Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Neighborhood Project: Frankford History

This research took me about 45 minutes to collect from online sources alone. It
covers the founding of Frankford and the origin of the neighborhood's name, early
history, a survey of what ethnic groups inhabited the area, transportation, early
churches, a historic house, the world famous Frankford Arsenal--describing a key
industry, the YWCA, the evolution of water sources in the area and its problems,
health care, the arts, sports, technology, and even contact information for the
Historical Society of Frankford. This would be a wealth of information to assemble
for a Neighborhood Project.

Area History: Chapter 2 - Part III Vol II - Watson's Annals of PENNSYLVANIA
There has been an opinion prevalent about Frankford village, that it derives its name from "Frank", a black fellow, and his "ford", where he kept a ferry for passengers on foot; but, besides its looking too artificial to be true, there are obvious reasons against that cause of its name. Called Frankford creek in Holmes' map, in 1682.
I see it as early as 1701, referred to in a public petition concerning a road under the name of Frankford besides, it lies on the creek, the Indian Wingohocking, from the "Frankford Company's land" in Germantown. It was their proper water passage to the river. Jonathan Dickinson in 1715, writing respecting Fairman's land at "Frankford creek" says, "a ford there will be very needful, and very expensive, as the winds drive the water from the Delaware over much marshy land". [Thomas Fairman had been a surveyor, who dwelt at the Treaty tree. For two hundred and twenty acres he offers £400. It falls short in the survey thirty-seven acres, thus showing how vaguely it was first done. He says it cannot be surveyed on the marsh [now all converted into productive meadows, &c.] till the winter, so as to go over it on the ice. He states that one hundred loads of timber were cut off it, since it was untenanted in the last winter, by moonlight night. Thus there were great depredators then! They probably cut it for staves and ship timber. In the year 1814, Christopher Kuhn, at Frankford, in digging a cellar foundation for a small store house on Kinsey and Hilles' present tanyard, came to a pot of old coin, hid perhaps by pirates. This tanyard, on the Frankford creek, was close to the bank where it is high; and at three feet depth, he came to an earthen vessel highly glazed, which held about half a pint, and contained one hundred pieces of various sizes and shapes of silver coin. None of it was left to be shown to me; the whole having been sold soon after to the silversmiths as old silver! On questioning him as to their character, he stated that there were many cut pieces of the size which would remain in cutting quarters and halves of dollars into sections of four pieces each. He observed dates to some as much as three hundred years old. One piece was as large as a crown, and was square. Two pieces had a tree on one side, and were marked Massachusetts; such a coin I have myself of the year 1652. On the whole the vessel contained quite a treasure for a collector, and yet none were saved. The aged Giles Gillingham, who died at Frankford in 1825, at the age of 93 years, said that when he was a boy, it was quite common with him to play with Indian boys in the neighbourhood. Frankford then had but very few houses, and was often called Oxford, after the name of its township. About the time of Braddock's defeat, there came an Indian from a distance, blowing a horn as he entered the Indians' place; they soon went off with him, and were no more seen near the place. The Frankford mill, now possessed by Mr. Duffield, was originally used as a mill by the Swedes before Penn landed. The earliest house in the place, now T.W. Duffield's, near the same mill, was deeded to Yeamans Gillingham by Penn's commissioners in 1696. The "Swedes' mill" was probably a saw mill, as wind mills were first used for grist. Arial;">

Situated on the Tacony, since called Frankford Creek, in the lower part of the
township of Oxford. The name of the village was very likely derived from the title of the Franckfort Company, which took up ground there. This village was incorporated into a borough by act of March 2, 1800. By act of April 4, 1831, the boundaries of the borough were extended.

Frankford is a neighborhood in Philadelphia, situated about 6 miles northeast of Center City.

Founded in the mid- to late 1600s by German settlers, the name of the village was very likely derived from the title of the Franckfort Company, which took up ground there, along what is now known as Frankford Creek. It was an early suburb of the town of Philadelphia. William Penn forged a trail through the village that would run from Center City up to New York City, passing through Bucks County, the location of his governor's mansion, Pennsbury Manor. That trail would come to be known as "Frankford Pike" (later Frankford Avenue) and was the town's main street. The village was incorporated into a borough in 1800 and in 1854, the village was included in the boundaries of the city of Philadelphia.

Today, Frankford is primarily a residential neighborhood. Philadelphia's public transportation company, SEPTA, has one of its main bus depots there and the Frankford Transportation Center is the neighborhood's mass transit hub. SEPTA's elevated train, the Market-Frankford Line (the "El"), also runs through the neighborhood, offering train service to Center City and West Philadelphia.

Although its borders are disputed, the neighborhood runs from Frankford Creek to the Roosevelt Boulevard, to Cheltenham Avenue, to the Delaware River, to the banks of the old Frankford Creek to the present-day Frankford Creek. Adjacent neighborhoods include Bridesburg, Juniata, Oxford Circle, Mayfair, and Wissinoming.

Although it was originally founded by German settlers, the neighborhood today includes a wide variety of peoples, including a large number of Italians, Polish, Irish, African Americans and Hispanics.

