Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Matt Ward History Experience Podcast - Episode #4

Check out the fourth edition of The Matt Ward History Experience Podcast!



Episode #4 contains the following segment:
  1. The Weigh-In - Interview with boxing promoter and International Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee J. Russell Peltz
You can check out Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc. online via their website, Facebook and Twitter:

Twitter - @PeltzBoxing

Below is a photo of J. Russell Peltz and I at the office of Peltz Boxing Promotions in Philadelphia, PA:

First and foremost I would like to thank my guest J. Russell Peltz for sitting down at Peltz Boxing Promotions to talk boxing with me.

This episode would not have been possible if it had not been for the technical support of my good friend Peter Lloyd of One Stone Recording and Mastering. Pete mixed and cleaned up the original recordings into the great episode that you can stream on SoundCloud.

Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank all of my readers and listeners - Especially those who submitted questions for this month's segment of The Weigh In.

The Matt Ward History Experience is brought to you by One Stone Recording and Mastering in New Brunswick, NJ. Check out One Stone Recording and Mastering for all of you mixing and mastering needs. Go to and receive 10% off your first session!

One Stone Recording and Mastering:


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Joey Giardello

Joey Giardello Statue
East Passyunk Avenue
South 13th Street & Mifflin Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Joey Giardello was a champion middleweight boxer who fought primarily out of Philadelphia and other northeast cities. Giardello was born in Brooklyn in 1930, but spent most of his life in the East Passyunk Crossing area of South Philadelphia. Giardello was a top the middleweight division rankings for 15 years. He fought a number of bouts against well-known fighters such as Gene Fullmer, Sugar Ray Robinson, Dick Tiger and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. On December 7, 1963, Giardello defeated Dick Tiger for the World Middleweight Championship. Giardello defended the title four times in less than two years. A notable defense of the title took place in 1964, when he faced Rubin Carter. This title defense is at times remembered as ending in a controversial decision because of the way in which the fight was depicted in the 1999 film The Hurricane. However, most boxing experts believe that Giardello decisively defeated Carter in this bout. On October 21, 1965, Giardello was defeated by Dick Tiger for the title.

Giardello's final fight was on November 6, 1967 against Jack Rodgers in Philadelphia, PA. Following his boxing career, Giardello went into private business and was active in charity work. Giardello died on September 4, 2008 in the Philadelphia suburb of Cherry Hill, NJ.

The Joey Giardello statue is located in the neighborhood that Giardello called home for much of his life. The statue is not only a fitting tribute to Giardello, but also to Philly's rich boxing history.

Below are three links with more information on Joey Giardello, along with some photos that I took during my recent visit to the statue:


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Golden Ball Tavern

Golden Ball Tavern Site
Southeast Corner of the Intersection between N. Market Street and W. Old Street
Petersburg, VA 23803

The Golden Ball Tavern was an 18th century tavern in Petersburg, VA. The tavern was built around 1764, and became a fixture of early Petersburg. In 1781, British officers were quartered at the tavern during the American Revolution. In 1784, the Virginia General Assembly established the tavern as a meeting place of the courts and the common council. From 1781 to 1790, the Golden Ball Tavern was one of the city's best-known hostelries. The building was later enlarged in 1820, and used as a hotel until after the Civil War, when it was used for retail ventures. The building was demolished in 1944. Numerous archaeological excavations of the area have revealed further information on life in colonial and post-American Revolution Virginia. The site of the Golden Ball Tavern is marked with a Virginia state historical marker.

Below are two links with more information on the Golden Ball Tavern, along with some pictures I took during my 2009 visit:


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Barley Sheaf Tavern

Barley Sheaf Tavern
420 West Germantown Pike
East Norriton Township, PA 19403

The Barley Sheaf Tavern is a historic inn located in East Norriton Township, PA. The inn was built around 1784. The inn housed the first courthouse in Montgomery County from 1784 to about 1787. The building was also used as an inn and tavern until 1861. The building was later used as a private residence. In 1980, the building began housing professional offices. A portion of the stone foundation of the 1750s Barley Sheaf Tavern barn is marked with a plaque behind the Barley Sheaf Tavern building. The barn once served as the county jail and housed two windowless cells.

Below are a few photos of the Barley Sheaf Tavern that I took during my recent visit.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Prince George County Courthouse

Prince George County Regional Heritage Center
6406 Courthouse Rd.
Prince George, VA 23875

The Prince George County Regional Heritage Center is located in Prince George, VA. The heritage center includes the 1883 courthouse, 1900 clerk's office, the jail dated to about 1900 and three mid-20th century Colonial Revival-style office buildings. A Craftsman-style dwelling was adapted for office use and added to the courts complex in the 1970s. The courthouse green includes memorials commemorating the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.

