Samantha Smyth’s Hidden City
by Sara Curnow Wilson
From the way she talks about Temple and Philadelphia, you’d never know Samantha Smyth ’17 was a transfer student — or that she’s Canadian. Smyth moved to the United States in 2010 and began her college career at Montgomery County Community College — but she always had her sights set on North Broad Street.
“Temple was always one of my top choices because of its location, cost, and reputation,” Smyth says. “It also offered a great transfer option because of credits.
“I love Philly. It's a huge change from where I lived in Canada, which was near the Rocky Mountains."
Once Smyth arrived in the City of Brotherly Love, she hit the ground running — straight down the history of a town she’d read about but never truly explored.
Before graduating last spring, Smyth became an expert on historical places and historical work conducted in the city. Most notably, she interned with Hidden City Philadelphia, an organization aimed at educating the public about the city’s lesser-known attractions.
In typical Temple fashion, it was a connection she made in the classroom that got her the gig. Hilary Iris Lowe, the director of the Center for Public History, had circulated an email from a Temple student interning at Hidden City looking for another capable history scholar.
“I emailed a cover letter, résumé, and writing sample to Hidden City and the rest is history,” Smyth says.
Smyth has worked on projects that dissect everything from the history of Jewelers’ Row to abandoned subway concourses. Recently, she even worked with historic atlases, some of which will appear on Hidden City Mercantile — the organization’s online store that sells vintage items.
This past summer, Smyth worked at Temple's Urban Archives. Between busy days mining the social, economic, political, and physical development of the greater Philadelphia region throughout the 19th, 20th, and 21stcenturies, Smyth took the time to share her personal list of the best local places to eat, study and explore.