Philadelphia and Its Trolleys

Trolleys or streetcars played of course a big role in intercity transportation and to suburban areas. They were fun to ride and I felt a loss when lines converted to buses. Buses smell badly.  If there is any waste to power them,  at least it was in a plant several miles away.  Streetcars accelerate and stop much easier. There were three lines in particular I liked.  Buses now on the lines lack charm.

23  Bigler.  This line went clear from South Philadelphia to the Northwestern part of the city.  It went north on 11th, crossed Broad Street at Ridge, then went on Germantown Avenue to Germantown, Chesnut Hill, and Mount Airy.  There were many commuter stops.  For others, it gave a total view of the entire city.  The whole trip took about two hours.  It was a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon when things weren’t quite so crowded.  This when I looked last was a bus.

–Not knowing the number, this trolley went from Rising Sun Avenue South on Fourth Street.  If memory serves, it made the circle on Lombard Street; then went north on Fifth Street.  This trolley really looked natural for the historic area. 

15 Girard. This trolley traveled on right in the center of Girard Avenue.   The nicest part of the line was the view from bridge over the Schuylkill River.  This of course was the line that took us to the Fairmont Park Zoo.   SEPTA was supposed to return a trolley on this route.


Pennsylvania Packet

In addition to the Blue Anchor Tavern, the Holiday Inn at Fourth and Arch had a restaurant called the Pennsylvania Packet.  Newspapers were important in colonial days serving as a glue to disparate elements in the colonies and after the Revolution .


The Pennsylvania Packet, or the General Advertiser was an American newspaper founded in 1771 that, in 1784, became the first successful daily newspaper published in the United States.The paper was founded by John Dunlap in Philadelphia as a weekly paper in late 1771. David C. Claypoole eventually became a partner with Dunlap. As of September 21, 1784, the paper was issued as the Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser, reflecting the paper’s move to daily publication.

The paper subsequently underwent additional name changes, dropping the Pennsylvania Packet prefix in 1791, and becoming Dunlap’s American Daily Advertiser (1791-93), Dunlap and Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser (1793-95), and Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser (1796-1800).On September 21, 1796, it was the first to publish George Washington’s Farewell Address.

In 1800, Zachariah Poulson purchased the paper and renamed it, not surprisingly, as Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser. He ran the paper for almost 40 years, and at end of 1839 sold out to the owners of the recently-founded North American. The North American featured the 1771 founding of the Packet as its heritage. To the extent it can honestly be traced past this point, the final successor of the Packet can be said to be The Philadelphia Inquirer

Roger Staubach

Think back to the 70s. Roger Staubach was a great come from behind quarterback.   I remember the first and last time he pulled the fat out of the fire.

1972 Playoffs; first round  Wild Card Dallas Cowboys (10-4) at San Francisco (8-5-1)

Dallas had easily defeated the 49ers in the first two NFC Title Game.  This year it looked like a different matter. Just one month before on Thanksgiving Day, San Francisco blew out the Cowboys 31 to 10.  This was one of Tom Landry’s worst holidays.  Now the 49ers were leading the Cowboys 28 to 10 after the quarters.  Rogers Staubach replaced Craig Morton at quarterback.   Roger completed 12 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns.  The Cowboys were ecstatic on the bench in this last minute thriller.  Dallas 30 San Francisco 28.

Nevertheless the following week came a letdown.  This often happens after key games.  NFC Title Game at Washington.  Redskins 26 Cowboys 3

1979 Final Regular Season Game at Washington.

The Redskins were leading 34 to 21 with six minutes remaining.  Staubach ignited the Cowboys with touchdown passes to Ron Springs and Tony Hill.   For the day, Roger completed 24 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns.  Dallas 35 Redskins 34.   Dallas finished at 11-5.

In the first round of the playoffs Dallas hosted the 9-7 Los Angeles Rams. All signs pointed the a Dallas victory.

–in the previous year’s NFC Title Game Dallas beat the Rams 28 to 0;

–during 1979 regular season, the Cowboys beat the Rams easily 30 to 6;

–the Cowboys were two game better than 9-7 LA.

However as in 1972, Dallas was flat and lost 21 to 19.

George Blanda III

1971-In the seventh week of the season,  the Oakland Raiders went on the road to play their number one rival-the Kansas City Chiefs.  Both teams had 5-1 records. With the Chiefs leading 20 to 10 in the fourth period,  things look bad for Oakland.  Enter George Blanda from the Raider 35.  Blanda completed two passes, the first to Raymond Chester and the second to Fred Biletnkoff, and Oakland had a touchdown. 

The next time Oakland got the ball, the team moved from their 40 to the Chiefs one.  Blanda took a little longer this time.  On fourth and a half yard from the one, Blanda looked to Coach John Madden virtually begging to go for it.  Madden ordered  a field goal try.  From the most difficult angle possible, George booted an eight yard field goal.  He was disappointed.  Even so, that kick put George Blanda ahead of Lou Groza as the all time NFL scorer.

