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A study commissioned by the owners of Greenwood Cemetery and the Philadelphia Historical Commission into the purported residence of Benjamin Rush has found the house was built between 1830 and 1850, precluding the possibility that the Signer of the Declaration of Independence could have spent any time inside it since he died in 1813.   It would have been a nice feather in the area’s cap if it had been Rush’s house since he was a player in the country’s founding and it would have led to more speculation as to what other founding fathers may have visited or even stayed in the house.

It’s still an old house though and the press release indicates that these findings clear the way for the structure’s restoration back into it’s correct historical context, i.e. a house from the middle 1800s.  It also coincides with the re internment of some 3000 graves currently being moved from the back of the cemetery to the front so that Cancer Centers Of America may build a parking lot and possibly buildings on land adjacent to their center.

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Knights of Pythias Greenwood Cemetery/Benjamin Rush House


The Northeast Times reports on the meeting about the future of the Benjamin Rush house:

About a dozen community stakeholders offered cemetery officials their thoughts on what the future should look like for the Knights of Pythias Greenwood Cemetery/Benjamin Rush house rehabilitation project last week in a conference room at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

In 2005, CTCA moved into the old Parkview Hospital campus, adjacent to the 44-acre cemetery, at 930 Adams Ave., in Northwood.

Greenwood Holdings, a company affiliated with the hospital, and minority shareholder Friends of Greenwood acquired the cemetery and its historic yet ramshackle buildings last year.

That includes the circa 1782 Benjamin Rush House, where Doctor and Mrs. Rush are said to have served tea to George Washington and Annis Boudinot Stockton (who lived at Morven in Princeton).

Greenwood Holdings, working with consulting engineers and preservation architects, plan to restore the house, which was used as the cemetery office for many years, and transform it into the centerpiece for the cemetery.

Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries author Tom Keels, who also guides tours through Laurel Hill Cemetery in East Falls, acted as a facilitator for the meeting, holding off answering questions from attendees, instead asking for their “out-of-the-box” ideas.

Joe Menkevich, former Northwood Civic Association president and amateur historian, suggested that CTCA, which has several hospitals located across the country, might consider naming this particular location the Benjamin Rush campus, noting that Rush himself worked on a treatment for cancer during his lifetime.

Read the entire story here.

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Coming Up in Frankford

  • ‘Living Healthier’ fair in Frankford
    When-Fri, July 31, 10am – 11am
    Where-St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Ave. (map)
    Description-Rep. Tony Payton to host free ‘Living Healthier’ fair in Frankford Please mark your calendars for Friday, July 31, when I host my first “Living Healthier” fair with Greater Philadelphia Health Action to help people learn some simple but effective ways they can lead a healthier lifestyle. The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, July 31 at St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Ave. It will feature a variety of local community health-care providers, free on-site examinations, and information to help adults and children live healthier lives. Refreshments and entertainment will be provided. People of all ages are welcome to attend. If you would like more information about this event or any other state-related issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.
  • Grand Army of the Republic Museum Open House
    When-Sun, August 2, 12pm – 5pm
    Where-4278 Griscom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
    Description-From Ft Sumter to Appomattox: General Samuel W. Crawford Presented by Mr. Rich Wagner
  • Community discussion on the potential use of the historic Benjamin Rush house
    When-Mon, August 3, 6pm – 8pm
    Where-Medical Office Building at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in the third floor conference room (map)
    Description-Knights of Pythias Greenwood Cemetery will host a community discussion on the potential use of the historic house. As you know, the house has been inhabitable for many years however; under new ownership the cemetery has plans to renovate and restore the house. Please see for the full details. The guest facilitator will be Ann Barton Brown. Ms. Brown brings a wealth of knowledge, including thirty-five years experience as a curator, collections manager, strategic planner and fundraiser for museums and non profit arts and community organizations. With your input we hope to determine the most effective use of the house, not only for the cemetery but for the community as well. Therefore, your participation is greatly appreciated. The meeting will be held in the Medical Office Building at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in the third floor conference room on August 3rd from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. If you have any questions please call 215-533-2967.
  • Kick off rally for National Night Out
    When-Mon, August 3, 6pm – 8pm
    Where-Wal*Mart Parking Lot – 1601 South Columbus Blvd. (map)
    Description-Philadelphia’s Night Out Kick off rally for National Night Out Monday August 3rd, 2009\ Please join us in honoring Philadelphia’s Town Watch groups Wal*Mart Parking Lot – 1601 South Columbus Blvd. Fun for the whole family – music, refreshments, prizes You don’t want to miss this great event Don’t forget to turn on your lights and turn off crime on August 4th
  • National Night Out
    When-Tue, August 4, 8pm – Wed, August 5, 12am
    Description-Don’t forget to turn on your lights and turn off crime on August 4th
  • Frankford Civic Association Meeting
    When-Thu, August 6, 7pm – 8pm
    Where-Frankford Hospital – 2nd floor conference room (map)
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Greenwood Cemetery

greewoodfrontrushhouseTom Waring of the Northeast Times reports this week on the pending move of approximately 2000 burials in Greenwood Cemetery to an unused section to make way for expansion of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital on Wyoming Avenue.

Now that the City Planning Commission, City Council and Orphans Court have given their approval, a company affiliated with Cancer Treatment Centers of America will soon begin the delicate process of moving more than 2,000 graves in a decaying section of the Knights of Pythias Greenwood Cemetery to a more fitting location.

Last week, a multi-denominational prayer service took place at the cemetery, where the ground was blessed in anticipation of the upcoming project.

On hand for the ceremony were three CTCA chaplains – the Revs. Luis Centeno, Robin Childs and Wendell Scanterbury – along with Imam Fathy and the Rev. John Large, of Mater Dolorosa.

Preparation work is underway, and the costly task of moving the graves will begin in a few weeks. The process will last six to nine months.

Included in this deal will be an effort to stabilize and preserve the Benjamin Rush house.  There does not appear to be any funding for more than that but it is better than the ongoing deterioration that we see today.