Four Vital Buildings to North Philadelphia

Any plan for the revitalization of North Philadelphia must consider the following buildings.

1. Divine Lorraine Hotel.  East Side Broad and Ridge

This historic landmark has been in Philadelphia for over a century.  Originally the Lorraine Apartments, it was the first high rise in Philadelphia.  Father Divine bought it for his Universal Peace Movement about 60 years ago.  The movement sold it to a real estate company in 2000.    It remains dilapidated but possibilities exist for a hotel or apartment complex.  To bring business into an area,  the public needs a place to stay.  Plans are on hold but developing it would be a tribute to the city’s past and future.

2. Broad Street Station.  East Side of Broad and Lehigh

This once busy small station was the first stop on the Reading, now SEPTA, line after leaving Center City.  {Now of course the whole thing is underground downtown}.  Bringing passenger rail service to both Reading and Bethlehem would really help here.   This place become at one time a small hotel.

3. North Philadelphia Station.  West Side of Broad and Glenwood.

After 30th Street, this station is the busiest in Philadelphia.  It was a stop on the North and South Bound Amtrak going to New England and Florida.  In prior days it was the only stop in Philadelphia for the Broadway Limited going to New York or west to Pittsburgh and Chicago.   North Philadelphia was the only option for train coming  from New York and going west.  Otherwise, the trains would have had to go into West Philadelphia and back into 30th Street.  Of course, North Philadelphia is always busy with commuters during the week.  Unlike the Broad Street Station,  this place does not need more train stops.  Nevertheless,  it could be a place for small shops and restaurants.

4. Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House. West Side of Broad and Poplar.

Every place in this city with hopes for new revenue must include a place for the arts.  The Philadelphia MOH could be the place for live theater, concerts, exhibits, and private functions.  As with the Divine Lorraine, this an historic place that should be a staple in Philadelphia’s future.   The following is the introductory paragraph on Wikipedia.

Built just a few months in 1908,  the Metropolitan House was the ninth opera house built by impresario Oscar Hammerstein I. It was initially the home of Hammerstein’s Philadelphia Opera Company, and was originally called the Philadelphia Opera House. Hammerstein sold the house to the Metropolitan Opera of New York City in 1910, when it was renamed. The Met used the MOH through 1920, after which various opera companies used the house through 1934. For over five more decades it remained in constant use in turn as a cinema venue, a ballroom, a sports venue, and a church. The MOH then fell into serious disrepair and was vacated from 1988 until 1995, when it was bought by its current owners and became the Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center at the Met. The church has stabilized much of the building and is currently attempting to raise the funds necessary for further historic renovation of the opera house. The MOH has been included in the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.

Arizona and New Mexico

Many of our states are virtual companions to one another with similar topography, climate, and history.  Minnesota and Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Vermont, and Washington and Oregon are prime example.  For here in Arizona,  the sister state is obviously New Mexico.  Both came into the union in 1912 with New Mexico ahead of Arizona by a few months.  They are quite similar yet with significant differences.

1. Arizona is more densely populated with about half of the people in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.   The Arizona Territory had a far better and more extensive area of canals.  The Indians originally dug the canals leaving less work for settlers.  Arizona has five Representatives in Congress compared with two for New Mexico.

2. Many of these settlers were from the South and Border South.  The Democratic Party dominated Arizona at least until 1952.  Nevertheless,  they were quite conservative.   Arizona was nominally confederate during the Civil War.  At present, Republicans now are in favor and they also are very conservative.   Since 1960, New Mexico has gone Democratic and Arizona Republican in the following Presidential Elections:

1960 Kennedy over Nixon in New Mexico.  Arizona voted for Nixon

1964 Johnson over Goldwater in New Mexico.  Arizona voted for native son  Barry Goldwater but it was close.

1992 Clinton over Bush in New Mexico.  Arizona voted for Bush I.

1996 Clinton won in both states.

2000 Gore over Bush II in New Mexico and it was close.  Arizona voted for Bush II.

2004 Bush II over Kerry in both states.  The New Mexico vote was very close.  It was undermined for about a week but Bush had already enough electoral votes to win.

2008  Obama over McCain in New Mexico.  Arizona voted for native son McCain.

As you can see, New Mexico in politics has been to the left of Arizona.

