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Former North Catholic building continues transformation into Marianna Bracetti Academy

The new home of Marianna Bracetti Academy Charter School continues to take shape in anticipation of it’s opening in Fall of 2013.  The building is the former Northeast Catholic High School for Boys, once the largest boys school in the world.

The charter school is currently occupying an old trolley shed at Kensington Ave and Cumberland St.  The school is contracted by the city to educate 1,155 students.

Looking into the building, it looks like they ripped down all of the old walls and were putting up new ones.

I ride by the building every day and am amazed at what I think looks like an air conditioning unit on the roof.



It looks like something NASA would try to launch into space.

They’ve removed the bridge between the school and the former rectory building, which was sold to separate developers to be turned into senior housing.



Additionally, the rectory has ivy growing up it’s walls, I think it looks good, I’d love to see them keep it.



At one point, the football field out back looked like it was growing wheat, but it appears to have been mowed.

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Ghosts of Northeast Catholic High School for Boys

Joe Menkevich

From Joe Menkevich

Northeast Catholic High School Crew Team & The Ghost

The older one becomes, the more things one will witness  – strange mysterious beautiful unexplainable wonderful things.

For many years I thought to take a few pictures of some of the facades & windows of buildings along Frankford Avenue. Today I have.

This is the second floor of what was once a dining room inside Horn & Hardart Restaurant. (near Margaret Street)

Old Horn and Hardart second floor window

The reflections upon the window glass brought back the memories of rattling dishes and the smell of the food – the pies and the coffee and the pies!   I remember taking the EL from North Catholic and waiting for my brother to finish his shift as a bus-boy.   A loud crash from the dropping of a whole load of dishes – and there was my brother standing there frozen like a statue with one dish left in his hand.

The old waitresses began gathering around scolding – trying to make him feel guilt & embarrassment. There he stood with that one last dish.

He shrugged his shoulders and threw it into the broken pile, took off his apron and said:  “Now all of you can clean it up – I quit! Are you happy now?”

Some say the Spirit of North Catholic will never die.

It was in building next to Roxy’s Army & Navy Store. [4500 block of Frankford Avenue: ]   Memories of wet t-shirts, the smell of sweat, the working out, & the camaraderie inside while looking at the dyslexic writing on a window: WERC CN

As an alumni of Northeast Catholic High, I knew where the Crew Team used to work out in the late 1960’s. I know because I was there.

But after I took the photo, it appeared as if a strange face was looking back at me.   Is it the face of a young man?   I had to take a closer look.

Some say “the Spirit of North Catholic will never die.”

Take a look and decide – is it just a smudge or something more?

Perhaps it’s just an illusion – perhaps it’s something more.   The strange silhouette reflected on the glass serves to prove – ghosts, spirits & memories will never die as long as we keep them alive.

© 2011 – Joseph J. Menkevich all rights reserved.

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Film Shoot at North Catholic

We just happened to be passing by North on the way down to Aramingo Avenue tonight at about 730.  Noticed all the lights in the building were on which has not been happening lately, so we went around back.  Film equipment and lots of folks coming and going.  That Frankford film office must be pretty busy this year.