Canned Heat Wave - Skid Row Manuscript #3

Update (9/12/2017): this piece has recently been published online -

A couple of weeks ago I did a blog entry on my intentions to write an additional short piece on Philadelphia's Skid Row, this time writing in a true crime genre. My original intention was to write a profile of the local police district that covered Skid Row and still works out of the same building (one of two structures I have found which have maintained their original Skid Row function). That topic evolved to the draft that I just finished after a few weeks of adding a little bit at a time between other writing projects. This piece deals with the "Canned Heat Wave" in which Max Feinberg, a cigar store proprietor on 8th and Vine Streets, unwittingly became Philadelphia's most prolific killer. If that hooked you... read on here.

The piece got an enthusiastic response from Hidden City Philadelphia, and they'll again publish this. I am currently rustling up permissions for use of the photographs, so the piece is in limbo. Thus if you have comments on the draft, please email them to me as I am in a position to incorporate them.

I have at least one more piece I want to write in this Skid Row series, on a 1950's era Skid Row social worker, Philip Spencer, who wrote an interesting but never published manuscript on the flophouse hotel conditions on the Row. I am working with the Special Collections Research Center at Temple University, which houses the manuscript in its archives, on figuring out a way to make Spencer's piece accessible online in conjunction with what I want to write. I'm sure I'll revisit that in some future post.

In the meantime, read the Canned Heat Wave draft.

Stephen Metraux