Rick Castor wove a tapestry of the Castor family history in Frankford last night to the crowd at the Historical Society of Frankford. Completing the circle started by his great grandfather, Horace Castor, he stood in the hall addressing a meeting of the HSF. Horace was active in the Society for many years, as local history was among his many lifelong interests.
The history of the Castors is fascinating in several ways with each generation making a contribution. There is far too much to go into in detail here but as some of the pictures below attest, invention and architecture were among them. While Horace was a prominent architect during an age of rapid growth in Philadelphia.
Thomas was an innovator and inventor of an earlier generation. Two interesting models were on display last night. One is of a Frankford and Southwark street railway car where his innovation was to add an iron spiral staircase to allow passengers access to the upper level. These were old horse cars that were converted to trailers on the new powered lines sometime after 1863.
Another of his inventions was what we would call a dump truck except back then they were used on horse carts delivering coal and other bulk materials. He perfected the mechanism that made the dumping possible.
Ricks presentation would make a great documentary in its own right. Next month another great program is scheduled at the HSF. Rick Spector’s “MOVIEHOUSE” remembers this lost world of entertainment through a citywide tour of old theaters, including several in Frankford.