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Under The Dome With A View

On October 8th at the Frankford Historical Society an event was held on Victorian Glass Domes with birds. These works of art date back to 1837-1901. Not only did this time period preserve birds, Victorian domes were homes to flowers, plants, wax works, and memorial scenes. The middle class people were the desired target for these Victorian Glass Domes. The cost was around $5.00 which was an expensive piece of art in that time period.

The construction of the display used some bizarre things: stones from Bohemia for the eyes, human hair, and arsenic laced cotton over the wire to hold birds and things in place. During this time period, enormous numbers of birds were killed to satisfy the desire to obtain these magnificent pieces of artwork. Thankfully the times have changed and our feathered friends are safe from the hunt to encase them in glass. Well, they must have known what they were doing when they constructed these domes, because the Victorian Glass Dome bird displays that I observed were vibrant in color, perfectly arranged, and they looked alive like they could fly away, if I took the dome off the base of the structure.

victorian domeThe featured speaker was an avid birder named Tony Croasdale. Tony started his adventures in bird watching when he was 9 years old. He spoke of a story of when his father took him out one day to try and find a Kingfisher bird. It turned out to be a successful bird quest. This was his first glimmer that birds were going to be one of his passions in life.

Along with that, Tony was in a Punk rock band, R.A.M.B.O., that was a successful, world touring group. The group was formed by then singer Tony Croasdale, also known as Tony Pointless, and the group traveled the United States, Australia, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

He mentioned a story of being out on a bird tour in another country, and he was supposed to go to a concert. Well, his bird tour was successful, but he was late and missed his concert. This was when he realized that his love for bird watching and the sounds from these feathered creatures were more captivating to him than the electric lights and rock and roll life. So, he set aside his music and went back to attend school for a Horticultural/Biology degree and is currently pursuing a masters degree in Biology.

Frankford Historical Society asked Tony to identify the birds that were encased inside the Victorian Glass Domes. Funny story, Tony has just come back from Brazil where he was on an exploration and leader of a bird tour. He realized at the Frankford Historical Society that the birds he was looking at were birds that he just identified out in Brazil. He concluded that most of the birds in the domes had been imported from Salvador, the Atlantic Rainforest (Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina), and a few other places high up in the mountains for birds such as the Pluma Crest. A couple other places mentioned were Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. About 180 species of birds live in these places. Over half of the birds in the domes were from the Brazilian rainforest. This was the exact place Tony just recently visited. How funny and coincidental is that!

At the end of Tony Croasdale’s presentation, a list of places to bird watch was announced: Fisher Lane Bridge, Lardner’s Point/Palmyra Cove on the New Jersey side (Peregrine Falcons nest in Palmyra), Pennypack Park, Heinz Park in Southwest Philly, Norheast (Bald Eagles nest), Cobbs Creek Park, Bridesburg Sewage Treatment Plant, Benjamin Rush State Park, Glen Foerd, and this is just naming a few places where you can spot your fine feathered friends.

The room was filled with people all with a passion for art and birds. Chatter filled the air as the people mingled with each other. Front and center were glass domes with beautiful birds inside perfectly arranged and undeniably beautiful. This is when I met the keepers of the gate (Frankford Historical Society): Jim Young (President of the Historical Society), Patricia G. Coyne (Chair of Program Committee), Debbie Klak (former President of the Historical Society & current Chairperson of Historical Property Committee), Susan Couvreur (bird collection/library committee), and John V. Buffington (Chair of the History Committee & Board member), and other names mentioned Diane Sadler (Vice President of Historical Society), Robert Penn, Bruce McKensey (bird treasurer), Sara Brower, Jerry Klankowitz, Dolores & Cliff, Rick Thomas, and June Fryfecder.

During the evening, Patricia G. Coyne was so gracious to the crowd offering membership sales which she directed to Jim Young, books for sale like the Frankford Yellowjackets, and delicious treats and coffee. Any football fan would love to purchase this iconic original Philadelphia’s team football book. Patricia also announced that the Frankford Historical Society had been mentioned in the Philadelphia Food Lovers Magazine. She gave special thanks to Bob and Pat Smiley of the Frankford Gazette for all the help in promoting the Frankford Historical Society over the years.