One of Philadelphia's earliest Catholic Churches, Saint Joachim's, was built here in 1845.,_Philadelphia

Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church

Immanuel was founded on April 4, 1792, at which time, according to a Philadelphia County Deed still on file in City Hall, Joseph J. Miller, a Philadelphia merchant, and his wife Elizabeth transferred 96 perches of land in Frankford, Oxford Township (later to become part of the city of Philadelphia) to a group of German farmers "for and in consideration of promoting purity and Christian religion and of the sum of five shillings lawful a site for a house of religious worship and a schoolhouse for the use of the German Lutheran Congregation of the township of Oxford..."

The Historic Greenwood House

Nomination to the


Frankford Arsenal Reloading Tools

There aren't many veteran reloaders who are not familiar with the famous initials "FA" on military 30/06 brass and for good reason. The original Frankford Arsenal Army Ammunition Plant was constructed between 1816 and1830 on Frankford Creek, which flows into the Delaware River in Philadelphia. In addition to massive small arms ammunition production, Frankford Arsenal was responsible for almost all of the research and development and manufacture of U.S. Army field reloading equipment for the 45/70, 50/70, 30/40 Krag and 30/06, beginning in the 1880's. Their designs were excellent and the workmanship was always beyond question.

YWCA OF PHILADELPHIA--FRANKFORD BRANCH is a membership organization which served the lower Northeast section of Philadelphia from 1920-1994. The organization was one of numerous branches that comprised the YWCA of Philadelphia since its beginnings in 1870.

The Tacony-Frankford Watershed
Historical Timeline

Part 1
Frankford Creek

Part 2
Sewers and Sewage Treatment!!!TFTimeline.html

In the late nineteenth century, a wave of Jewish immigrants fled eastern Europe and settled in northeastern Philadelphia along the Delaware River in Kensington and its surrounding neighborhoods. Separate from the German Jewish community of Philadelphia, the new immigrants created new Jewish settlements that eventually gave way to permanent residences and businesses along Frankford Avenue, Kensington Avenue, Richmond Street, Front Street, Torresdale Avenue, and beyond. Synagogues, bakeries, delicatessens, kosher butchers, and other Jewish establishments flourished for several decades until the area began to decline in the 1960s as a result of the postindustrial era. The Jewish Community under the Frankford El celebrates the history of this Jewish community and the contributions Jews made, as merchants and citizens, to this highly integrated section of Philadelphia.

Frankford's Early Beginnings...
The story of Frankford Hospitals began in 1902, when a resident of the Frankford section of Philadelphia contracted typhoid fever. The patient's physician, Dr. Joseph Ball, couldn’t find a single hospital in the city to admit his seriously ill patient. Not one of the downtown hospitals had an available bed.

Lion Theater was formed as Lion Productions in autumn 1998 with the intention of bringing live theater to Philadelphia's Frankford section. The founding members of Lion Theater, led by Gary Ross, realized that for decades, there had been no venues providing exposure to dramatic arts in the urban areas of Frankford, Kensington and Harrowgate.

Historical Society of Frankford

Other Information

Open by appointment

Related Photo Galleries

With its growing collection of photographs, oral histories and family documents, this society documents the history of Northeast Philadelphia and the community known as Frankford. The society works closely with local schools and organizations.


1507 Orthodox Street
Philadelphia, PA 19124

(215) 743-6030

The Historical Society of Frankford, founded in 1905 to collect, preserve and present the history of Frankford and Northeast Philadelphia, will open it's doors to visitors during the Festival. The Society, recently featured on the national PBS show Find! and in local press reports, has an extraordinary collection of documents and artifacts from the 17th century through the 21st century that trace the history of this important area of Philadelphia. Frankford is one of the oldest communities in Pennsylvania and the site of a number of significant events in our nation's history.

A long time Society board member, Diane Sadler, will take people on an architectural walking tour of the neighborhood highlighting some of the prominent homes, historic sites and unique architecture. Visit the Society at 1507 Orthodox Street on Saturday 10/1 and Sunday 10/2 between the hours of Noon to 4:00 p.m. A 15 minute video, which briefly describes Frankford's history and highlights of the society's extraordinary museum and library collections will be shown throughout the day.

Philadelphia Eagles, professional football team and one of five teams in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The Eagles play at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and wear uniforms of green, silver, black, and white. The team began play in 1924 as the Frankford (Pennsylvania) Yellow Jackets. Owners Bert Bell and Lud Wray moved the team to Philadelphia in 1933 and changed its name to the Eagles after the symbol of the National Recovery Administration, which had been created as part of the New Deal.

Welcome to the home of The Frankford Yellow Jackets. The Jackets are one of the original National Football League teams to join in the early 1920's. Originating out of the Frankford section of Philadelphia at the end of the 19th century, the team joined the NFL in 1924 and went on to win the World Championship in 1926. The team become one of the most respected teams in the NFL and was known worldwide. Disbanded in 1931 the team has not fielded since it's last game December 5th, 1931.

OUR ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE As Seen From The Frankford EL c. 1924

The Frankford Radio Club originated in the Frankford High School, in Philadelphia, around 1927. This document details its history at length. This presentation is divided into segments for your reading pleasure. We certainly hope you enjoy the story.

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