A marker in front of the Prince George Courthouse explains that two armies passed by the land upon which the courthouse was built. Lord Charles Cornwallis and his British army passed there on May 24, 1781 while pursuing the Marquis de Lafayette towards the James River. A Union army under General Ulysses S. Grant passed there in June of 1864 while en route to Petersburg. The location was also occupied by Union troops from 1864-1865.

Below are two links with more information on the Prince George County Regional Heritage Center, along with some photos I took during my 2009 visit:


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Madison County Courthouse

Madison County Courthouse
2 N. Main St.
Marshall, NC 28753

The Madison County Courthouse was built in 1907 in Marshall, NC. The courthouse is a two-story, Classic Revival style building which was constructed by the Smith & Carrier architectural firm from nearby Asheville. The courthouse sits on the Marshall Main Street Historic District which includes buildings dating back to 1849. A marker in front of the courthouse explains that during the Civil War, the Dixie Highway passed in front of the land upon which the courthouse was built. This marker is only a small reminder of both the Union and Confederate forces that once passed through and fought in this area. Marshall, as you will see in future posts, was a highly divided area during the Civil War. Western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee were considered hotbeds for pro-Unionist activity during the war. The residents of Madison County were caught in the midst of this civil war within the American Civil War.

I visited Marshall with my father in 2011 following my return home from the Middle East. The town of Marshall is significant in my family because it is the home of numerous generations of my father's family. While in town, we had the opportunity to visit a number of locations associated not only with the history of the region, but also associated with my family.

Below are two links with more information on the Madison County Courthouse, along with some pictures I took during my 2011 visit:


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Upcoming Event - J. Russell Peltz Interview

The Matt Ward History Experience will interview J. Russell Peltz on Thursday, January 14, 2016. This interview will be part of an upcoming episode of the blog's monthly podcast. J. Russell Peltz is a boxing promoter from Philadelphia, who has promoted numerous fights at the Blue Horizon, Philadelphia Spectrum and 2300 Arena. Among the fighters who boxed on Peltz promoted cards include Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts, Eugene "Cyclone" Hart, Willie "The Worm" Monroe, Stanley "Kitten" Hayward, Marvin Johnson, Mike Rossman, Billy Douglas, Antonio Tarver and Hall of Famers Jeff Chandler, Matthew Saad Muhammad, George Benton and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Peltz was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.

If you have any questions that you would like answered by Russell, please post them in the comments of this blog entry, send them to me via Twitter @RevWarBuff23 or via Facebook -

For more information on J. Russell Peltz, please visit the following websites:

Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc. Official Website

Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc. Facebook Page -

Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc. Twitter - @PeltzBoxing

International Boxing Hall of Fame Page -


Monday, January 4, 2016

Centre Hill Mansion

Centre Hill Mansion
1 Centre Hill Ave.
Petersburg, VA 23803

Centre Hill Mansion was built in Petersburg, VA from 1818-1823. The home was built by Robert Bolling IV, a veteran of the American Revolution. Bolling had served as a captain in the Dinwiddie County militia when the British entered Petersburg on April 25, 1781. The home later passed to his son, Robert Buckner Bolling, in 1839. The mansion was renovated and remodeled in the 1840s and 1850s. As a result of these changes, the home now encompasses three architectural styles, including Greek Revival, Federal and Colonial Revival styles. In the 1840s, a tunnel from the back of the house to nearby Henry Street was constructed. This tunnel can still be seen in the mansion today.

The home was visited by three American presidents: John Tyler, Abraham Lincoln and William Howard Taft. In 1864, Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet made the mansion his headquarters in Petersburg. The home later became the headquarters of Union Major General George L. Hartsuff. In April 1865, President Abraham Lincoln visited the mansion to speak to General Hartsuff and the Union soldiers who occupied the home. In 1909, President William Howard Taft stayed there while visiting Petersburg.

There are two well-known ghost stories that are associated with the mansion. The first story is about the spirits of soldiers who march up the main staircase every January 24th at 7:30. Twenty minutes later the phantom soldiers march back down the stairs slamming the door behind them. It has also been reported that a Lady in White stands at an upstairs window. I must note that when I visited the mansion in 2009, and asked about the hauntings, the tour guide informed me that she had never encountered anything paranormal in the building. Nevertheless, if you are looking for an interesting site filled with history in Petersburg, I highly recommend visiting Centre Hill Mansion.

Below are two links with more information on Centre Hill Mansion, along with some photos I took of the building during my 2009 visit: