The Way We Ate Then

PhilaPlace: The Way We Ate Then
Schmidt’s Tower at night with electric lights, circa 1930s.

We’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s new interactive website, PhilaPlace, since we first touched base with project coordinator Melissa Mandell back in July, and just in time for the holidays, it’s finally arrived! What does “an interactive website that weaves stories shared by ordinary people of all backgrounds with historical records to present an interpretive picture that captures the rich history, cultures, and architecture of our neighborhoods” have to do with food? Well, the website has a food section filled with old photos and renderings of historic Philly markets, food vendors, restaurants and breweries that are driving our inner food nerd wild with geeky desire. Mandell was kind enough to provide us with a sneak peek of images and the accompanying text, which we’ve put together in a slideshow in advance of PhilaPlace’s official launch on Thursday. Click through it to see the first major macaroni factory in the United States, the Kosher wine store that now sells healthier fare and how your sausage was made in 1917.

Right now, the photos and video are somewhat Italian Market-centric, but hopefully as more residents contribute their stories, which is the all-important “interactive” part of this project, more old photos will surface.

There are also some wonderful video interviews with living members of the local food community, including Emilio Mignucci of Di Bruno Brothers, Mariella Esposito of Fante’s, Chong “Suki” Giamanco of Suki and Tony’s Corner Store, Anthony Cardullo of John’s Water Ice and the amazing Lou Capozzolli, owner of Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar.

Special thanks to Melissa Mandell, project coordinator for PhilaPlace, for her help with images and text.

PhilaPlace: The Way We Ate Then