Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 2

Produced by: 
Scribe Video Center and Various Community Organizations
73 min

Precious Places Compilation Price:

Higher Education Institutions & Government Agency DVD | $139.00
K-12 & Public Libraries DVD | $79.00
Home Video DVD License – Restrictions Apply | $20.00



While tourists head straight for the city’s official “Historic District” and native Philadelphian’s think they have seen it all, Scribe Video Center’s Precious Places Community History Project reveals bypassed neighborhood sites as bright landmarks that surprise and inspire residents and visitors alike. Using the video documentary as a storytelling medium, neighborhood residents have come together to document the oral histories of their communities. Over the past three and half decades Scribe has collaborated with community groups from Philadelphia, Chester, Ardmore, and Camden to produce over 100 community histories. Precious Places is a regional history, an occasion for neighbors to tell their own stories about and the people and places that make their communities unique. This DVD features 9 films.


Films Included In The Compilation:

Pride of the Hill by Cramer Hill Residents Association (North Camden)

The stable, working-class community of Cramer Hill is slated to be bulldozed by eminent domain. Life-long residents talk about growing up in this neighborhood along the Delaware River and document their struggle to save their homes (00:10:25). Read more

Ardmore, A Village at Risk by Save Ardmore Coalition (Ardmore)

Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore is a street of small family owned shops. It is also the heart of the community. Neighbors must now fight off efforts to take over their properties by eminent domain so that the land can be sold to more profitable, upscale stores (00:09:14). Read more

Parkside: A Camden Neighborhood by Jewish Camden Partnership and The Parkside Business and Community (Camden)

Parkside: A Camden Neighborhood documents the history of the Parkside neighborhood of Camden and two groups of residents who have inhabited the land. From the early 1900s to the 1950s, Parkside was a thriving Jewish community. From the 1960s until today, this green community by the park has been home to predominantly African American residents (00:10:04). Read more

The Things that Put Powelton on the Map by Powelton Village Civic Association (West Philadelphia)

Powelton had long been a center of progressive Philadelphia politics. A series of conversations with long-time Powelton residents explores the history of this unique Philadelphia neighborhood, which since the 1900s has been an incubator for social activism (00:10:04). Read more

Unhushed! by The Still Standing Project (Camden)

Community historian Beverly Roberts had covered a hidden truth about Pomona Hall, an 18th century plantation owned by the Cooper family, the founders of Camden. Unhushed! pays tribute to the enslaved Africans who worked on this farm in what is now the center of Camden (00:11:34). Read more

Villa African Colobo by Grupo Motivos (North Philadelphia)

Grupo Motivos is an organization of women of Puerto Rican ancestry who have transformed the landscape of North Philadelphia. Villa Africana Cólobo, their newest project, is Norris Square’s first African garden. It is a place where community members gather to learn about their African cultural heritage and celebrate the influence of African culture in Puerto Rico and America through art, dance, music and agriculture (00:10:39). Read more

Youth and the Houston Center: Growing Up Together by The United Communities Southeast Philadelphia and the Southeast Philadelphia Collaborative (Southeastern Philadelphia)

The Houston Community Center carries on a long and illustrious tradition of social service in this ethnically diverse South Philadelphia neighborhood. Founded in 1901 as St. Martha’s House, the organization functioned as a settlement house serving the predominantly Italian and Eastern European immigrant communities of the area. Growing Up Together tells the story of this vital South Philly community space through the memories of several generations of its patrons (00:11:08). Read more

The Story of a Neighborhood: The Square @ 58th Street by Shoatz United for Education (West Philadelphia)

The Square, a grassy community park and garden at 58th and Locust is a tribute to the memory of Gladys Shoatz, a matriarch of this West Philly neighborhood that still inspires residents to take pride in their community--and to get involved (00:09:30). Read more

Nuestra Voz Nuestra Perspectiva: Zona Caribe Youth Share their Precious Place by Hispanic Association of Contractors and Entrepreneurs (HACE) (Northeast Philadelphia)

Videotaped by 5 youth from the neighborhood, Nuestra Voz, Nuetra Perspectiva--"our voice, our views"--tells the history of Jose Collazo Park through residents and members of the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises. The park is the fruit of collaboration between neighbors and this local development organization, which in 1995 created, with community input, a 10 year, $70 million strategic plan to promote community revitalization through projects like affordable housing and business development (00:08:59). Read more


Quotes From Educators:

"It [Precious Places] moves documentary practice away from the individualistic and idiosyncratic, typified in projects likeSupersize Me (2004, by Morgan Spurlock) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004, by Michael Moore), towards collaborative interactions between neighborhoods, filmmakers, and scholars who create new histories. As a result, the project constitutes more than an intervention into the conceptualization of documentary. Importing concepts from postcolonial studies, the project shows how to embody difficult and sprawling polyvcalities and microhistories as a way to reclaim and revitalize ideas about the archive, history and memory.

Rather than creating a single authorial vision, Precious Places advances the collaborative ethnographic and historical model, where community participants become the authors and not simply the objects of community history."

-- an excerpt from Patricia Zimmerman's article "Imbedded Public Histories" published in Afterimage, March/April 2006


April 8, 2004 | Philadelphia City Paper, Day in the Life

May 6, 2004 | Northeast Times, Getting Neighborhoods in Focus


Public Screenings, Broadcasts and Festivals: 
2005 Athens International Film and Video Festival (tied for first place in the documentary category, winning for Best Expression of a Community on Film), Athens, OH
2005 & 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival, Philadelphia, PA
2006 Harlem Film Festival, Harlem, NY
2006-2007 Council on Foundations’ 39th Annual Film & Video Festival


Film Stills