Monday, April 29, 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Boghouse Podcast, Episode 15: Intermission

When a planned interview falls through, Matt and Melissa give a quick State of the Podcast.

More information about the Boghouse at

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Boghouse Podcast, Episode 10: Quakers and Slavery

As Daniel Williams sells 103 Callowhill Street, it becomes apparent he is behind the curve on Quaker attitudes towards slavery.

More information about the Boghouse at

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Podcasting is the new blogging

Four years ago, Melissa created a blog entry on this page introducing the world to our latest project: a theater with an apartment above it. Even as she clicked "publish", it was with the understanding that this wasn't an effort to make a big splash - we were simply leaning on a familiar, easy-to-use tool to document as much as we could as we crash landed next to the Delaware waterfront. In between doing all the things we were doing, Melissa pushed beyond exhaustion to assemble photographs and stories about a story that seemed to grow exponentially every time turned through to each new chapter. But blogs and websites had, by 2015, been largely replaced by the new walled gardens of Social Media. But while these new age advertising giants masqueraded as communities, with record engagement across broad demographic spreads, people were also embracing a Frankenstein of Web 1.0 technologies like RSS and MP3, brewed together and filtered onto our handheld always-on internet comm devices: podcasts.

Serial, arguably the series that truly introduced podcasting to the mainstream, was released the year before we started this blog. In the time since, several professional podcasting networks have self-assembled to assimilate this last vestige of the old internet, racing to build collections of content, or as an old co-worker at the York Newspaper Company once described it, "the stuff that goes around the ads." Those same media consumption devices could just as easily be utilized as media creation devices, and the rush was on to get a couple of friends to get together at the dining room table and talk in the general direction of a Macbook, in the hopes that sweet, sweet Squarespace and Caspar affiliate cash would play pilot to the Patreon flame. Celebrities and public radio defectors joined in, industry veterans turned their skills towards a new frontier, and with our cultural tacit acceptance of mobile surveillance, trackable advertising attribution is waking up the streaming music giants from their gluttonous sleep, with rumors of Spotify seeking to acquire Gimlet, the podcasting landscape is about to shift dramatically.

In the first weeks of this year, Melissa and I recorded three episodes of an idea she'd been talking about for a while now: a podcast about our adventures at the Hannah Callowhill Stage. We sat down and outlined a high level overview of exactly what it is we've been up to over the last five years, designated Sunday as Podcast Day, and on January 27th, released the beginnings of the story into the wild. The reaction has been humbling, and we haven't even got to the really good parts of the story yet. I don't think we're trying to catch the podcast wave, but at the rate of growth we're seeing, I'm not sure we have much choice in the matter.

Our podcast is called The Boghouse - an old euphemism for a toilet, or outhouse, because a couple of privies that pre-date America changed our lives. We've had hundreds of conversations with friends, family, and strangers about how that came to be and about what's happened since, and we hope this podcast will provide a better record of that, and as a side effect, save our voices, so that instead of monopolizing people's times at parties, we can say, "Oh yeah, we've got a podcast all about it, check out The Boghouse on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play Music."

So check it out. If you like what you hear, do that thing all the podcasts tell you to do - rate us, like us, subscribe. We are planning to record on a weekly basis, and this is a finite series that follows a (somewhat non-linear) story arc, so you'll want to listen in order, starting with the first episode.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Boghouse Podcast, Episode 2: Money

Melissa and Matt are frustrated by architects and banks. Will they prevail?

More information about the Boghouse at

The Boghouse Podcast, Episode 1: Introduction

Melissa and Matt consider investing in a live/work space and discover a real estate listing for a theater with a sordid past.

More information about the Boghouse at

The Boghouse Podcast, Episode 3: Demolition

Melissa and Matt tear down walls and make surprising discoveries.

More information about the Boghouse at

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Front and Callowhill Streets, in pictures

Over the last few years, as we dug into the history of the property we accidentally bought, I was really taken by all the uses it had, and the shapes it took, but became rather frustrated at trying to find any photographs of 103 Callowhill Street. As evidenced by the last couple of stories, by the mid 19th century, the neighborhood got pretty rough, and by the mid-20th century, the powers that be famously decided to bulldoze their troubles away, halting the eastward demolition precisely at the side of our building. Even after that, the "River's Edge" neighborhood had a roughness to it - stories about homeless folks setting fires in vacant buildings right up into the 21st century. By that measure, it's not terribly surprising that finding photographs of the building in its various states proved difficult. Christ Church in Old City has been illustrated from various angles for about as long as it's been built, but the working class fabric of the city barely captured any attention from artists and photographers, and of those that did preserve visual record of what was at the time mundane, few had their works survive into the modern era.
But when you're living in Downingtown waiting for construction on your home in Philly to start, sometimes the best way to relax after a long day of work by burying yourself in research. Since March of 2015, I've been going back to a number of online resources and poring over them for glimpses of what the front of this building looked like. I have a folder in my Dropbox full of related images, and what good is that folder if no one else can see it?

Okay. Here we go.