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I-95 Reconstruction Project Public Open House Meeting

PennDOT invites you to attend a Public Open House Meeting for the Interstate 95 Improvement Project from the Betsy Ross Bridge to Levick Street (near the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge) in Philadelphia. This project includes the rebuilding and widening of I-95, and improvements to ramps and connecting local streets. The purpose of this meeting is to present revised design plans and obtain feedback on proposed plans and design concepts. Important design changes have been made in response to public input in 2013.

The meeting will be held November 12, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at St. John Cantius Church gymnasium, located at 4415 Almond Street (parking is available in church lot on Almond Street). The Public Open House will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a brief presentation at 6:30 p.m. This will be followed by a brief Question & Answer Session and a Public Open House Plans Display with comment and feedback stations, project maps, and informational boards. The plans display will also include information on the project’s Section 4(f) uses to the public parks within the project area.

The facility is accessible by SEPTA Routes 25, J, or 73 and is also accessible for persons with disabilities. If you require special accommodations or additional information, please contact Don Gusic, at (610) 263-2627 or visit

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Dreams of Flight

My name is Bruce Beaton and I am the third in line with that name. My son, also Bruce is the fourth. My grandparents were Wallace and Linda Beaton.  They had two daughters, Mildred and Linda and two sons, Ralph and Bruce. My father was W. Bruce Beaton and my mother was Hester M. Pritchard Beaton.

I grew up at 2789 Pratt Street in Bridesburg. My story actually took place in Bridesburg, but I have ties to Frankford. My wife’s name is Jean. We have three children, and all went to Frankford High School. For some time, I was active in Simpson A.A up on Arrott Street and I was also President of the Frankford High School Alumni Association

This is a story of a memory of mine. I was not yet born when this incident took place, but I have a vivid memory of a tale about my Grandfather, Wallace Beaton, told to me by my parents that circulated in our family for as long as I can remember.

My grandparents Wallace and Linda Beaton, and son Bruce (my dad) lived at 2767 Pratt Street in Bridesburg. During Frankford Home Week, granddad built a small toy plane for my father Bruce when he was about three years old. It was a good model of a monoplane. It stood about three feet high and had a six-foot wingspan from tip to tip. The frame and body of the monoplane was mounted on wheels and the seat for the “airman” was similar to that in the in the real monoplanes used by the French and English armies. There was a propeller in the front and a steering wheel from which the wings could be controlled. Wire braces held the wings in position and the plane had other features embraced in real aircraft. The only thing lacking was a motor to set the propeller in motion. The monoplane with my father in it won first prize as a novelty in the Baby Parade.

Young Bruce played in the streets with his plane which was very popular with the neighborhood kids. He eventually tired of his street flights so it went into storage in the Beaton home. Bruce’s play mates constantly badgered him to bring out the plane so they could play “air war” with imagined enemies.

The time period was during World War 1. Now granddad was an instrument maker employed at the Frankford Arsenal. After his experience building the toy monoplane, he had a plan to construct an air craft that could successfully defend the city against Zeppelins in the case of war given the present crises with Germany. He felt that in case of necessity he could build large planes and that many employees at the Arsenal could probably do the same if the craft were needed to guard the city. If such a necessity arose, an airplane shop could be erected in the Arsenal.

As an example, Granddad built a full scale plane most likely in the Arsenal and they issued him a 45 pistol so he could go up and shoot down the German Zeppelin attack.

Notice the bicycle wheels and large propeller. The wings were constructed of bamboo with a strong fabric covering. None of the family remembers what kind of engine he used. His plane stands here on Melrose Street. Frankford Arsenal is in the background.

So, here is the wildest part of my story. My granddad actually did build that full-size one-man airplane. His plane is shown in the picture. I am not sure where he built the plane, we guess the Arsenal, but the picture we have is on what was then Melrose Street with the arsenal in the background.

AS for the flight, at Harbison Avenue and Bridge Street prior to SKF factory being built, there was an open field. That is where granddad would take off and fly his plane.  This field was next to the rail lines running from Washington   to New York ( It is now where the ShopRite is located).