Another speaker that night, John V. Buffington of the Frankford Historical Society is CALLING ALL WORLD WAR II VETERANS to please contact John at the Historical Society. John V. Buffington is in the process of collecting information for documentation on history of WWII in Northeast Philadelphia. World War II vets are asked to come forward and share your stories with the Frankford Historical Society. On behalf of the Frankford Historical Society and the Frankford Gazette we would like to thank the World War II veterans for your service to the United States of America keeping us Americans safe and free. Thank You!

To Conclude, this was my first time to the Frankford Historical Society. Wow, a must see! The people were terrific, the sights were amazing, and the homemade baked apple cake was YUMMY! Hats off to the chef!


BY MAIL: 1507 Orthodox Street
P.O. Box 4888
Phila., PA 19124
BY PHONE: (215) 743-6030
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Waving Trees to Rainbows Below

On Saturday, September 28th, the Friends of Overington Park had their annual “Art Under The Trees” event. This year, the president of the organization, Diane Kunze, decided to use master works from Andy Warhol’ pop collection to inspire the artists. The children and young adults got to pick which picture inspired them to chalk beautiful works of art onto the blacktop.

The chalk designs that the artists produced were magnificent with vibrant colors, and the creators wore those Crayola chalk sticks down to dust. This contest had four age catagories: 6 and under, 7-10, 11-15, and 16-19. From what I observed, the judges had a tough time picking a winner from the beautiful displays of art that covered the ground. One winner was picked from each age category and received a sketch book, art supplies, and a certificate of congratulations.

Congratulations go out to:

  • Amyia Topping (6 and under)
  • Alivia Miller ((7-10)
  • Christian Joyce & Gavin Hopkins (11-15)
  • George & Tyreek (16-19)

Along with the contest, they had a craft table with handmade crafts designed & crafted by Jennifer Mohr. This table was staffed by the artist herself and Lorraine Fortino.

Meals-on-Wheels receivers had a special treat put in their lunches. The children of Frankford produced beautiful works of art on paper using Crayola crayons and their imaginations which were to put in everyone’s lunch following this event. This part of the event was created by Lisa Handy.

Thanks go out to Carlos Correa and Noah Gibson of the Jr. R.O.T.C. of Frankford High School for volunteering their time to organize and distribute the art supplies, contestant sign-ups, and giving out pretzels to the crowd. The instructor of the Jr. R.O.T.C., Joe Fraioli, made an appearance to say hello and thank you to his men staffing the table.

What a wonderful day it was with cool temperatures, sunny skies, and a love for art under the long living tree’s of Overington Park.  Special thanks from the Friends of Overington Park go out to all the people who help & volunteer their time to make all their events possible; Nona Bloom, John Neugebauer, Maryanne Seifert, Linda Heywood, Jr. R.O.T.C., Janet Bernstein & Frankford Garden Club, and this is just to name of few THANK YOU.

Come out for some other events happening in Overington Park: November (Love your park clean-up) & December (Caroling in the park). Please see the Frankford Gazette website for dates, times, and other events happening in your Frankford community. Keep the Frankford spirit alive and get involved with the fun!

For more information on Friends of Overington Park go to their Facebook page at: Friends of Overington Park
Inquires and contributions can be sent or obtained at:

Friends of Overington Park
1344 Overington Park
Philadelphia, PA 19124

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Frankford Grom Grabs The Gold Cup

On Saturday, October 5th, the Philly Cup Series Jam finals commenced at Franklin Paine Skateboard Park in downtown center city near the Art Museum.  It was hot steamy day in the city when local Frankford resident John Valentin won the Philly Cup Jam Series Championship Trophy and a $100.00 gift card to Zumeiz store. This award goes to the person in each division with the overall highest total points from the four competitions throughout the Philly Cup Jam. John Valentin was in the Grom division (12 and under). He represented Frankford area from Whitehall/Carmella Playground at Torresdale and Wakeling Street.

winnersFour competitions were held throughout the summer located all over the city. Last month, the competition was held at our very own Whitehall/Carmella Playground where he placed 1st in his division.  The Philly Cup Jam Series are part of the Department of Recreation programs for the city. Also, sponsored and donations are provided by: Franklin Paine Skateboard Fund, Glacier Vitamin Water, Zumeiz store, Tork Trucks, Powell & Peralta Skateboards, Black Diamond, One Skateboard company and more from past competitions.

