Book chronicles what Philly used to be

Queen Village sisters Natalie and Tricia Pompilio enjoyed their 2017 book collaboration, Walking Philadelphia: 30 Walking Tours Featuring Art, Architecture, History and Little-Known Gems.

“It was really, really fun. I love researching and telling these stories,” Natalie said.

So, when Reedy Press — which specializes in local interest books — came to them last year to write a book titled, This Used to be Philadelphia, they quickly agreed. Natalie, a full-time freelance writer, had some free time because newspapers did not need her entertainment-related stories with the pandemic canceling shows.

“It came at the right time,” she said.

While Natalie is the writer, Tricia is a professional photographer. They dedicated the book to their dad, Lou, who died in May 2020.

Natalie said the research proved to be educational for her.

“I learned a lot. Every time I learn something, I’m excited,” she said.

Natalie said readers will also be educated about Philadelphia.

“You’ll learn something, at least one cool fact you’ll excitedly tell someone else,” she said.

The Northeast makes an appearance in the book with information about Greenbelt Knoll, a racially integrated community in Holme Circle. There is also a mention of Frankford Candy, now at 9300 Ashton Road and formerly at 21st Street and Washington Avenue.

Citywide places include the original Horn and Hardart built in 1902 at 8th and Chestnut streets; the Schmidt and Sons brewery at 2nd Street and Girard Avenue that closed in 1987; the Jack Frost Sugar Refinery, which went bankrupt in 1981 on grounds now home to Rivers Casino; the East Falls home of Grace Kelly; the TV studio at 46th and Market streets that hosted American Bandstand; Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium, 21st Street and Lehigh Avenue, where the A’s won three World Series and the Eagles won the 1948 NFL title in a blizzard; and Tasty Baking, at 28th Street and Hunting Park Avenue until moving in 2010.

Natalie will sign copies of the book at Main Point Books, 116 N. Wayne Ave., in Wayne, on Saturday, June 19, from 1 to 2 p.m.

Natalie will take part in a virtual book event on Wednesday, July 7, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/this-used-to-be-philadelphia-virtual-event-tickets-157084228155.

The 200-page book sells for $22.50. It is available by emailing nataliepompilio@yahoo.com or on the Facebook page thisusedtobephiladelphia.

The book is also available on Amazon and at the following locations: National Constitution Center, Baederwood Pharmacy, Baker & Taylor Books, Barnes & Noble, Bella Turka, Black Dog Books, Brown’s ShopRite, Head House, Latitudes & Longitudes, Babis Pharmacy, PA General Store in Reading Terminal Market, Paper on Pine, Ray and Judy’s Bookstop, Re-Turn the Page, Robertson’s Flowers, Second Time Books, Sun Rose Words and Music, Sweet Magnolia, Doylestown Bookshop, Village Pharmacy and Words Matter Bookstore. ••