Northeast Philadelphia: A Brief History

Northeast Philadelphia: A Brief History


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Before the Consolidation Act of 1854 more than tripled the former capital's population, Northeast Philadelphia was a scattered group of pastoral communities just beyond the city limits. Holmesburg, Somerton and other small villages initially struggled but ultimately triumphed in their transition from rural townships to a bustling urban center. Dr. Harry C. Silcox has collaborated with Frank W. Hollingsworth to chart this fascinating evolution, from the demise of the family farm to neighbors uniting on the homefront during World War II. With such lively characters as Mary Disston, the founding mother of Tacony, and tales of the local effort for suffrage, Silcox and Hollingsworth create a brilliant and affectionate portrait of Northeast Philadelphia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596297760
Publisher: History Press, The
Publication date: 11/27/2009
Series: Brief Histories (Paperback)
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 590,440
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Dr. Harry C. Silcox is a long time board member of the Historical Society of Frankford and a retired Philadelphia area principal. In addition to writing a regular history column for the The Northeast Times, he is the author of six previous books including A Place to Live and Work: The Henry Disston Saw Works and The Tacony Community of Philadelphia, published by Penn State Press in 1994.

Table of Contents

Preface Dr. Harry C. Silcox 9

Chapter 1 Out of the Wilderness

How Northeast Philadelphia Got Its Name 11

Holmesburg: The Original Village 16

Bringing Learning to the Wilderness 23

Benjamin Rush and the Healing Halls 29

Slave, Freedom and Citizenship 32

Chapter 2 A Gilded Transformation: From Summer Retreat to Bustling Center

Torresdale in the Days of Risdon's Ferry 39

Saint and Pioneer: Katharine Mary Drexel 43

Torresdale: Home of the Cream of Philadelphia Society 48

Socialite Colonel Edward Morrell 56

Life of the Rich and Famous in Torresdale 63

Upstairs and Downstairs: Worlds Apart 69

Chapter 3 Rail and Steel Arrive in Northeast Philadelphia

George Gandy and the Disston Saw Works 83

Tacony's Founding Mother: Mary Disston 87

Workers Unite Wissinoming 92

Frankford: The Hub of the African American Community 97

Chapter 4 Northeast Philadelphia Takes on a New Century

Tacony: Two World Wars and a Depression 103

America's First Gymnasium 112

Sunday Drives on Roosevelt Boulevard 118

Goodbye to the Horse and Buggy 124

From Creeks to Public Pools 130

Chapter 5 New homes and Fresh Faces

Casting a New Light on Castor Avenue 139

Welcoming Rhawnhurst 143

Uniting the African American Community 148

Bibliography 155

About the Authors 157

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