3.  Phoenix is both the largest city and Capitol of Arizona.  Phoenix in 2000 passed Philadelphia in population and is now the fifth largest city in the country.  Prescott and Tucson were prior capitols.  Albuquerque in the largest city in New Mexico with the capitol at Santa Fe.  Original plans had the  Atchison,  Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad  to stop in the last mentioned city.  Most people began setting in the valley in Albuquerque rather than in the mountains at Santa Fe, 7,000 feet up.  The train stops in Albuquerque but the company did not change the name.

Muhsin Muhammad

In his career, Muhsin Muhammad caught 860 passes for 11,433 yards and 62 touchdowns.  Mushin played nine years with the Carolina Panthers, three years with the Chicago Bears, and returned to the Panthers the last two years.  Below listed are his personal milestones.

–2000-MM lead the NFL in catches with 102;

–2004-lead the NFL in both receiving yards, 1,405, and touchdowns, with 16;

–had two other seasons of over 1,000 yards;

–in two Pro Bowls and one year was All Pro.

Muhammad seemed to have the Eagles’ number.

1999 at Carolina.  Muhammad caught eight passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.  Andy Reid was in his first year and the Eagles were learning.  Blow Out 33 to 7 loss.

2003 at Philadelphia.  Muhsin caught six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.  Eagles won 25 to 16.

2003 at Philadelphia NFC Championship.  He caught two passes for 39 yards.  The first was a well executed 24 yard play for a touchdown.  Drab and disappointing. Eagles lost 14 to 3.

2004 at Philadelphia.  Muhsin grabbed six passes for 48 yards.  His touchdown reception kept the Eagles from getting a shut out.  Revenge for the Birds winning with ease 30 to 8.

2007 at Philadelphia.  Capped a 98 yard drive for the Chicago Bears in the last two minutes.  A 15 yard touchdown.  Philadelphia’s defense folded in this 19 to 16 loss.  In total Muhammad caught five passes for 79 yards.

Earl Campbell-Deserved Place in HOF-One Flaw

Earl Campbell, a Texas Longhorn turned Houston Oiler,  in his time was the greatest running back in NFL.  Campbell had brute power straight away.  He never used fancy moves to evade  defenders.   He either ran over them, threw them off,  carried them a few yards, and then broke away.  If a defense stopped Earl Campbell,  it had to be a the line of scrimmage.   Tackling him after his acceleration was virtually impossible.   The Houston Oilers of course ran him ragged. 

Campbell regrettably spent his last year at New Orleans.  In his career,  Campbell ran for 9,407 yards, for a 4.3 yard average, and scored 74 touchdowns.  He played in five Pro Bowls and was a three time All Pro.  The NFL  management voted Campbell into the Hall Fame the first year of his eligibility.   As Sports Illustrated said  “mmm…great.”

Earl Campbell deserved this quick entrance despite his flaws.  During the NFL playoffs, he was often hurting and burned out.  That plus the great defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers made him a non factor in two AFC Championships, 1978 and 1979.  The Steelers held EC to 62 yards and an amazing 25 yards respectably.   The Steel Curtain keyed on him and gang tackled.  Most important, the Steelers put points on the board making hand offs  to Campbell  a less likely option.

In addition, Earl Campbell was only an adequate pass catcher.  His best season was 1981 when he caught 36 passes for 156 yards.  In his career, Earl Campbell caught 121 throws for 806 yards, and an average of 6.7 yards.   For the whole seven years,  Campbell  averaged  one catch per game and never caught a touchdown pass.

A great runner in Canton.

Tom Tracy-The Last Hurrah

In 1957,  the Detroit Lions and the San Francisco 49ers finished tied for the  Western Conference title with 8-4 records.   John Henry Johnson, the Lions’ number one runner, was injured and out for the Playoff Game at San Francisco.    The Lions relied on a little known stocky running back,  Tom Tracy.    The Lions came from behind 27 to 7 to beat the Forty Niners 31 to 27.  Tracy gained 86 yards in 11 carries.

The following spring Pittsburgh Steeler coach Buddy Parker lured Tom Tracy away from the Detroit Lions.  It was one of the better moves in Pittsburgh history.   Tracy led the Steelers in rushing in the 1958 to 1960 timeframe.  He was in the Pro Bowl in each season.  TT was especially good in 1960 when his old teammate,  John Henry Johnson, also came from Detroit.  The Tracy-Johnson combination gave the Steelers their best rushing duo up to that time.

