Workshop of the World

stories of industry in & around Philadelphia


John L. Bishop, Edwin T. Freedley & Edward Young, The History of American Manufacturers from 1608-1860 (1868).

Edwin T. Freedley,
Philadelphia and its Manufactures (1859); Philadelphia and its Manufactures (1867).

Thomas J. Scharf and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884 (1884).

John F. Watson,
Annals of Philadelphia (1830), Annals of Philadelphia (1857), Annals of Philadelphia (1870).

Maps & Surveys:

Burk & McFetridge, Philadelphia in 1888. Wonderful birds-eye view from the east. Highly detailed when you zoom in.

Ernest Hexamer, Hexamer General Insurance Surveys, (Philadelphia, 1865-1897). Superb. Links are included from our surveys.

G. M. Hopkins, City Atlas of Philadelphia, (Philadelphia, 1875).

George W. & Walter S. Bromley,
Atlas of the City of Philadelphia, (Philadelphia, 1885).

George W. & Walter S. Bromley,
Atlas of the City of Philadelphia, (Philadelphia, 1895).

17th century Swedish and Dutch sites and structures in South and Southwest Philadelphia, including the "Swedish Glebe House (1698)," "Replica Wicaco Block House (1669)," "Bleakly Homestead / Canonball House," "Site of Old Pest House," "Swedish Log Farm House," "Old Swedes Mill (1646)," "Site Fort Nyawasa (1645)," "Printz Stockade near site of Dutch Fort Beversreede (1648)", and 18th century structures including the "Penrose Ferry Inn" and "Gallows Lane," are shown on the map of the 1808 Powder Magazine, (HAER, c. 1937).

Photos & Architecture:

30,000 photos are online from the collection of two million photos at the Philadelphia City Archives. Dating from the late 1800’s, these photos offer a stunning portrait of Philadelphia and its industry, architecture, culture and people. They are best searched by location (street address or intersection) but some sites are searchable by keyword. Some sites are well documented including the Baldwin Locomotive Works, the 1876 Centennial Exhibition and the United States Navy Yard Philadelphia. Short stories about particular photos appear on the blog.

Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record has photos, drawings and descriptions of over 900 "items" in Philadelphia (multiple files exist for industrial facilities like the Dobson Carpet Mill, Frankford Arsenal and Naval Base Philadelphia). Note the collections of Atwater Kent Manufacturing Co., Fairmount Waterworks, Keyser Brothers Iron Works and TWA Maintenance Hangar. Relevant HABS/HAER records are linked from the historical surveys in Workshop of the World.

Philadelphia Architects and Buildings, architectural and historical information, and images, for 35,000+ structures, mostly in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties, including all those on the Philadelphia Historical Commission list of significant buildings, and the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission’s inventory of historic structures. 25,000+ images, thumbnail images are free, high-resolution images can be viewed online by purchasing a subscription for $40/yr. Biographies or biographical sketches of 2500+ architects as well as project information for over 8,000 additional architects, engineers and contractors.

Library of Congress—American Memory provides free and open access to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America.

Websites & Blogs:

The Necessity for Ruins—an Exploration of Philadelphia's Built Environment has well written, well illustrated, histories and observations, including J. G. Brill's "Bullets", the Open Pennsylvania Railroad Swing Bridge at Gray's Ferry and Remnants of Philadelphia's Gas Network.