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Nov 4, 1922: Frankford ‘L’ Opened Today By Gala Fete

I just got around to reading my father’s post about some articles from the Evening Public Ledger that Warren Seale about the opening of the ‘L’.  I found them so full of goodies I decided to start transcribing them.  I’ll post them one at a time.  I looooove reading these old timey articles about Frankford’s current events.  I’ve hyperlinked some stuff that seem noteworthy in the article including Philadelphia’s mayor at the time, J. Hampton Moore.  Some thoughts:

  • The article keeps hyping another transit opening, the Bustleton surface line.  My father might chime in and say what this is, I’m guessing it was a trolley line that ran up Bustleton Ave.
  • where was Evergreen Farms on Roosevelt Blvd?
  • The article says “The famous Daniel Boone was born just up the road from Frankford”.  According to Wikipedia, he was born in Berks County, pretty far from Frankford.  I guess the writer was taking liberties.


Mayor Will Turn Line Over to P.R.T. After Initial Trip


Colorful Historical Pageant In Gaily Bedecked Frankford Features Affair


Speakers Stress Progressive Philadelphia for Great High-Speed System

Director Twining Ill on His ‘Big’ Transit Day

Illness kept Transit Director Twining from the excercises which turned the Frankford Elevated over to the P.R.T. Company.

The Director personally supervised the construction of the city built elevated and also of the Bustleton surface line and this was to have been a “day of days” for him.

An attack on acute indigestion forced Mr. Twining to bed Thursday night.  He was improving today, but had to remain in bed.

More than two and a half centuries of transit development were shown graphically in Frankford this afternoon by a pageant which celebrated and immediately preceded the formal opening of the Frankford elevated.

Indian braves and their squaws, represented by fraternal society members trudged along like the red men of old when Frankford Ave was an Indian trail.  After them came men on horseback, and ox-carts, and other vehicles in an ascending scale up to the latest type of automobiles.

The pageant started at Frankford avenue and Worrell street and moved to Bridge street, the northern terminal of the elevated, which is to be turned over to the Rapid Transit Company at 3:30 o’clock.

Thousands of spectators were massed on the sidewalks in front of business buildings and homes, which were festooned with flags, bunting and electric streamers.

Transit Progress Shown

In sharp contract with the antiquated means of transport shown in the pageant were the pillars and track bed of the city built elevated over which the general public will travel for the first time tomorrow.

Mayor Moore and other officials viewed the historical demonstration from appoint in front of the home of Dr John V. Allen 4637 Frankford Ave.

Parade Is Reviewed

When the pageant ends Mr. Moore goes to Bridge street and there formally transfers the new L to the P.R.T. Company.

Earlier in the day, the Mayor turned over to the P.R.T. the new city built Bustleton surface line, which links the extreme northeast with the Frankford elevated.  This was the occasion of a huge demonstration in Bustleton.

As a possible prophecy of another improvement soon to come, the Mayor, Thomas E Mitten, president of the P.R.T. and a large party of guests traveled in P.R.T. single deck busses from Bustleton to the Evergreen Farms on the Roosevelt boulevard where the Tacony Manufaturers’ Association was the host at a luncheon.  From the restaurant, the party went to Frankford to view the pageant.

The celebration on today was the start of a week of jubilee over the operation of the Frankford elevated, which was started in 1915 and was built by the city at a cost of $15,500,000.

It is six and a quarter miles long, extends from Bridge street to Front and Arch streets, and is the finest overhead electric railroad in the world.

Four Parts to Pageant

The pageant appeared in four parts.  The first showed the old Indian trail to Frankford.  The parts of Indians were taken by the Improved Order of Red Men and Ladies of Pocahontes.

The old trail became a Royal road in 1775 when Edmund Andros was Governor of the settlements of New York and Deleware.  Before this time travel to Frankford had been on foot.  During Governor Andros’ administration, travel by pack horse and drag came in vogue and bands of armed men transported goods along the high way.

The second part of the pageant showed the equestrian travel along the road during the period from 1775 to 1790.  Surveyors, ox-cart drivers and guards appeared.

Erik Mulkie, an old Swedish settler, who was probably the first white settler in Frankford, appeared at this point

Program of Events For Opening of “L”

11 A. M. – The official cars on Bustleton surface line left Caster road and Roosevelt boulevard.

11:30 A. M. – Dedication of surface line in front of Bustleton fire house.

2 :15 P. M. – Start of Frankford historical pageant from Frankford avenue and Worrell street.  Official reviewing stand at 4637 Frankford avenue.

3 P. M. – Dedication of Frankford Elevated and formal transfer from the City which built it to the P.R.T., the operator.

3 :30 P. M. – First train carrying official party leaves Bridge street terminal.  Stops made at Allegheny avenue station and York-Dauphin station for community exercises.

in the parade.  He was the first overseer for the new highway.  Henry Waddy, who was the first Postmaster of Frankford, appeared riding with his dispatch box and saddle bags.  He was followed by a party of men representing the Free Society of Frankford, which established many of the industries in and about that section of Philadelphia.  Among them appeared the Walton brothers, who carried the first seed corn from Frankford to Byberry on their backs.  Pack horses showed the strange methods of transporting burdens over the rough trails.

