The Philadelphia Century

When this magazine came into being in 1908, who could have predicted that masses of Philadelphians would perish in a flu epidemic? Or that a machine invented in West Philly would revolutionize the world? Or that our historic city would in time be symbolized by … a sandwich? As a birthday present to ourselves, we present our ranking of the 100 moments in the past 100 years that have made us, moved us, shamed us and shaped us. They are nothing less than the story of how we became who we are.

Click here for moments 100 (Kevin Bacon connects) to 76 (Marian Anderson sings)

Click here for moments 75 (Bookbinder’s sold) to 51 (Comcast’s green age) 

Click here for moments 50 (Flyers win) to 26 (Larry Kane on Action News) 

Click here for moments 25 (Class-action suits pioneered) to 11 (Le Bec Fin opens)

Click here for the top 10 moments

Research by Jenna Bergen, Carrie Denny, Emily Gagne, Timothy Haas, Sandy Hingston, Robert Huber, Sam Katz, Lauren McCutcheon, Tom McGrath, Jane Morley, Ashley Primis, Jessica Remo, Richard Rys, Bridget Salmons, Roxanne Patel Shepelavy, Christine Speer, Steve Volk, April White, Janine White and Valerie Yeager

Photography Research by Courtney Apple, Jessica Vermeer Hawkes,
Michael McCormick, Shayna Puchowitz, Sarah Quick and Zoey Sless-Kitain

  • Kristyne

    …storage space and dismantled the computer. However, there are still photographs.

    Your article misleads people into thinking the University of Pennsylvania was the first to develop the electronic computer. You should do a retraction.

  • Kristyne

    I shouldn't have to be the one to tell you this, but your top moment #4 is incorrect. The ENIAC was NOT the first computer. Beginning in 1939, John Atanasoff, a mathematics and physics professor at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University)hired an electrical engineering student named Clifford Berry to assist him with the development of the first electronic, digital computer. For two years they worked on the computer, which was subsequently stored in the basement of the Physics Building, until the U.S. became involved in the war in late 1941. A patent attorney was working on the patent for the invention, but the work was never completed. Although the ENIAC was the first computer to be patented, that patent was voided in the 1973 case, Sperry Rand vs. Honeywell, as a derivative of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (the ABC). Historians give John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry credit for inventing the first electronic computer. Unfortunately, during the war, Iowa State College needed

  • rosemary

    I was sickened and saddened when I read your magazine this month, I've cancelled my subscription due to the fact that mumia abul jamal's picture is on the cover. Although I agree with this being a top moment that shaped our city, a picture of Daniel Faulkner would have been much more suitable. The police have protected and kept us safe long before your magazine began. More recently the police in our city are losing there lives at an alarming rate. The men and women of the Philadelphia Police department will continue to do there job protecting the citizens of this city. I as the wife of an officer will spread the word with every means necessary to cancel, boycott and not buy your magazine, we have a very strong supportive police network in this city. Have a nice day and Justice for Daniel Faulkner!

  • Howard

    You've made mostly logical choices for your list. At least a couple of mine really fell under yours:
    the clearing of Independence Mall really falls under Ed Bacon taking over the Planning Commission; Steve Poses opening Frog falls under George Perrier opening Le Bec Fin. On the other hand, thanks for choosing the A's as I did. After nearly 80 years, our most winning and talented team, a sad commentary on what is now and might have been if somebody(Charlie Finlay?) kept the A's here.

    Leopold Stokowski becoming music director of the Philadelhia Orchestra in 1912. He is credited for the Philadelphia Sound. According to their website, they were the first to make electrical recording and to have their own radio program. Ormandy may have had firsts, but he had help.

  • Howard

    Yo! becomming the trademark Philadelphia greeting–whenever that was(please reprint the poem from a few years back).