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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.

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Historical Society of Frankford Does Frank Furness War Hero

E. Wayne Dovan, Dennis Boylan and Dr. Andy Waskie

I learned more about Frank Furness than I expected at the monthly Historical Society of Frankford meeting on September 11th.  Frankford has one of the surviving structures designed by Furness (the mortuary chapel at Mt. Sinai Cemetery at 1901 Bridge Street) but this program was about his little known history of participation in the Civil war.  He was a Medal of Honor recipient for bravery in battle.

The story was told by three experts: Dr. Andy Waskie (GAR museum and Library on Griscom Street), E. Wayne Dovan, (Chaplin, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #1506) and Dennis Boylan, (First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry).  The Society has mounted a special exhibit devoted to Furness which includes photos, prints and drawings of his work.

Coming up on September 23rd at the historical society will be something new.  A virtual tour of the historic homes and sites of Frankford which has been under development for some time.  We have, here in this community, a wealth of material and the society has selected the highlights.  This will be a virtual tour, no walking required.  On September 23rd at 2PM at the society at 1507 Orthodox Street.


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Tidbit: Philly History Blog profiles Frankford Creek sewerization

Ken Finkel over on the Philly History Blog gives a profile of the Frankford Creek and the reasons why it was converted into a channel in the early 20th century.  He also points out the remains of Tremont Mills at the corner of Wingohocking and Adams.  We did a before and after of this interesting building in 2009.

Interestingly, he points out a photo with a wide view of the Creek taken in 1912 that is claimed to be at the corner of Dungan and Lycoming streets.

This looks to me to be on Wingohocking near Castor looking down.  I’d love for someone to weigh in here.