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What Killed Downtown?: Norristown, Pennsylvania, from Main Street to the Malls Paperback – December 18, 2012
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About the Author
After earning a B.S.F.S. (Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service) from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Michael E. Tolle spent a year studying the Vietnamese language before serving two years in Viet Nam with the Agency for International Development (USAID), as an Assistant Relief/Rehabilitation Advisor to the Vietnamese government’s refugee program. Upon returning to the United States, he and his wife Barbara settled in the riverside community of Port Indian, just upriver from Norristown (and downriver from Valley Forge), Pennsylvania. He was in succession a carpentry contractor and energy conservation consultant before entering into the most satisfying phase of his life, providing the primary care to his two sons. He will always be most proud of his efforts during this time. As circumstances allowed, Michael earned a M.A. in History at Villanova University, then began teaching history at local colleges, including both Montgomery County and Delaware County Community Colleges. His involvement with the Historical Society of Montgomery County provided him with much of the primary research material for this, his first book. After enduring the highly varied weather of Southeastern Pennsylvania for over thirty years, he and his wife currently reside in San Francisco, California, which experiences neither winter nor summer.
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Top customer reviews
But, you see, this could be anytown USA, it could be your town, a place where factories closed, malls took the customers away from downtown stores. What happened in Norristown is not isolated to this town. It happened in lots of towns. Some few of them rose again like a Phoenix. It is doubtful if that will happen to Norristown.
Thank you, Michael, for writing an exquisite book that brings back wonderful memories of life in the town we loved, even though we know the book has a sad ending. 5 stars.
This insightful study is all the more remarkable because the author never, so far as I know, lived in Norristown. And yet he writes with a genuine affection and compassion surely absent in the typical coroner's suite. In the end the author pens a loving epitaph for Main Street, America. Of Main Street's successor, he notes: "No one swept the patch of mall tiles in front of Sears, then leaned on the broom to tell passing shoppers about the great deal in aisle four."