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View our bookstore for a list of book recommendations by our speakers this season!

The Suburban Development of Lansdowne at the Turn of the Century

September 19, 2023, 6 — 7:30 PM

Lansdowne Borough is an early commuter suburb that developed in the late 19th– early 20th Centuries as a result of the railroad’s expansion through the area. Several subdivisions, including two National Register districts and one of the earliest themed neighborhoods, were developed in this time period. The borough retains an amazing number of historic buildings- over

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Lansdowne Borough is an early commuter suburb that developed in the late 19th– early 20th Centuries as a result of the railroad’s expansion through the area. Several subdivisions, including two National Register districts and one of the earliest themed neighborhoods, were developed in this time period. The borough retains an amazing number of historic buildings- over 1800 are identified in the Historic Resource Survey for a borough of only 1.2 square miles, most of them in historic districts. This talk will feature four of the early subdivisions and the changes the central business district has undergone as a result of the residential development in the borough.

Kate Clifford is a resident of Lansdowne Borough, a member of the Lansdowne Historic & Architectural Review Board and a senior planner for Delaware County. She is a volunteer tour guide with the Preservation Alliance and has developed neighborhood walking tours of Upper Darby and Haverford Townships. She loves to promote Delaware County history and showcase its significance in the region.

The Baldwin Park Neighborhood

September 26, 2023, 6 — 7:30 PM

The Baldwin Park neighborhood is the area within two blocks of Matthias Baldwin Park, located at 423 North 19th Street. This talk will trace the history of the neighborhood from the Lenni Lenape; to the country estates of William Penn and Andrew Hamilton; to how steam, coal, iron, and railroads allowed the industrialists including Matthias

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The Baldwin Park neighborhood is the area within two blocks of Matthias Baldwin Park, located at 423 North 19th Street. This talk will trace the history of the neighborhood from the Lenni Lenape; to the country estates of William Penn and Andrew Hamilton; to how steam, coal, iron, and railroads allowed the industrialists including Matthias Baldwin, William Sellers, William Bement, and Asa Whitney to occupy a site away from rivers; to deindustrialization; and to attempts at urban renewal including the Franklin Town project. The talk will feature the nine buildings in the neighborhood listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. Linear axes (the Callowhill Cut, the Ben Franklin Parkway, and the Vine Street Expressway) that established then modified the neighborhood will be examined. And you will learn why this neighborhood is the most French neighborhood in the most French city in the United States!

Joe Walsh is retired from the medical field and likes to make connections in time and place to what he sees out his front door in the Baldwin Park neighborhood.

Unheeded & Lone: The Byberry Township African American Burial Ground

October 3, 2023, 6 — 7:30 PM

There is an unmarked and overgrown African American burial ground located in Byberry Township in northeast Philadelphia. Originally, the name of this site was The Burying Place For All Free Negroes or People of Color within Byberry. The name has since been changed to The Byberry Township African American Burial Ground. This presentation will discuss

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There is an unmarked and overgrown African American burial ground located in Byberry Township in northeast Philadelphia. Originally, the name of this site was The Burying Place For All Free Negroes or People of Color within Byberry. The name has since been changed to The Byberry Township African American Burial Ground. This presentation will discuss the first phase of a project to memorialize the 200+ year old burial site. Over the course of a year, The Society to Preserve Philadelphia African American Assets (SPPAAA) and The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia (PAGP) have partnered to develop an interpretive plan to honor those interred at this unmarked site. This project was funded by a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Henry A. Jordan Preservation Excellence Fund. 

Hannah Wallace served as the consultant for PAGP and SPPAAA to complete the first phase of the Byberry Township African American Burial Ground memorialization project. Through this role, she met and joined the nearby staff of Byberry Friends Meeting as the Community Engagement Coordinator. Separately, she serves as the Manager of Creative Youth Development with the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. 

Mary Ellen McNish is a member and Trustee of Byberry Friends Quaker Meeting. She previously served as president and CEO of The Hunger Project in New York from 2010 to 2015 as well as the General Secretary and CEO of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) from 2000 to 2010.

