not only his works, but also the world of nineteenth-century America. Roebling’s engineering feats are well known, but the man himself is not; for alongside the drama of large scale construction lies an equally rich drama of intellectual and social development and crisis, one that mirrored and reflected the great forces, trials, and failures of nineteenth century America.

Richard Haw is a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. He is the author of The Brooklyn Bridge: A Cultural History and Art of the Brooklyn Bridge: A Visual History.

To register In-Person, please click here

To register Online, please click here

Tickets are $10.

The book can purchased in person at the lecture or online through the following link

The SS United States

The SS United States: The Hidden History of America’s Enduring Flagship
September 16 at 12:00 PM
A virtual presentation by Susan Gibbs

A national nonprofit organization, the SS United States Conservancy leads the global effort to save and repurpose America’s Flagship, the SS United States. The Conservancy raises public awareness and financial resources for the historic vessel’s maintenance, restoration and ultimate reuse. Through its curatorial collections, educational outreach, and digital exhibitions, the Conservancy works to ensure that the fastest ocean liner ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean remains an inspiration for generations to come. For more information about the SS United States Conservancy, visit http://www.ssusc.org or the Conservancy’s Facebook page.

Susan Gibbs is the SS United States Conservancy’s President and co-founder. She is the granddaughter of William Francis Gibbs, the SS United States’ designer, who directed plans for more than 60 percent of the nation’s wartime fleet during World War II and designed over 6,000 ships during the course of his career. She has given presentations throughout the country on the SS United States and maritime history, and she has appeared in multiple media outlets, including the NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, CNN, CBS Sunday Morning, Agence France Press, Channel N24 (Germany), Fox & Friends, and Al-Jazeera America. She has also worked for over two decades in the philanthropic sector primarily on global women’s issues. She holds a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Brown University and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Link for Registration for this free, virtual presentation:

This link will allow to register directly from this announcement. Click on the highligted register box, fill in the requested information, and click the box to accept the terms. FINALLY, the zoom link for the program will be sent the day of the meeting.

West Shipyard Tour June 8, 2022

Chapter members visited the site on Columbus Boulevard where AECOM has been doing final explorations of the site before development. The tour was hosted by AECOM, a company that does a lot of public outreach on their work. 
The site was first tested in 1987 by Carmen Weber, Philadelphia City Archaeologist back when the city had such a position. Her work exposed the wooden slip or ships way pictured above. 
The location became the first archaeological site to be listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

There is much more information about the West Shipyard on the website of the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum. The site was first called the Hertz Lot because of an association with the national car rental company. The link is below.

Pictures of the tour were taken by OE Chapter Member James Knox.

Disappearing Industrial Architecture

July 15 – November 6, 2022
Now on view at The Met Fifth Avenue , 691–693 and 851–852

The renowned German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher (1931–2007; 1934–2015) changed the course of late twentieth-century photography. Working as a rare artist couple, they focused on a single subject: the disappearing industrial architecture of Western Europe and North America that fueled the modern era. Their seemingly objective style recalled nineteenth- and early twentieth-century precedents but also resonated with the serial approach of contemporary Minimalism and Conceptual art. Equally significant, it challenged the perceived gap between documentary and fine-art photography.  


Model train collection auction

An Oliver Evans chapter member become aware of this auction which features some model railroad paraphernalia and thought some of our railroaders might be interested.

The link features images of the items available in the photo gallery and also in the lot listings. The auction site recommends checking back as they will be adding more photos of the uncatalogued items.

Saturday, August 13th starting at 10AM

Location: 502 Fairmont Dr., Chester Springs, PA 19425

Preview on Friday, August 12th from 1PM to 6:30PM and Day of Sale from 8AM to Sale Time

Auction features a wide variety of items from a clean well-maintained home. Some of the highlights include:

1951 Packard Patrician 4-Door Sedan

John Deere D130 Tractor

Antiques & Collectibles incl. original WW1 posters, Political Pins, James Madison & James Monroe signed document, local Maps, Sterling Silver set (over 100-ounces)

Jewelry w/ Gold and Sterling

Model Train Collection w/ many layout accessories

Furniture incl. Leather Sofa & Chairs, Dining Room Tables & Chairs, Theater Room Sofa, Recliners, Book Shelves, Modern TV Stands, Sportcraft regulation size Ping Pong Table

Electronics incl. High-Quality Polk-Audio Speakers, flat-screen TVs, Receivers, DVD players & more

Large Selection of Tools

Office Equipment incl. electronics & desk

Large Selection of Household Goods, Clothing, and much more!

Call us at 610-942-2367 with any questions or to place absentee bids. Day of Sale Phone # – (610)-476-6965

***In-Person, Absentee, and Phone bidders will pay a 13% Buyer’s Premium reduced to 10% if paying by check or cash. Internet Bidders will pay an 18% Buyer’s Premium regardless of form of payment.

PA AU-002163-L  –  PA AU-002766-L     AuctionZip ID: 1651


Rebecca Lukens: Founding Mother of Iron and Steel in Coatesville

Thur July 21st 5:30pm – 7:30pm

National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum, 50 S 1st Ave, Coatesville, PA 19320

Celebrate the life and times of Rebecca Lukens, American’s first female industrialist, and her descendants. Although by far not the only woman who managed iron furnaces in the 19th century, Rebecca was the only documented woman to manage multiple businesses. The list of National Historic Landmark properties along South First Avenue includes her home Brandywine Mansion, Terracina, and the steel industry that evolved from the original iron business. The proximity of these homes and offices to the mill reflects the Lukens and Huston families’ long-standing commitment to living and working close to the factory and community. Learn about the owners of the mills and the men and women who worked in them.

There are multiple tours throughout the evening. After parking sign up for one of the tours in the main building. Registration starts at 5:30.
Parking & Registration
National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum,
50 South 1st Avenue, Coatesville

Exhibition on railroads and several online presentations

Across the Continent. “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way”, 1868,Frances Flora Bond Palmer, published by Currier & Ives
The Grolier Club in New York City has an exhibition “Travelers, Tracks and Tycoons: The Railroad in American Legend and Life” on display through July 30, 2022. The exhibition is from the very extensive Barriger Railroad Collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St.Louis. Nicholas Fry is curator of the Collection and of this exhibition.Mr. Fry writes: We look at railroads as relics of a simpler age, but in reality the railroad age was just as chaotic to its citizens as our modern age is to us. The story is told through printed works, objects, and artwork. It is a maker of legends that still impacts our lives.Here are details:The exhibitionThe exhibition is on display only through July 30t,h at the Grolier Club at 47 East 60th Street.in New York City. The exhibition is free, but advance reservations through eventbrite are recommended–please click here to make your reservation. Exhibition Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.The online catalog of the exhibition is here.Online lecturesThere are live online presentations coming up on July 19th and 20th–see below.The video of the opening reception includes a brief overview and tour of the exhibition. Click here.Nicholas Fry, the curator, is presenting a three-part lecture series, on Travelers, Tracks, and Tycoons:Part 1: Travelers: Journeys on the Railroads from the Early Surveys to Modern Vacation will be presented on Tuesday, July 19th 2022 at 6 P.M. Click here to register. This program is presented in conjunction with The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen.Part 1 was also presented on May 25 by the Grolier Society, and you can watch the video herePart 2, Tracks: Images Documenting the Building of the Railroads, was presented on June 29th. You can watch it online here.Part 3: Tycoons: Men, Money and Monuments. will be presented on Wednesday, July 20th, at 1:00 PM. Click here to register. It will also be recorded for future viewing.

This information came from a Roebling Chapter email. You can sign up to get mailings from them at: