Design / History / Roundups

Ten Philadelphia Web sites then and now

Using the Internet Archive, we thought it might be a hoot to look back at the Web sites from ten Philadelphia technology institutions from the end of 1999.

Web designer in 1999 (Photo courtesy of Life images)

As the first decade of the 21st century closes, the Internet continues to change everything it touches.
Ten years ago, the Web was still working its way into everyday life of everyday people in Philadelphia. Now, it’s finding even more crevices of existence to transform. So, using the Internet Archive, we thought it might be a hoot to look back at the Web sites from ten Philadelphia technology institutions from the end of 1999.
It’s another in our completely irregular Top Ten Tuesday department.


Fed exclusively by Inquirer and Daily News copy, circa November 1999 looks all hot and bothered in blue with standard tabbed browsing and a cluttered, three-column format.


The branding and noteriety weren’t there, but in October 1999 may have already showed the signs of what became earlier this year the largest media company in the country. Buried somewhere on the black page and side navigation, there was probably a note announcing the $1 billion investment Microsoft made in Comcast two years earlier that helped propel the MSO into the major content-creation game, allowing the company to purchase the E! Network.


Back in November 1999, TL Ventures, the region’s largest VC firm at the time, was flush with dot-com era cash and, apparently, able to boast a sleek-for-the-time black and gold Web site. Ten years later, they’ve gone for a lighter look and are not quite as cash rich.


The University City Science Center calls itself the oldest and largest urban research park in the country, but interestingly at some point it bought its domain off the Harmon Science Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as it was still in their hands in October 1999.


Could you expect anything short of big, Serif Ds from the Big Five’s king of computer science and design, like their site had in spring 1999?


You have to love those pins and the miles long landing page for Temple circa December 1999.


Though they’ve recently hinted at again departing Center City, Sunoco launched its Web presence while located firmly inside Philadelphia’s boundaries. Turns out, aside from developing a blue background, 10 years from spring 2000 hasn’t done much to the company’s primary landing page, which takes you to either the Mellon Center-based brand you know or the Canadian firm it spun off in the mid-1990s.


They hopped on the Web early and haven’t left since, so by November 1999, GPTMC had more than enough time to get every color in the ranbow and every stylized navigation bar on the Web onto


In spring 2000, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, with 180-year-old ties to Philadelphia, had only a temporary page marking its future Web presence.


OK, it ain’t have much to do with technology, but Fairmount mainstay Rembrandt’s boasts to have had the first restaurant Web site in Philadelphia. With a three-year-old Web presence by this 1999 widescreen look — which hasn’t changed much at all since — we couldn’t find anyone to unseat the claim.
This is a semi-regular department we may or may not call Top Ten Tuesdays. There’s no judging in brainstorming. See others here.

Companies: Visit Philadelphia / City of Philadelphia / GlaxoSmithKline / / Sunoco / Temple University / TL Ventures

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