Sugar and History in South Philly

Before summer ends I wanted to get some good water ice. (Or wooder ice as we Philadelphians say.) I headed to John’s Water Ice at 7th and Christian.

John’s has been in business since 1945 and uses natural ingredients. It’s take out only.

They also have ice cream, but no need to choose between that and water ice when you can have both. A gelati is water ice and ice cream in layers. I chose mango ice and cookies and cream ice cream.

It sounds like it wouldn’t work, but it really does. Both the water ice and the ice cream are whipped to a silky smoothness, so the textures are compatible.

While in the neighborhood I walked a block east to Sixth and went to Shot Tower Coffee. This cafe manages to be both industrial and cozy. Is there a word for that? Industryozy? Codustrial?

They have books and magazines if you’re in an analog media mood.

The cafe reminded me the namesake Sparks Shot Tower is nearby at Carpenter and Front. Built in 1808, the tower produced shots by dropping molten lead through a shoot where gravity formed it into balls before it fell into a vat of water.

Keeping the history theme going, I walked a few more blocks to Gloria Dei Church at 916 Swanson Street near Front and Christian. It’s also know as Old Swedes Church because it was founded by Swedish settlers.

The church dates to 1700 and sits in a quiet compound.

It’s open, and I do like a historic church.

To add another layer of history on top, I learned Betsy Ross was married in this church.

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