Famous Wagon in Line

The famous Conestoga wagon was represented.  The famous Daniel Boone was born just up the road from Frankford in 1735.  He traveled to the West in one of the Conestoga wagons.  For many years these wagons were the backbone of commercial life of the Nation.  Their clumsy canvas tops blazed the way to the unexplored West in days gone by.

Then came the period of the American Revolution.  Groups appeared in the parade representing the British foraging parties which swept the country round about for food during the bitter winters of the struggle for American freedom.   Allan McLane, one of the most romantic figures of the American Army, often encountered them in his skirmishes around Philadelphia.  He and his men were in procession.

“Washington” to March Again

In 1789 General Washington passed through Frankford on his way to his in auguration.  He and his escort were shown in the pageant.  Martha Washington followed the general by coach.

Part three of the pageant showed the old turnpike as it existed from 1820 to 1880.  Carriages had become more comfortable and roving bands of gypsies came to the busy center.  Old tire engines appeared equipped with leather buckets with the old Frankford names on them.  Stage coaches and finally the horse car came into popularity.

In the last stage men goes by machine.  Modern road making machinery appeared, together with bicycles of old and new types and modern and out-of-date automobiles.

The procession was concluded by an allegorical float.  As the scroll of the past closed that of the future opened.  Progress, the link between past and present, calls on Frankford to follow from age to age.  Frankford responds, offering to Progress herself and those qualities which have made her great.  They are Religion, Community Spirit, Partiotism, Education, Music, Industry, Thrift and Philanthropy.

Official Exercises Later

At 3:30 o’clock the official dedication services will take place at the Bridge street car barns.  Henry S. Borneman will speak in behalf of Frankford, as will Thomas Creighton.  A representative of the transit department will present the elevated line to the Mayor, who will then turn it over to Mr Mitten.

Minute arrangements have been made with regard to the actual opening of the “L.”  Mayor Moore will press two buttons, which will connect the currents used to drive the cars along the rails.  Every “L” station is draped with bunting and many artistic displays are to be seen in the store windows.

The girls’ popularity contest is adding to the excitement of the festivities.  “Miss Frankford” will be crowned with pomp and ceremony on Saturday afternoon next.  She will also receive a prize of $500 in cash.  The girl receiving the next highest number of votes will be presented with a valuable diamond ring.

Babies to Have a Parade

Tuesday will see many of the Frankford babies in full dress parade.  A pony and cart complete in every detail will be presented to the prettiest baby in the parade.  Other valuable prizes have been presented by the merchants of Frankford.

Events have been arranged for every day of the week, which started Friday last and will come to a close Wednesday, November 15.  George H Pattison will lecture on subjects of interest to old residents of Frankford, and on Saturday, November 11, a ceremony will be held in which the mortgage on the American Legion house will be burned amid great rejoicing.  The Frankford Camera Club is exhibiting many unique photographs in the main room of the Free Library and a tent has been erected on Frankord avenue in which all makes of automobiles will be demonstrated by automobile dealers in and about Frankford.

After the pageant at the “L” dedication exercises at the Bridge street car barns, Henry S. Borneman will speak in behalf of the people of Frankford, as will Thomas Creighton.  A representative of Director Twining, who is ill, will present the elevated line to the Mayor, who will then turn it over to Mr. Mitten.

Minute arrangements have been made with regard to the actual opening of the “L.”  Mayor Moore will press two buttons, which will connect the currents used to drive the cars along the rails.

Ready for First Trip

The first elevated train will move at 3 :30 o’clock, making the first stop at Allegheny avenue, where a reception will be held by the North Kensington Business Men’s Association.  The second stop will be at the York-Dauphin street station, with the Kensington Board of Trade in charge of the excercises.

The official party will make a full trip, the train moving from the Frankford elevated at Front and Arch streets to the loop into the Market street subway and thence to Sixty-ninth street and return.

The official train will be in charge of:

Instructors – H. Keely,  6030 Walnut street, and C. Haney, 117 Robinson street.

Motorman – T. Williams, E-4.  148 Edgewood street.

Conductor – Q. Ott.  E-23.  151 North Sixty-second street.

Guard – H. Stead.  E-436.  61 Keystone avenue, Upper Darby.

The first regular train from Bridge street, Frankford, tomorrow morning will start at 5 :20 ½ o’clock.  The crew will be:

Motorman – S. Money,  E-72.  117 Woodlawn avenue, Alden.

Conductor – J. Dampman, E-87, 1219 Greylock street.

The guards will be selected from extra men.

The first train from the Sixty-ninth Street Terminal for Frankford tomorrow will start at 4.52 ½ A. M.  The crew will be:

Motorman – T. Williams. E-4.  148 Edgewood street.

Conductor – J. Criswell.  E-15. 6646 Leeds street.

1 thought on “Nov 4, 1922: Frankford ‘L’ Opened Today By Gala Fete

  1. i have a photo of my mom taken when she won the Baby Parade – she never mentioned a pony and a cart. maybe she wasn’t the “prettiest”. Does anyone know if there is a video of this event? it sounds like something channel 12 would be great at documenting.

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