Tag Archives: Philadelphia history

The Friday 5

I stuck my cheesesteak card into the Cheesesteak ATM and withdrew 4 cheesesteaks.
  • What I’m reading: Articles about infamous Philly Daily News columnist Pete Dexter, who now is better known for writing the novel Paris Trout and the screenplay for Mulholland Drive. This profile of him in Philly Mag in 1979 is terrific, though his life would get even more interesting two years later, when he and Tex Cobb got beat up together in Gray’s Ferry. He would quit writing for the News after that and started writing novels.
  • What I’m watching: my son is really into Halloween. Definitely his favorite holiday, and has been ever since he was two. Dunno what it is, but he loves mystery and horror. It started with Little Red Car (don’t watch this link unless you want a terrible song stuck in your head for, uh, roughly forever). He soon moved onto Scooby Doo, which is pretty fun to watch. But I wanted to see if he was ready to step up his horror game, so I recently showed him this cartoon of the Fall of the House of Usher. It’s read by Christopher Lee and it’s a really fun Halloween watch, whether you’re 5 or 50. He digs it, and the other night we watched a short bio of Poe. I’m really excited for him to become a Poe fan.
  • What I’m listening to: Sometimes I check in to see who is coming out of Camden musically. If ever there’s any hope that something good can come out of the most brutal of circumstances, it comes from forgotten towns like Camden. One of the guys I like the most right now is a young dude named Mir Fontane. As I’ve expressed on the past two editions of the Friday Five, I’m a huge fan of people who can paint a picture, and this young guy does it incredibly well. Especially powerful is a song of his that simply titled “Camden.” The cast of characters he describes in the first verse is nothing short of Dickensian:
RaVicky gettin money 
Cause he got a little set now
Shae lost her baby

So she back smokin that wet now
Pooh got booked

I heard he workin with the feds now
Til Tony caught him slippin’

Shoulda never turned his head round (BANG!)
Keisha still fuck around with Crackhead James
Heard he sold a flatscreen

So he could buy more caine.
And Jermaine sit on the block

Snd it’s a shame cause he smart
His momma crying every day

And say he breaking her heart
The whole hood shed tears

When they heard Diggs got killed
It’s been two whole years

And no bids got dealt
A n***a that I called my homie
Fucked around and changed on me
Pulled the heat from off his hip
And tried to make it rain on me
This what y’all call hell
But this what I call home
And I’m gonna grind until I get it

And once I get it I’m gone
The white folks want the drugs,

So they come and spend their bucks here
Til they ain’t got no bus fare,
Now them n***as stuck here
  • New Philly Blunt podcast dropped this week: An interview with Ange Branca of Sate Kampar. She grew up in Malaysia, but moved to Philly in her early 20s. After working in the financial sector, she got bored and decided to open her own restaurant, cooking Malaysian food unlike anywhere else in the city. A great listen if you want to hear how Philly looks to someone who not only didn’t grow up here, but grew up half a world away. You can check out Sate Kampar here on IG (and go by there and try the Rendang Daging.)
Punkin pickin.
  • Place I’m checking out: The last one is kind of expensive but yet at the same point totally worth it. We love the fall around here: as I stated earlier my son loves the Halloween season especially, but my wife has always loved pumpkins, fall leaves, the whole thing. So on Sunday we headed to Shady Brook Farm in Yardley. It was $18 each just to enter (!) but once inside it was a great place to take a 5 year old. There was a hayride to pick apples and pumpkins, a big playground, speed pitch (I got up to 60 mph, which I was fairly happy with), inflatable castles. And for adults, they also have an outdoor bar serving pumpkin beer and so forth. We went during the Eagles game (they were playing the pathetic Jets, so I thought it would be a good one to miss) which was a strong move. I’m sure it’s much busier when the Birds aren’t on. There is also a corn maze but I have a terrible sense of direction and I hated it. At the end of the day it’s too expensive but I’m sure insurance there is a bear and when you and your family have a great day it’s hard to put a pricetag on it.

Until next week, be sure to follow me (and argue with me!) on twitter. And if you’re a sports fan, be sure to follow Shibe Sports on IG. Just did a photo shoot last weekend and gonna be posting some great photos over the next few weeks. Finally, if you enjoyed the Friday 5, be sure to click like below. Have a great weekend!

Old Philly Postcards: The Hotel Walton

waltonOne of the classiest hotels in Philadelphia at the turn of the 20th century was the brand new Hotel Walton. For a little background, we go to one of our favorite blogs, the one at Phillyhistory.org: The Hotel Walton, located on the southeast corner of Broad Street and Locust Street, opened in February 1896 and incorporated the Hotel Metropole, an earlier establishment on the same site. Upon its completion, the hotel featured a ladies’ restaurant, a gentlemen’s café, several parlors, a banquet hall, and 400 guest rooms (200 of which had separate baths). The hotel would eventually be known as the John Bartram Hotel before being demolished in the 1960s.

I stumbled onto a treasure trove of info about the Hotel here. Clumsy to maneuver, it is a paper written by the National Park Service on a typewriter many years ago and later uploaded onto the Web. Major thanks to whoever scanned it in. 

The architect of the Hotel Walton was Angus Wade, who also designed the Hotel Hanover, the Bingham Hotel, and the Hotel Rittenhouse, all spectacular structures that no longer stand (The Hotel Rittenhouse is not the Rittenhouse Hotel, but rather a hotel that was at 21st and Chestnut.) Poor Angus. He did perhaps also design the still standing Carriage House, now a B&B near Penn on 46th Street, though there are no good photos of it on their website. 

walton2Am I rambling on about a guy named Angus? Where was I? Ah yes, the Hotel Walton. There was a hotel called the Hotel Metropole at that address but the Hotel Walton incorporated it as part of the much larger Hotel Walton. It opened in February of 1896, and the paper includes the coolest thing I’ve found yet while researching these hotels: a Public Ledger article about the opening written on February 13, 1896. Here is the opening to the story, and a full description of the hotel is offered after the jump:

“Thousands of People thronged the new Hotel Walton from roof to basement last evening, on the occasion of its formal opening, when a scene of brilliancy was presented which has seldom been equalled in this city. The event served a two-fold purpose, as it not only showed off the magnificence of this new hostelry, but gave an opportunity for the gentler sex to display their new midwinter gowns.”

 

How did it get the name Walton? That info comes to us in the next article in the typewritten paper, which is actually from a year earlier:

The name Walton is in honor of a bright little son of Robert Goelet, who owns the property, Master Robert Walton Goelet, and the young lad is very proud of the distinction that has been shown him. 

Robert Goulet was the original owner?!! Oh wait, nevermind, it’s Goelet, not Goulet. My bad. Anyways, I bet his son was an insuffereable, obnoxious punk about having that Hotel named after him. When he was in his early 20s, I bet he constantly bragged to women that he was the namesake of the Hotel Walton, but I bet the women blew him off anyway, because he was so annoying about it. I bet our boy Angus couldn’t stand the little punk, but kept up appearances when he came around, just so Robert Goulet Goelet wouldn’t get mad. 

In 1946, the Hotel Walton went into bankruptcy. I suspect the spoiled rotten little brat who the hotel was named after spent all of the money on fast cars and easy women, but I am completely making that up and not basing it on any “facts” or “research”. Nonetheless, it went into bankruptcy in 1946 and reopened as the John Bartram Hotel in 1946. It was torn down in 1966. Ok, for a real treat, after the jump I’ll tell you where to find a bunch of pictures of the Hotel, what the postcards said, and post the entire 1896 description of the Hotel when it opened. 

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