A sampling of Philadelphia Newspapers in 1860

Cathy Rossetti, Charlene Palmore-Lewis, David O’Malley, Adrian Seward

1860 Philadelphia Bulletin
26 September 1860
The Philadelphia Bulletin of the 1860’s was small compared to today’s papers, averaging 8-10 pages. Material covered a broad range of social, political and economic aspects of the city. Several sections appear to be regular features including a listing of social events, advertisements, classifieds and a register of steamship selling dates. The culture of the city was evidenced in one brief story of a drunken steamship sailor setting fire to the lumberyard across the street from his lodgings. The location information can give life and color to the happenings in a particular part of the city Building information was limited to one story of the development of stores for sale on the SW corner of 9th and Chestnut, the opening of a gymnasium on 9th and Arch and an agricultural fare in Powelton.

Philadelphia Inquirer 26 September 1860 –
“Public Buildings” This is an informative review for taxpayers. Messrs Kilgore and Hudder estimate the difference between Lee marble and Blue marble at $290K. Mr. RJ Dobbins considers the difference of $97K. The Messrs. Kilgore and Hudder also give an estimate on blue marble and brownstone at $68K, but Dobbins gives an estimate of $125K. One party estimates marble at 3x what another one makes it but at the same time only making the marble and sandstone ½ as great. Party 1 has an advantage while the other side gropes in the dark.
Example 1 of Taxpayer beware. Second example – There is an architect, McArthur, who wants to be the builder, architect and contractor all in one. How is McArthur, as a city architect, to watch over McArthur as a contractor? The process which should be taken is to give a contractor the opportunity to bid on a project. The architect is responsible for drawings, plans and specifications. This is clearly a mess for the taxpayer, for there are too many hands groping in a pot with no-one to oversee what is going on.

Philadelphia Press November 3, 1858
There was an executioner’s sale of the estate of the late John Tayor The estate is plantation composed of 60 acres and is located in Fox Chase at Pine Road

The Philadelphia Public Ledger was a small publication, mostly composed of advertisements. In each issue there would be news and correspondence from abroad, but most of the issue would be devoted to advertisements. These advertisements are of most interest to us. In each issue there is likely to be a few advertisements which are informative in terms of area developments. Here as some examples.
JULY 1860: Sale of the “Eagle Works” in Norristown: included foundry, machinie shops, and associated mining properties in Montgomery County.

SEPTEMBER 1860: Philadlephia and Reading Railroad was accepting bids for fredging of the Schuylkill River opposite the arsenal for bridge piers. (This would be just north of chestnut.)

A census of Philadelphia’s 5th ward was reprinted:
Population 24,740
Houses 2,655
Families 3,?53
Real estate value $13,513,319
Personal property $919,?16
Church property $642,000
Manufacturers 405
w/ capital of $2,830,325
w/ production value of $7,481,195