Mapping Our Neighborhood History

PhilaPlace connects stories to places across time in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods to create an enduring record of the city’s heritage. The stories are constructed from archival material such as images, maps, and census records, but many rely upon the memories of Philadelphia’s residents whose stories bring the past to life. Through interactive mapping on the PhilaPlace Web site, the public is invited to add their recollections through text, audio, and video related to specific sites in the city’s neighborhoods. Capturing the voices of residents in this way commits their memories to the historical record. These shared stories provide a deeper and more personal understanding of what specific sites meant to the larger community and how the use of space changed over time. What PhilaPlace demonstrates is that Philadelphia’s streets and alleys house layer-upon-layer of rich historical data that reveals much about our past, but also brings to light the ever-changing space we live in.