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Frankford’s Million Dollar High School

Below is a photo taken of the then newly built Frankford High School from one of the many archived news articles at the Historical Society of Frankford.  I would wager the article is from 1916 since we know they began construction in 1915.  A fact I didn’t know was that the school was built as an annex to Central High School.


Below Is the trowel used for the laying of the cornerstone currently located at the HSofF.


The inscription reads:





But check out the note reading “trowel made by Henry Disston and Sons.”  The Disston Saw Works was a plant over to east by the Delaware River in Tacony.  In fact Henry Disston built the houses in Tacony for his workers pretty much all by himself. Check out this article from former Lincoln High School principle Dr Harry Silcox about Disston and the Tacony he built. I think it’s very telling that while Frankford was at it’s industrial zeneth, Henry Disston and Sons was still the choice to make the ceremonial trowel.  In fact, we at the Gazette hold him in such high esteem that we headed over the Hidden City exhibit over at his saw works a few months ago.

And who was this Franklin Smedley who was honored by laying the stone?  Well save his story for later.  Check out other posts in our series here.

[link] Historical Society of Frankford

The information in this post was compiled with the help of Debbie Klak, current member and former president of the Historical Society of Frankford.

HSF collects, preserves and presents the history of Northeast Philadelphia and the region. Recognizing the neighborhood of Frankford as the historic and geographic gateway to the region, HSF documents and interprets the history of the people, places, events and traditions of the greater Northeast Philadelphia area and serves as an advocate for the preservation of the region’s historic resources. Through its collections and programs HSF provides opportunities for its members, the surrounding community, and the general public to explore and appreciate the history of Northeast Philadelphia and its place in the world.

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We Took A Trip To Tacony For Hidden City’s Exhibit At The Disston Saw Works

Although Tacony doesn’t share any borders with Frankford, we’re covering Hidden City’s Exhibit over at the Disston Saw Works anyway.  It was definitely worth the trip.  Now I’m pissed I waited so long to check out one of the installations until the last weekend, cause I’d have liked to check out the others.  But it was really something getting into a working factory and seeing what industry really means.  While I was going to Drexel, I used to live in Tacony at Edmund and Longshore so I’ve known about the similarities between Tacony and Frankford for quite a while.  Both were titans of Philadelphia commerce and literally workshops of the world.  And while I’ve had the phenomenal opportunity to get into Frankford’s Globe Dye Works to document it’s resurection, Disston’s Saw Works is still churning out product as Disston Precision.

The Disston facility was big as balls, and there were two different buildings open for viewing, one was the machine shop, apparently where most of precision stuff is made, and other was the art installation.  John Phillips and Carolyn Healy really did a nice job.

Here’s Disston Precision:

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And here’s the exhibit:

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and of course, rafters.

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