“Philadelphia is thick with American firsts. Some — including the first zoo, first hospital, first public library, first university, first computer — are well known. Others are not and are here to be appreciated: Girl Scout cookies were originally baked by a commercial bakery here and “American Bandstand” was born in a West Philadelphia TV studio. This Used to Be Philadelphia goes deep inside the buildings, monuments, and familiar sights of the city to uncover its rich history, layer by layer. This book will introduce you to the city’s first residents, the Lenni Lenape, the tireless workers who made this “the Workshop of the World,” and the current residents who love all of these stories as told through the spaces they have filled. Learn how buildings from the 1876 World’s Fair, the first to be held in the U.S., are used today. Appreciate the city’s creative adaptive reuse projects, including a former technical school turned office space with a rooftop bar and the railroad headquarters that’s now artists’ studios. Take a colorful tour of the city’s bygone days with local sisters Natalie and Tricia Pompilio. You’ll never look at an old building in Philadelphia the same way again.”

Natalie Pompilio is an award-winning journalist who left her job at the New Orleans Times-Picayune for a position at The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002. She’s written for the Associated Press, the Washington Post and the Newark Star-Ledger. She is a co-author of More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell. Tricia Pompilio moved to Philadelphia in 2000. In 2020, Philadelphia Family magazine named her the city’s best family photographer. She continually hones her skills by photographing her husband and her three daughters.