There are so many places that take on new light and meaning when you discover their history. In Philadelphia, 4th & High Street became one of those places for me. Now thanks to Davis Shaver I can add 13th and Locust Street to my list of special places. First, look at this lost architecture:


To the point:

An inconspicuous corner that played a key role in Teddy Roosevelt’s winding road to the White House – Broad & Locust, blocks south of Philadelphia’s City Hall, itself still a year away from final completion when the 1900 Republican National Convention was held in town. … Kearns Goodwin details the scene in her book:

“The moment Roosevelt arrived in Philadelphia, the stampede for his nomination began—just as Lodge and Judge Parker had predicted. Entering the crowded lobby of the Hotel Walton around 6 p.m., he was met by ‘vociferous applause’ and thunderous cries of ‘Teddy, Teddy, Teddy.’ When the raucous crowd launched into a chorus of ‘There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight,’ journalists noted, ‘Roosevelt blushed, doffed his hat and bowed his acknowledgments as he recognized the tune played after his charge up San Juan Hill.’”

“He had scarcely finished breakfast the following morning, the New York Tribune reported, when ‘he had reason to suspect that something of importance affecting his political fortunes had happened in the course of the night’: one state delegation after another ‘invaded’ his room, announcing that he was their unanimous choice for vice president.”

As an aside, I happened to walk past this display on the 1900 Philadelphia convention in the Philadelphia Airport last month:


There’s something hideous at 13th & Locust today, but the intersection and the neighborhood in general will be more meaningful now that I know it’s history.

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