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Tales from Down Under

When I was a kid, my friend Dennis and I would often go to the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill, but not to commune with nature. No, we would descend into the storm sewers of Chestnut Hill to explore. We would enter in broad daylight, and once we even took a small ladder in with us; it's amazing no one ever stopped us. We thought the sewers were pretty cool, but there really wasn't much exciting going on, just a trickle of water and no sign of rats. After all, this was Chestnut Hill.

Anyone who has ever watched the climactic chase scene in The Third Man when the villain Harry Lime (Orson Welles) is cornered in the sewers of Vienna has seen some serious sewers. You could drive a truck through those. Somewhere in between are the sewers of Philadelphia.

I’ve been reading a site I found via the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society called “The History of Philadelphia’s Watersheds and Sewers” compiled by Adam Levine. It’s fascinating reading to this retired sewer rat. Just be sure to put on your hip boots before diving in.

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