Forget the red-bellied turtles. Could a long-razed Revolutionary War fort stop the SugarHouse casino from rising on the river?
That's a question raised by today's column.
I have no idea, but I'm a sucker for history -- particularly history skipped by the historians working for the casino's contractor.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will meeting Jan. 18 with those who have a formal stake in the matter. The casino will take orders from the Corps and the Pa. Historical and Museum Commission.
Meanwhile, the group I blithely call The History Boys today have been packing a Web site with details about British Redoubt No. 1, which Torben Jenk says was located by the Delaware, about 600 feet from where Laurel and Canal used to meet. That would place it about 480 from Laurel and Frankford, which is an intersection that exists in three dimensions.
What I loved about Jenk, a self-taught historian, is that he kept calling and emailing me as he dug deeper into the accounts from the day, the maps buried in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Our first conversation required more than an hour straight of typing as I raced to take down every word. How do you spell Cheval-de-frise? (An angled spike buried in the ground or river bottom)
He's British-born, a builder who concentrates on restoring old properties and studying the industrial history of his neighborhood, Kensington. I pulled his wedding announcement from the New York Times -- his father was among the Danes that helped rescue most of that country's 8,000 Jews and secret them to Sweden.
Given the space crunch of the column, I couldn't mention some of the other history hobbyists who helped Jenk and me.
Hat tip to Hal Schirmer, Ken Milano, Rich Remer, John Connor. Also, Kellie Patrick Gates, a former Inky scribe has been covering this for Plan Philly with a fury.