Congratulations to our Gold Cup winner John Valentin (blue shirt in the picture to the left). Let’s wish him luck in his future endeavors while he skateboards and flips for Frankford.
Special thanks to the volunteers who kept the Franklin Paine Skate park clean of leaves and debris during the competition to make for a safe and happy skateboard turf for all the riders and spectators.

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Success For Local Frankford Skateboarder

On August 17, 2013, the second annual Philly Cup Jam Series made its third stop at the Whitehall playground in Frankford. Lots of fantastic style and talent showcased in this event.

One of our own, John Valentin , a local Frankford resident won first place in the Grom division (12 & under) for his style and tricks on his skateboard.

john valentin

John Valentin

The next and final stop of the Philly Cup Jam Series held on October 5, 2013 at the Franklin Paine Skatepark which is located near the Art Museum. After the contest, there will be grand prize winners picked from the totaling of each individual skater scores for the four stops in the Philly Cup Jam Series. Highest scores will be picked to receive further awards.

We wish all our local skateboarders good luck in the upcoming event. And, special thanks to the Department of Recreation of Philadelphia, Franklin Paine Skateboard Fund, Glacier Vitamin Water, and all the sponsors who help contribute to making these events possible.

Full results of the event are below.

2013 Philly Cup Results Whitehall Skatepark


Division/Age Score Placing
John Valentin 12 and under 193.5 1st
William Lawrow 12 and under 188 2nd
Aaron Shahaj 12 and under 166 3rd
Thomas Grazier 12 and under 145.5 4th
Joey Coustner 12 and under 118 5th
Jonathan Hillman 12 and under 108.5 6th
Antonio 12 and under 100 7th
Mark Klause 13-15 212 1st
Tyler Diettrich 13-15 203 2nd
Michael Klause 13-15 202.5 3rd
Maximo Gomez 13-15 197 4th
Adolfo Serrano 13-15 188.5 5th
Jeremiah Jenkins 13-15 188 6th
Ryan Maroney 13-15 184.5 7th
Henry Jefferson 13-15 167.5 8th
Nazzir Wayman 13-15 163 9th
Nathaniel Morrero 13-15 161 10th
Corey Rushing 13-15 159 11th
Karim Scott 13-15 136 12th
Will Mesina 13-15 130 13th
Louie Guadalupe 13-15 127 14th
William McCarthy 13-15 118 15th
DeVaughn 13-15 97 16th
Angelo Delzingaro 16-18 224 1st
JT Gerhart 16-18 221.5 2nd
Shakur Robinson 16-18 185 3rd
James Ward 16-18 181 4th
Damir Bishop 16-18 173.5 5th
David Reyes 16-18 169 6th
Joey Hanburg 16-18 164 7th
Ed Martin 16-18 161.5 8th
Musa Saleh 16-18 161 9th
Paris Summerville 16-18 161 9th
Jonathan Etienne 16-18 154 11th
Joshua Payson 16-18 150 12th
Jordan Westerfer 16-18 129 13th
Joe Uva Open 281 1st
Evan Breder Open 270 2nd
Dan Robbins Open 236 3rd
Tyrone Williams Open 226 4th
Mark Briedlingmaier Open 223 5th
Rodney Watkins Open 219 6th
Ray Burton Open 211 7th
Steven Open 187 8th
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Lights, Sound and Ukelele at Coffee House

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church held its annual Coffee House on Saturday August 24, 2013.  Local artists performed for the crowd, while the folks relaxed and  the children danced, played, and enjoyed the great talent.

Dave Jensen rocked the stage with his electric guitar and vocals, while his friend Kevin Clancey enticed the crowd with his drums.  Greg Gallagher and his band played some Christian rock that had the children dancing in the aisles.  Josh Aborno belted out the song “Courageous”.  Poetry by Roman was nicely executed.  Another performance, Merari and Becky a local Ukulele player performed classic rock and delighted the crowd with awesome music and wonderful vocals.

Not only did the talent rock, but this coffee house had wonderful baked goodies served by Nona and Pennie, and a 50/50 raffle assisted by Jenn Carter.

To top it all off, Pastor Elisa Renae Ashley “Pera”, had some words of faith for the attendants of this function that was a lovely ending to a exciting evening.

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