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Fisher’s Lane Bridge and the Rowland Estate

It has been quite a week here at Gazette headquarters.  The question about the oldest house in Frankford set off a flurry of emails that got me a ton of leads.  It will take a while to sort it all out but Fisher’s Lane has to rank up there as one of the most intriguing places in Frankford.

4501 Fishers Lane

Joe Menkevich has a lot of research on the Lane and the history of the area.  He passed on this picture that he took of the former Rowland residence which dates to 1793 or so.

Below right is a picture of the cornerstone of the Fisher’s Lane bridge.  As you can see by the date, it is certainly old.  Joe believes that the original 1759 bridge was rebuilt and the cornerstone was then reset in the new bridge.

Cornerstone of Fishers Lane Bridge

Below is a beautiful picture of the bridge itself taken by Fred Moore in infrared.

Fishers Lane Bridge by Fred Moore

You can get some interesting views of the bridge in this series of  pictures by Fred Moore done in infrared.

Have a look at the Historic Buildings and Places in the Northeast Survey and Database compiled by Historical Society of Frankford Center for Northeast Philadelphia History here.  You will find the Rowland House and the Fishers Lane bridge.

3 thoughts on “Fisher’s Lane Bridge and the Rowland Estate

  1. Oh get out, that’s the house I drive by every time I go to Wawa on Ramona Ave. What are they using it for now and who was this Rowland?

  2. “The Plan” (which was intentionally withheld from the public) was to “elevate the neighborhood” making use of Frankford’s unique & rich history.

    With the support of the National Park Service, the whole area was on it’s way to becoming an Historic District.

    In this “Plan,” Whole Foods Market who usually locate their business in more “upscale” neighborhoods, was looking at Frankford as a place for investment.

    But – when your Councilmatic representatives have other plans – the residents are always last to know.

    Frankford’s present state is the result of social engineering by your Elected Representatives (and I would include the present Council Members).

    It is simply a matter of then supporting & fighting for the neighborhood that provides the votes which keep them in “power.” It’s a symbiotic relationship of “one hand washing the other,” and it works really well – even at this very moment.

    The socially engineered propaganda used by Frankford’s Non-Profit profiteers, who “worked” City Council, was the word: Gentrification.

    Simply put – the Frankford area must be kept in a depressed state so that the poor and underprivileged will have an affordable place to live.

    This created a windfall profit for the administrators of these non-profits (who had no financial oversight), as the administrators were the ones benefiting from all the government funding.

    “Faith Based Initiative” – is just another phrase for SCAM.

    I did my part to bring the truth to light and I took my lumps.

    I was marked by elected officials as not being a good Civic Association president because I would not negotiate and told them what I thought & where to go.

    They thought I was rather disrespectful, and I thought they were rather disgraceful and unworthy to hold office. (I still feel that way today, as those who are now in office are a major part of all the social illness).

    Ask yourselves – Is Frankford still having any problems today?

    History – EXCERPTS:


    The meeting was called to order at 7:10 by President, Joe Menkevich.

    • Councilmen Rizzo and Kelly were expected to be at the meeting but were unable to attend.

    • The topic of a special election was discussed in light of the conviction of the 7th District Councilman, Rick Mariano.

    • There was some agreement that the Frankford Business District’s needs were not addressed during Mr. Mariano’s tenure.

    • A study done by City Planning Commission, Goldenberg Group, had planned to make the area near Friends Hospital an extension of the Historical National Park Service. Councilman Mariano’s office was unsupportive and the City Planning representative was pulled off the committee.*[see note at the end]

    • The overpass on Roosevelt Boulevard was again discussed. CLIP did nothing to clear the area; kids are stilling frequenting the place; and trash is still being dumped there. There was some discussion as to who owns the property which is technically in Councilwomen Tasco’s district.

    • The site is now a construction site.

    • At 7:30 Anthony Ingargiola arrived from Mr. Mariano’s office.

    • The topic of Greenwood Cemetery was brought up and there were inquiries made as to historical preservation and enforcement of provisos agreed to in the past.

