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Frankford El Marks Its 90th Anniversary

With no fanfare at all, the Frankford El turned 90 on November 5th. November 5, 1922 was the first full day of service on the El.  It connected the River Wards and Northeast Philadelphia to the Market Street subway and center city.  Prior to the El, you would have had a long and noisy ride on a trolley.

The coming of the El was welcomed by some and hated by others.  Now it is hard to imagine the Northeast without it.  It forever changed the face of Frankford.  You might enjoy reading a contemporary account of the first day from the Inquirer at this link.



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Frankford As Seen by Joe Menkevich

Joe Menkevich channels the ghosts of our past.  He is so steeped in historical research, that at times when you see him describe what he has discovered, it appears that he is actually watching the scene take place as it happened.  You can see him at this link Imagining Frankford.

The slide show below was compiled by Joe and it entirely his work.  My contribution was the titles at the bottom and I hope they are close to accurate.


Follow this link to hea

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Residents Find Their Home on the HSF Virtual Tour

Charles and Delores Smith attended the monthly Historical Society of Frankford meeting on October 9th not realizing that their house on Orthodox Street would be one of those featured on the program that evening.  The virtual tour of historic homes and sites in Frankford, conducted by Patricia Coyne, Secretary of the HSF, was a PowerPoint presentation of the booklet compiled by the HSF which was partially funded through a grant from the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.

This booklet takes you back to the grand old days of the Historical Society with a degree of research information that has not been previously been put into one place.  It will be an eye opener even for long time residents.  Credit should be given to Patricia Coyne, Debbie Klak, Susan Couvreur, Diane Sadler, Kristin Hagar and Richard Thomas for the hours they spent on the project.


The meeting wrapped up with light refreshments as usual.  There was some Revolutionary Cider produced right in Frankford at the Globe.

Coming Up at the Historical Society of Frankford:

Saturday, 27 October 2012 4:00pm
Join us at 4pm on October 27th for the second annual Haunted Tour of Frankford, sponsored by the Frankford CDC, as we walk from the Historical Society of Frankford and visit Frankford Friends Meeting School, St Mark’s Church, the GAR Museum and Library, and historic Frankford Avenue, the site of the W3R-PA movement of French and Continental troops under Washington and Rochambeau. South Jersey Ghost Research will be our “spirit guide” as we learn about this area’s haunted history. The tour is an hour and a half, with refreshments before and after, including locally brewed cider using a centuries-old recipe. Tickets are $6.00, and parking will be available at Frankford Friends Meeting, also on the 1500 block of Orthodox Street.
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 7:30pm
Allen M Hornblum
Author “Confessions of a Second Story Man –
Junior Kripplebauer and the K & A Gang”

Join the author of “Acres of Skin” as he shares the challenges of researching a story of national significance about human exploitation in the name of medical science at NE Philadelphia’s former Holmesburg Prison. A subject of the experiments will offer an insider’s look at the prison.
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 7:30pm
Holiday Tea
Learn about the 2012 NE Hall of Fame inductees, including Frank Shuman (Solar Power) and Leon Sullivan (OIC), and meet/greet former and current ones, including representatives from some of the area’s historic churches. This is our members’ traditional Holiday Tea, so bring desserts or tea sandwiches to share.
Refreshments served. Members free; Others $5.00
1507 Orthodox Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124


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Oakland Cemetery, Where the History Lies Beneath

Doctor David Hewett recently did a walking tour of Oakland Cemetery.  I could not attend but he posted some reflections of that tour on his blog here.  Dr. Hewitt, Botanist, from the Academy of Natural Science and walking with him outdoors is like taking a trip back in time.  I look at a tree and see a tall thing made of wood.  He looks at a tree and see history.

In between Friends Hospital and Greenwood Cemetery, just a bit off Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia, is Oakland Cemetery.  Friends Hospital, founded in 1813, is the oldest private psychiatric hospital in the US, and it also has a beautiful landscape – with its azaleas along the way down to Tacony Creek behind it, with its enormous American elm tucked away into a corner behind one of its buildings, and with the many other trees and flowers dotting and shading it throughout, it’s a surprising little refuge of calm and color in the city, as traffic along the Boulevard rushes by, just beyond the gates and fence of the hospital’s grounds.

You should read the rest of the story here.  It is well worth your time and you might want to take the next walking tour when it comes along.

Thanks for Mary Ellen Post for the tip.