Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Minardi, Joseph. Historic Architecture in Northwest Philadelphia, 1690-1930s.

Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 2012. c272p. bibliog. illus. index. ISBN 978-0-7643-4198-4. $50.00.
In this very profusely-illustrated publication (744 color and black-and-white reproductions), Minardi, an award-winning photographer and the author of several books on the architecture of Philadelphia (Historic Architecture in West Philadelphia, 1789-1930s; Historic Architecture in Philadelphia: East Falls, Manayunk, and Roxborough), examines the architecture of the Wissahickon Valley and the individuals who made it possible, oftentimes with the locally-sourced building stone known as Wissahickon schist. The author presents brief histories of German Township and the neighborhoods of the Wissahickon Valley, Germantown, Mount Airy, and Chestnut Hill. Covering the colonial period to the 1930s and discussing a wide variety of styles and influences, not limited to the Georgian, Colonial, Federal, Second Empire, Romantic Eclectic, and Victorian Eclectic, Minardi provides an ambitious, wide-ranging architectural history and review of 450 structures, many of which are extant and well-preserved. He features churches, inns, museums, residences, schools, and other building types while meticulously documenting his survey with captions, endnotes, a bibliography, and biographies of selected architects and their firms. Overall Minardi’s presentation of the material is thoughtful, well-organized, nicely formatted, and professional. Unfortunately, this publication lacks a good map or maps of the neighborhoods. Scholarly yet accessible, this book will be of significant interest and value to historians, architects, preservationists, residents, and some general readers who may be delighted by its superabundance of contemporary and archival images. It is very highly recommended for large public, academic, and special libraries, particularly for those located in the Delaware Valley region. Review copy. Availability:, Barnes &, Schiffer Publishing