Because of his stocky built and straight away strength, Tracy earned the nickname of Tom “The Bomb”.  Aside from being a good runner, Tracy was a fine receiver, a good blocker, and often kicked field goals and extra points.   Tom Tracy was also a  threat to pass on the halfback option play.  In 1961, Tracy went down hill sharply and the Steelers cut him in the 1962 pre-season.  The Steelers relied on John Henry Johnson, whose best years were ahead.  Dick Hoak and rookie Joe Wolmack were also there for depth in the backfield.

Noone claimed Tracy after the Steelers cut him, which was a surprise.  Some ten games into 1962, rookie Wolmack suffered a career ending injury.  Pittsburgh then reclaimed Tracy.  In week 12 at Forbes Field against the St. Louis Cardinals,  Tracy carried seven times for 73 yards.  For this day  he averaged ten yards per carry.  Good things happened for Pittsburgh on this Sunday:

–it was their seventh win and the Steelers  won the next two for a 9-5 season.   This was the most victories for Pittsburgh in any season;

–Lou Micheals kicked four field goals;

–John Henry Johnson passed the 1,000 yard mark for 1962.  The first Steeler ever to do this;

–Willie Daniel returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown;

The Steelers defeated  the St Louis Cardinals 19 t0 7.  Tom Tracy did nothing thereafter and retired after 1963.  This day though for Tracy and Pittsburgh was a memorable Last Hurrah.

Paul Krause-In Canton But with One Flaw

Many believe a Defensive Back has a greater learning curve in the NFL than a quarterback.  Paul Krause disproved this in 1964,  his rookie  year with the Washington Redskins.  Krause led the league with 12 interceptions and returned them for 150 yards and a touchdown.  The Redskins traded him to the Minnesota Vikings for Pat Richter just before the 1968 season.  This was a very bad move.  Krause’s arrival in Minnesota coincided with the Vikings rise as a dominant team in the NFL.  Paul Krause was on the team that went to four Super Bowls.  When he retired after 1979 with 16 seasons,  Krause had the NFL record for interceptions with 81.  He returned them 1,185 yards for three touchdowns.  He also recovered 19 fumbles for 163 yards and three touchdowns.

Paul Krause had speed, great hands, and always seemed to be around the ball.  He never shied away from physical contact.  The Minnesota Vikings also utilized his great hands for holding the ball for field goals and extra points.  Paul Krause was  a three time All Pro and went to eight Pro Bowls.

Nevertheless, Paul Krause  had one flaw which delayed his entrance into the Hall of Fame for 19 years after his retirement.  Similar to Asante Samuel,  he was not a great tackler.  If an opposition runner got passed the front four or after a pass catch, they often could go a long way.

Quick Summary of the Reasons for the Passion of Eagle Fans

Let me summarize the reason I sprinkled through this blog for the above subject.

Drivers Related Only to Football

1.  Of the 22 teams existing in 1961, only four have no dynasties in the television era-Chicago Bears, Chicago-St Louis-Arizona Cardinals, the New York Jets once the Titans, and the Philadelphia Eagles.  Fans have no multi-year memories to hang their hat on.

2. The 1962 to 1977 period was one of great expansion for the NFL.  During these 16 years,  the Eagles had one winning season, one .500 season, and 14 losing seasons.  They were a joke team in the NFL.

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Causes Related to United States and Philadelphia history.

All of us read how important Philadelphia was during the colonial period and after the revolution.  It was one of important cities in the world.  Since 1797, political compromises and the decline of certain industries have reduced the the city’s clout. Many regard it now as just a railroad stop between New York and Washington.   I am certain the events listed below play a part in the Passion of Eagle fans.

1. The movement of the State Capitol from Philadelphia to Lancaster in 1796.  The capitol moved to Harrisburg in 1812.

2. The political compromise moving the National Capitol from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.  The Federal Government formed this city on the banks of the Potomac River.

3. The political compromise that built a canal between Buffalo and Albany, NY.  This made New York City the major point of entry in the country-at Philadelphia’s expense.

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Post 1945

4.   Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and San Francisco all lobbied to be the headquarters of the United Nations.  Nobody could match John D. Rockefeller’s tract of land on the East River.

5.  Athletics moved to Kansas City after the 1954 season.

6.  The decline in importance of the Army Navy game. It has even rotated among other cities.

7. The loss of major corporate headquarters-Pennsylvania Railroad, Sun Oil, and Atlantic Refining.

8. The drop in population from fourth to the six largest city in the country.

All of the above, some in subtle ways, contribute to the Passion of the Eagle fans.