For some unknown reason granddad got the bright idea that he would race a train to New York.  He sat in the cockpit with engine revving just waiting. Well the train was coming and so he took off. We were told he  went up and flew about 50 feet above ground so he could race the train.  We do not know how far he went but he never made it.  Why we do not know, and the plane came down and crashed.

That is when my grandmother told him it was either the plane or her.   He chose her over the plane.  That was the story our family was always told.

The family still has the home on Pratt Street in which daughter Linda still lives today.

This story was read at the Historical Society of Frankford by Fred Prescott on October 6th at the Second Annual Conference for Archival Researchers and Friends


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Veteran of the Month – Larry D. Fowler

Larry Fowler was born in Philadelphia in 1955 and graduated from John Bartram High School in 1972. He enjoyed gymnastics and track in high school, but he wanted to be a marine and so enlisted in the United State Marine Corps shortly after graduation. After basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he served in Vietnam and was honorably discharged in 1974.

He attended the Community College of Philadelphia and has mainly worked in community and social services.

Larry lives with his loving wife Rhodie on Fillmore Street in Northwood. Together they have three grown sons and one beautiful granddaughter. He has been active in the Lutheran Church and at present is a member of the Northeast Liberty Lutheran Church in Frankford which is a small growing congregation.

Larry sees his life as one of service to God, country and community. At present, he serves with Point Man International Ministries which is an organization serving veteran’s spiritual and earthly needs.

Larry is very modest about his achievements, but he says “It all comes from almighty God. I chose him. I have always been a soldier, but now I serve in the army of the Lord.

Larry D. Fowler, thank you for your service.

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An Experience Like No other


We all seem to expect the common. We seem so positioned that nothing can surprise us. We have become so complacent that nothing astounds us. I held this view until the evening of Friday, September 27th, 2019.

The 50th reunion of the Frankford High Class of 1969 school kids took place in Warminister, Pennsylvania on that date.

My Frankford High School years.  How could I forget? Teachers’ have seen the look of a child face when he realizes the answer to a problem.  That child’s face was our own that evening. We were all baffled by the speed of life.  Indeed we hurdled that bar.

One reaction was, “Dear Lord, we are getting old.” Another would be, “It may be better TO call OUR LIVES a success and move to Florida.” A further thought would be to retire that eager beaver desire to become a “success”. We all wanted to “do well”. We all dreamed of going back to the old neighborhood,
straighten our three piece Italian suit, perfecting that knot in the tie and proudly announcing to mom and dad, “look at me I am a success”

That great post war effort no longer seems relevant. The ambition to “make it” seems as out of date as a 1969 Oldsmobile. We have realized that meaningful success is not measured on how well we have achieved financially or how well we have acquired materially but how much we gave. True assets are the spiritual ones of generosity, compassion, sharing and kindness. These are the contributions we will
pass on to future generations.

Our “alumni kids” told me of their compassion. Some started a foundation for disabled children, for the homeless, for disabled veterans. They have started scholarships for the less advantaged. They have become teachers, doctors lawyers and motivational speakers. Students who were athletic became coaches and yes, health teachers.  They contributed their time in fostering student growth and assisted in promoting healthy relationships.

Reuniting with this 1969 crew was a blessing. I knew these kids when they were shopping for Clearasil. Today we look for soap which promises a more youth appearance. Yes, we have all aged, but we have gotten better. Those juvenile hang ups of putting someone down in order to feel better about ourselves seems something out of an “I Love Lucy” script. Reminiscing with this squad I could not help hearing Hy Lit or Joe Niagria announcing a new release. Who turned on the frequency for Wibbage? Friday’s night game could have reviled “The Dating Game”, “The Newlyweed Game”or “Supermarket Sweep”. We should call it “ The Alumni Game.

The object was to remember someone face and name without glancing at their 1969 graduation photograph. It was also not to react to their seasoned appearance. Congenial responses were as follows:
“Oh yes, I remember you. You were on the Frankford Highway” “ Oh you were dating so and so
Have you heard from so and so recently?” “ I remember you from Edmunds. What did you think of our teachers?” “Oh yes, you were on the ping pong team. No, I played varsity football! You fool!
“Oh yes, sorry Yes, I recall you made that winning touchdown at the Thanksgiving Game against North Catholic. Weren’t you the player who got confused, went in the wrong direction and scored the winning point for North Catholic?” “Oh sure, I remember you. Didn’t you belong to a club called “Ye Spooks”.
“Absolutely no! I would never belong to a club with that kind of name! If you ever repeat something thing like that I will sue!