1973-The second game of the season was Blanda’s 46th Birthday,  his 300th game, and one of the biggest wins in Raider history .  Oakland broke the Miami Dolphins 18 game winning streak.  Blanda booted four field goals;  Daryl Lamonica called a conservative game; and Miami did not score until the final 30 seconds.   Final Oakland 12 Miami 7.  Four field goals from Blanda were better than one touchdown.

1974-In week six,  Blanda played in his 200th consecutive game.  Oakland was coasting the last weekend of the season playing the Dallas Cowboys at home.   They had already assured both the playoffs and the home field advantage.  All four Oakland quarterbacks played.  Blanda threw his first passes in two years.  One to Cliff Branch went for a 26 yard touchdown. In addition, Blanda kicked two field goals. The Raiders beat Dallas  27 to 23.

1975-In the last game of the season, George passed 2,000 career points.

Blue Anchor Tavern

In prior years, the Holiday Inn at Fourth and Arch Street had the Blue Anchor Tavern.  This referred to the first drinking establishment in Colonial Philadelphia.

The first commercial structure William Penn saw as he touched down in his new town of Philadelphia was the Blue anchor Inn, a tavern and hostel which was under construction in that year of 1682. The Blue Anchor was Philadelphia’s first tavern. By the next year, 1683, there would already be six more.Drinking establishments in Colonial Philadelphia, be they in the form of coffee houses, taverns, or unlicensed “tippling houses,” were more than places to drink and dine. Taverns were where the community conducted business, got its news, argued politics, attended concerts and auctions, socialized, or just plain got polluted. In Philadelphia’s early years there were no separate buildings which served as dance halls, theaters, or clubs — taverns, instead, provided all-purpose service. Until the Revolutionary Era, taverns and inns were the largest public buildings in Philadelphia.

Flips of Fate III

1964-Jim Bunning for the Philadelphia Phillies throws a perfect game against the New York Mets on Father’s Day.  Bunning is the father of 10 Children.

2006-I noticed an attractive women getting out of her car in the shopping center next door.  Immediately I mentioned that she looked like noted actress Julie Harris.   She said “she is my godmother. ” She pulled out a picture of Harris and Her.  I told her of the the  family resemblance.  The two are not related.

1917-Robert LaFollette, a Progressive Republican from Wisconsin, was one of only six Senators to vote against President Wilson’s Declaration of War.   On his staff were a young law student, Wayne Morse, and a young medical student, Ernest Gruening.  Morse moved to Oregon and served four terms in the  US Senate.  The first two as a Republican,  switched parties, and won the second two as a Democrat.  Gruening was the Democratic Senator from Alaska.  In 1964, 47 years after Wilson, these two were the only Senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin  Resolution.


Eagles’ fans will have to get used to calling their new linebacker DeMico Ryans not Ryan.  This guy hopefully will be able to provide the missing link for the defense. This has been done three time before-Bill Bergey in 1974, Jerimiah Trotter in 2004, and Stewart Bradley in 2007.  Bradley looked to be a sure thing until his injuries in 2009 and 2010.


I see where the Eagles have signed Trent Edwards, who played for mainly for the Buffalo Bills.  Three things are certain:

–Micheal Vick will miss some games,

–Mike Kafka is an unknown,

–Vince Young threw too many interceptions. 

George Blanda 1970-After the Five Games

George Blanda’s exciting play in 1970 did not end with his famous five game streak.  There were three other games with the AFC Championship Game having both ups and downs.

Week 11.  Thanksgiving Day at Detroit

The 6-2-2 Raiders were trailing the Lions in the fourth quarter  21 to 14.    Oakland had done nothing after two first period touchdowns.  Enter Blanda  and the Raiders quickly got a first down at the 50.  George dropped back and completed a 46 yard pass to Raymond Chester at the Lions’ five.  A six straight pullout for Blanda.  Not quite.  The officials flagged Chester for a quick jump.  Detroit won 28 to 14.

Week 12.  Oakland at New York Jets.

George Blanda relieved Daryl Lamonica briefly late in the third period.  The Jets were leading 13 to 0 when Blanda threw a 13 yard touchdown pass to Warren Wells.  Lamonica returned and, on the game’s last play, completed a 38 yard touchdown pass to Fred Biletnikoff.  Final Oakland 14 Jets 13.  A last minutes pass gave Oakland the victory.

AFC Championship Game at Baltimore.

The Colts were leading 10 to 0 when Lamonica hurt his hand against a pass rush.  Enter Blanda with a 48 yard field goal.  Halftime, Colts 10 Raiders 3.  Oakland moved the ball in the third period and Blanda fired a 38 yard touchdown pass to Fred Biletnikoff to tie the game.  Nevertheless, the Raiders could not stop Johnny Unitas.  With the Raiders trailing 20 10 to in the fourth quarter, Blanda capped a drive with 13 yard touchdown pass to Warren Wells.  Colts 20 Raiders 17.  All hope was temporary as Unitas fired a 68 yard touchdown pass to Ray Perkins.

The Colts advanced to the Super Bowl.  George Blanda completed 17 of 32 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns.  Even so, he was always coming from behind.  The Colts sacked Blanda five times for 46 yards and intercepted three passes.    Interceptions happen when a team is always facing a deficit.   Final Baltimore 27 Oakland 17.