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Historical Society September Program

The Historical Society of Frankford (HSoF) will present its September program, live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube, at 7:30 pm on September 14, 2021.

John Buffington will discuss some of the current activities at HSoF, and then read a paper, “The History of the Dummy Car,” by Thomas Creighton, first delivered to the Society on January 28, 1916. Dummy cars were self-propelled, powered by steam engines, and they replaced horse-drawn street cars for transportation between Frankford and Philadelphia in 1863. They served that purpose until they were replaced by electric trolleys in 1893. Thomas Creighton had first-hand recollections of the dummy cars in operation, and also collected stories from the operators.

This program will remain available as a video on both Facebook and YouTube indefinitely.


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John Loftus, Newspaperman

I was not shocked when I read that John Loftus had died.  He battled glioblastoma for 6 years, longer than anyone I know of.

John was a journalist with the Northeast Times, and I met him when I began covering local news for the Frankford Gazette in 2010.  John was everywhere in Frankford.  He attended the civic meetings, police meetings and any other community meeting or event where news might be found.

We first spoke at one civic meeting where he came in after I was seated, and he came over and sat down next to me and said, “Is this the reporters’ area”.  I was flattered by the reference since at that point I was hardly a reporter and was still trying to figure out how to do that job.  After that, we would often sit together.  I would watch him do his job and try to learn from him.

He was always on the watch for the story behind the story and many times would leave a meeting with leads on stories that I completely ignored.

John’s interest in Frankford did not end as a journalist. One Saturday in 2012 I met him at a community clean up, walking up Meadow Street with a broom.  He was just there cleaning up like everyone else. I came back an hour later and he was in a vacant lot clearing it for a community garden.  John was a gardener, and he knew what had to be done.  He returned to that garden several times to follow how it was growing.  For sure, a story came out of that experience but I’ve never met another reporter with in Frankford with a broom.

I was at a meeting in 2015 that John attended when he mentioned that he wasn’t feeling right.  I don’t remember how he described it, but it was the last time he was able to cover a Frankford meeting.  Not long after I heard he had had surgery for a tumor on the brain.

I talked to him last after his surgery when he was able, and he was feeling better.  His words came with some effort, but we talked.  I wish I had told him how his work ethic of getting the facts straight and being fair to all parties steered me on the right path.

John left a legacy of family, friends, relationships and the written word.  Go in peace John, congratulations on a job well done.

Follow this link to his official obituary in the Northeast Times.

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You Never Forget


The little things that we tend to forget, as life moves bye so very swift.
A baby’s first smile, your very first kiss,
Water running over your feet as you walk near the beach.
Your very first ride on a Merry-Go-Round as the horse you’re riding goes up and down,
The first time you see a shooting star.
Just remember it’s the little things in life that make you who you are.
It doesn’t matter how old you get; you never will forget that very first kiss.
You may not remember the day, the time, or the hour.
But you never will forget, the – ONE – You gave, your very first kiss.

By Lenny Jaynes

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Diane Sadler

Diane passed away on August 12th. She was a noted local historian and Director and Curator at the Historical Society of Frankford.


Local history activist John Buffington commented, ‘No one has ever been as devoted for as long or as diligently to Frankford history as Diane Sadler. She was an inspiration to us, and we will keep at it. But Diane will be sorely missed.’

Services will be held at Emmanuel Resurrection Episcopal Church, 8201 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19136 on Tuesday, August 24th at 11:00 A.M. Church will be open for Viewing and Greetings at 10:00 A.M. No flowers please. Donations can be made in Diane’s name to The Historical Society of Frankford, P.O. Box 4888, Philadelphia, PA 19124. .

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Frankford Library Resumes 5 Day In Person Service

The Frankford Branch will be resuming 5-day in-person service starting Monday, August 23rd. The hours will be:

Monday-Thursday: 10am-6pm, Friday: 10am-5pm

Although in-person hours have been extended, previous Covid restrictions regarding service still apply (i.e. limited computers and assistance and limited seating).


LaBae Daniels, Branch Manager