Some things should never be brought up. Some topics should be left in “The Land of the Forgotten”
The kids should of had a weekend retreat with free beer. Who has the medical Marijuana card? Their was too much to catch up on! We could not recall 50 years of life in four hours!

I wondered about the others who did not attend. Those with the poor grades. Those who felt they did not achieve in their careers. Those who could not get along with people. The loners who felt the world was against them. Those who felt too important to attend. Those who felt a reunion was not important
and wanted to keep that part of their lives compartmentalized.

I have heard Frankford High is not the school it used to be. Nothing ever is! We see inner city hopelessness, high crime, and crumbling neighborhoods. Low expectations seem to be the norm.
Their used to be a large display cabinet in the Frankford Hallway. I recall this was next to the auditorium. It showcased photographs of those Frankford students who were accepted to university. This was their first stop on their way to the Rainbow Land called “The American Dream”.

That cabinet has now been downsized to one the size of a suitcase. Too many of today’s Frankfordites are not meeting their potential. Too many teachers’ cannot relate their educational material into
practical everyday needs. But I am confident that a new and dynamic educational curriculum will be forged!

Our class has had a remarkable run. We had many challenges that, at the time, seemed insurmountable. We had the unpopular Vietnam War, political corruption, bad economy, racism, sexism, family breakdown,  political assassination, and general political disillusionment and America’s role in the world. But we did succeed! Not individually. but collectively!

Students need hands on, real world educational experience which utilize their talents and interests. This energy must be channeled into the actual needs of our occupational workplace!
“Students are wise, they can detect a teacher who does not care! I am confident that future Frankford High graduates will return to the old neighborhood wearing their three piece Italian suit, fix that knot in their tie, and at the door of their childhood home, proudly announce. “Look at me mom and dad. I am a success!”

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A great community is always within reach

My brother Seán was the last of the Rowley Family on Herbert Street. He sold the house back in about 2005.  When the Rowley Family lived there it was an Irish house through and through. It was a sea of green featuring shamrocks, leprechauns, and St Brigid’s Crosses. My Ma even talked funny like one of the Irish in the movies.

We had family come over from Ireland from time to time and they had very fond memories of their time visiting on Herbert Street.  It was a great house with awesome memories.

One family member, Regina, was visiting just 2 years ago from Ireland and wanted to take a visit down to the old neighborhood. As we were making our way up and down the streets of Northwood, we noticed that one of the main differences was the absences of the trees on the streets. Many trees had died off or been removed. You don’t realize what type of character trees add to a neighborhood until they are no longer there.

Anyhow, we went up and down Herbert Street a couple times rubbernecking out the windows with each pass. We were noting what had changed and what had stayed the same.

On the last pass down Herbert Street – out of “my” front door pops a woman with a smile on her face. She asks “can I help you. It’s like the 5th time you passed by the house and you seemed to slow with each pass of my house.”

Regina, spouts from the car, “no – it’s his house”. Now I had to pull over and explain.

I believe her name was Ms. Gwyn.  As I walked towards the house, I explained my history with the house. She invited us in for a visit.

The house was no longer Irish. There was a new history to the house one that was brilliantly African. The walls were colored with new patterns, shapes, and colors. Celtic images were replaced with those from another continent. Walking through the house you could see the pride of a family and the new character and stories that would forever be imprinted within those walls.

She let us have free reign of the house. I explained to her the events and the stories unique to each room. Ms. Gwyn seems curious about the Rowley family’s love for Caribbean Beach wallpaper murals that was one or two layers thick in the master bedroom. I told her that was not part of any “Irish” culture you’d find on Google. Just a crazy Rowley thing. As I shared each excited utterance of happy memories, she had a similar story to share.

When I left Herbert Street that day, I felt a good family had continued a tradition between those walls that included love and laughter. This seemed to be just the type of family that made Northwood such a great place to live the years I was there.

One of my fondest memories at St. Joachim with Cardinal Krol and Father Silvestri at the consecration of the new church.

Keep on loving and caring for the neighborhood and a great community is always within reach.