Author - Blogger



Urban History in the Service of Urban Activism

"Understanding the past better equips us to live in the present and plan for the future."


All of my newest writing on cities and community development can be found on my two blogs -- one local, one global.

The More Things Change...

Those who seek to improve their urban environment will continue to make mistakes as long as they continue to believe in myths about what made their communities the way they are.  

My blog attacks those myths, and promotes community development in our smaller urban areas, utilizing subjects drawn from the former mill towns along the lower Schuylkill River in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

read the blog

...The More They Stay The Same

A historian's take on the relationship between the urban grid and the automobile, past, present and future.

read the blog

Upcoming Events


"What Killed Downtown? remains a welcome contrast to countless other chronicles of downtown decline whose narratives depend on sociological detachment. Recognizing that true objectivity is impossible, Tolle instead depicts the Norristown transformation from the perspective of people who experienced it."

- Eric McAfee, Urbanophile