Crime, Art and War
When it comes to the first of February, Philadelphia has never been able to claim much good fortune, or reasonable judgement:
2007 – The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts sells a whole Eakins, The Cello Player, to help pay for its half of The Gross Clinic. The 1896 portrait of Philadelphia musician Ruldoph Hennig, acquired directly from the artist, had been a gallery highlight at the Academy for the last 110 years.
1973 – Bandits cut phone cables in front of the Tredyffrin Township Police Station, setting off all the burglar alarms in the police communications center while a nearby bank branch is held up for $58,000.
1971 – Samson L. Freedman is the first teacher to be murdered by a pupil. The ceramics teacher at Leeds Junior High School in West Oak Lane was shot to death by Kevin Simmons, 14, as he left the school building.
1945 – Wartime fears of possible bombings lead to a city-wide “brownout.” All electric signs and store window lights are extinguished.
1939 – A coroner’s inquest discloses first inklings of a massive arsenic insurance scam, to become known as the Philadelphia Poison Ring, a murder-for-hire gang responsible for 70 deaths.
1918 – To keep hospitals heated, officials commandeer 125 tons of coal.
1870 – Police crack down on small-time casinos, seizing tables and paraphernalia in the city’s illegal gambling establishments.