    • Mr. Ingargiola was not familiar with all of the facts pertaining to Greenwood Cemetery but promised to look into the matter on behalf of NWC.

    • He stated that if Greenwood was not in compliance Mr. Ingargiola himself would go before the Zoning Board personally.

    • He further promised that Greenwood would be held completely accountable.

    • Mr. Ingargiola admitted that representation from his office has not be adequate in the recent past and that would be corrected. He stated that Councilman Mariano’s office is still open for constituent services (686-3448).

    • President, Joe Menkevich, stated that he thought City Council should have held hearings with regard to the Prisoner Re-Entry Program taking place in our community.

    • Joe Menkevich spoke a little about the Historical Society of Frankford and some of the sites in Frankford that should be placed on the Register of Historical Places, such a Womrath Park and the Benjamin Rush house, and how the Society is working to that end.

    *[Note] The plan was nixed by Steve Culbertson. He (Culbertson) complained to Mariano and Mariano thwarted that effort. Mr. Culbertson’s name was not mentioned at the meeting.


  3. What I had left out of the last post was, I somewhat failed to explain how this was all suppose to connect directly to Frankford.

    First let me say that “we just live here” and that’s about it. We have very little control over what happens – no matter how much we may complain.

    Secondly, it was all suppose to connect through the Park System and Watershed.

    All the bike paths were suppose to connect with the river front and it was coming through Fisher’s Lane & the golf course and right down Frankford Creek.

    Before you read further and start getting annoyed – just pause for a moment and look at some nice photographs:

    June 3, 2010, By Brian James Kirk – For PlanPhilly

    “On Memorial Day, local photographer Fred Moore—who’s also the President of the Holmesburg Civic Association and a local historian—had the opportunity to photograph large swaths of the Northeast’s Delaware Riverfront from a helicopter. Moore’s three dozen shots, forwarded to PlanPhilly by the Delaware River City Corporation, offer an extraordinary and rare perspective. …

    Back to business –

    Plenty of money got used in doing studies – and I am not sure where it all went or if the plan is still in progress, but everybody got paid to come up with a plan:

    [PDF] PAS L — Trails, Greenways, Paths FRANKFORD. ALGON. COTTMAN. CASTOR. ACADEMY. LORETTO. LEVICK. DELAWARE. KNIGHTS …. Source: Phila. City Planning Commission. DVRPC 2030 Plan. Greenways ……/Trails_Greenways_and_Paths_Map_ Planning_Area_L.pdf

    [PDF] Tacony-Frankford Creek River Conservation Plan
    stabilization and greenways, have positive effects on local property values …… Park Master Plan. Philadelphia Water Department Tacony/Frankford Creek …

    [PDF] Bringing life to our riverfronts
    Betsy Ross Bridge. Pulaski Park. Glen Foerd Mansion. Pleasant Hill Park. Pennypack Park. Pier 11. West Shipyard. Philadelphia Naval Yard …

    [PDF] Chapter 3: Design – NDR-Chapter3 Design Program
    scenario include a continuous bike and pedestrian trail from the Betsy Ross Bridge to Pennypack and Pleasant Hill Park and a continuous River Road. …

    [PDF] Philadelphia Bike Map (front) (Page 1)
    Betsy Ross Bridge. No Access. Pennypack. Trail. K&T Trail …. Philadelphia Bicycle Map. Bicycling is a highly efficient mode of urban transportation. …

    Pennypack Park hiking and biking trail system Photo:PCPC | Green Plan
    Rittenhouse Square, Roxborough, Society Hill, Somerton, South of South, Spring Garden … Green Plan Philadelphia is funded by: The City of Philadelphia, PA Department of …

    But if you want to see what “the plan” was – then go here: Conplan28

    The Table of Contents at right provides you with a quick reference to the contents of the Year 28 Consolidated Plan. Use the index to search …

    If you want to know what the plan for your future is – the go here:


    To be continued ….

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