Tag Archives: local history

The Triumph and Tragedy of Octavius V. Catto

Earlier this month I trekked into Center City, Philadelphia, for an event. En route, I passed by City Hall and stopped short at some recent additions to the grounds that were worth further exploration.

I speak of a new memorial and statue that were installed  at the intersection of Broad Street and City Hall dedicated to one Octavius V. Catto. Behind the statue of the man himself were several granite … pedestals? monuments? … that briefly expanded on different aspects of Catto’s life. Each edifice was dedicated to a particular area where Catto had influence – on one side of each stone was a bronze plaque illustrating each aspect of his life.

 

 

Anyway, I had no idea who this man was or why he got a statue erected at one of the main centers of Philadelphia so I hit the googles and am now going to share with you, Dear Reader(s), the fruits of my research.

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Lessons of a Defunct Icon

Recently, I wrote a thing for some people, and since those people opted to go in a different direction, I wanted to share the thing I wrote with you, Dear Reader(s). I had a lot of fun researching this and I think it’s a topic that could easily be expanded upon.

I chose to write about the Studebaker automobile, or more specifically, the Studebaker advertising machine, which really had a lot going for it. Headquartered in South Bend, Indiana  (home to my alma mater-Go Irish!), Studebaker made cars for distribution around the world. One of South Bend’s private high schools is actually located on the grounds of and old Studebaker Mansion (which was later sold to the Bendix family – another local manufacturing family), and I hear that if the kids are lucky, teachers will take them to the mansion part of the building and show them all the Prohibition-era hidey holes. Another Studebaker mansion is now a high end restaurant – Tippecanoe Place. But what I didn’t know about Studebaker was how their success seemed so driven by the power of advertising.

So, Dear Reader(s), what follows is probably not my best research work ever, but there is more thorough information in the Further Reading section that I hope tickles your fancy. Because this topic is really interesting.

hawk

1961 Studebaker Hawk

 

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Local Notables: Civil War Generals of PHL

It’s been kind of slow over here in Domer/in/DC-land, at least in regards to history-related things. In non-history related things, I’ve learned what the turbo in my car’s engine is, that is, how it’s not good when it leaks oil …

But despite that, I was able to make it to a local historical society’s Monthly Meeting of History Things. This month’s topic was on local Civil War Generals. There are several dozen Civil War Generals buried in a single cemetery outside of Philadelphia, Laurel Hill Cemetery, and there are probably a dozen buried elsewhere in the area. This particular talk covered four specific generals, but there are many, many more to research.

From the event description:

During the Civil War, Philadelphia raised over 50 infantry and cavalry regiments, and its manufacturers made uniforms, weapons and warships for the war effort. The city also hosted the two largest military hospitals in the country to care for the sick and wounded. And Philadelphia sent at least twelve generals off to fight for the Union (and one who chose to fight for the Confederacy!) The most famous of these generals, George Gordon Meade, was given command of the Army of the Potomac on Sunday, June 28, 1863, and three days later led his army to victory in the largest, and most decisive, battle of the war – Gettysburg. Fellow Philadelphia generals Winfield Scott Hancock and John Gibbon turned back Pickett’s Charge during that battle. The other Philadelphia generals served with varying degrees of success. 

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