The Powelton Village Historic District

October 10, 2023, 6 — 7:30 PM

The Powelton Village Historic District, comprised of over 900 properties, was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in November 2022.  District nominations are not meant to be comprehensive neighborhood histories, and yet much social history must be understood to make sense of the development history, and vice versa.  This talk will look mainly

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The Powelton Village Historic District, comprised of over 900 properties, was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in November 2022.  District nominations are not meant to be comprehensive neighborhood histories, and yet much social history must be understood to make sense of the development history, and vice versa.  This talk will look mainly at some of the early history of Powelton Village, and at the development forces that created the nineteenth-century neighborhood that we treasure today.  We’ll also briefly discuss the process of nominating and gaining approval for historic districts in Philadelphia.

Kathy Dowdell is the founding principal of Farragut Street Architects, a small firm specializing in the renovation, restoration and adaptive reuse of older buildings.  She has over 30 years of experience in architecture and historic preservation, giving her a strong understanding of planning, design, building rehabilitation, and construction.  Throughout her career, Kathy has undertaken a broad range of project types, providing her with a unique skill set in dealing with the many issues – and surprises – that one may encounter when working on and with older buildings.  Her firm led the team that created the nomination for Powelton Village. Kathy is a former board chair of the Preservation Alliance and an active member of its advocacy committee.

Historic Haddonfield New Jersey

October 17, 2023, 6 — 7:30 PM

Haddonfield was founded in the early 18th century by Elizabeth Haddon, as a community where Quakers could worship and live in peace. Haddonfield quickly grew into the largest town in southern New Jersey and the market town for the region. The town became a reluctant host to both the British and patriot armies during the

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Haddonfield was founded in the early 18th century by Elizabeth Haddon, as a community where Quakers could worship and live in peace. Haddonfield quickly grew into the largest town in southern New Jersey and the market town for the region. The town became a reluctant host to both the British and patriot armies during the American Revolution. With the coming of the railroad in the middle of the 19th century, Haddonfield grew quickly, while continuing to thrive as a market town and even a summer resort for Philadelphians. In 1858, the world’s first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton was excavated on a Haddonfield farm. Throughout the 20th century, the many ways Haddonfield fought to save its unique historical character and its role in the fight for women’s suffrage will be highlighted.

Doug Rauschenberger is the retired director of the Haddonfield Public Library, a past president of the Historical Society of Haddonfield and frequent speaker on historical topics relating to Haddonfield. He and his colleague Katherine Tassini serve as the official historians of Haddonfield borough and have co-authored two books, Lost Haddonfield, published in 1989 by the Historical Society of Haddonfield and Haddonfield, part of the Images of America series, published in 2008 by Arcadia Press.

The Communities of Rose Valley

October 24, 2023, 6 — 7:30 PM

In 1901, Philadelphia architect William Price and a cohort of like-minded friends purchased eighty acres of land surrounding what had been Rose Valley Mills in Delaware County.  Their primary focus was to design and construct a new community based on the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, specifically the relationship of men to their

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In 1901, Philadelphia architect William Price and a cohort of like-minded friends purchased eighty acres of land surrounding what had been Rose Valley Mills in Delaware County.  Their primary focus was to design and construct a new community based on the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, specifically the relationship of men to their work and to each other.  This is the story of that community, and how those founding principles have evolved and still manifest 120 years later.

Morris Potter spent her childhood in Rose Valley, surrounded by family and friends, and participating in its institutions.  She grew up, went off to schools, had adventures, and returned with her own family in 1986 to resume participation in those same institutions.  She has been president of the Rose Valley Museum and Historical Society since 2004, well before they opened their museum in 2017.

The People of Frankford

October 31, 2023, 6 — 7:30 PM

The roadway we now know as Frankford Avenue had its origins as a Lenape Indian trail. However, the English were not the first Europeans to settle in what is now Frankford, with the Swedes having earlier set up mills along the creek.  English colonization, led by the Quakers, eventually resulted in the Lenape Indian trail

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The roadway we now know as Frankford Avenue had its origins as a Lenape Indian trail. However, the English were not the first Europeans to settle in what is now Frankford, with the Swedes having earlier set up mills along the creek.  English colonization, led by the Quakers, eventually resulted in the Lenape Indian trail being improved and upgraded to a toll road known as the King’s Highway, now known as Frankford Avenue. At a critical crossing on the King’s Highway, a stone bridge built across the Pennypack Creek now lays claim to being the oldest surviving bridge in the United States. Trace the origins of Frankford from its early days, through the industrial period, and learn how the people of Frankford have provided a haven for other groups fleeing religious, racial, or ethnic persecution over time.

John Buffington, originally from Fairfax County, Virginia, is the HSF’s longest serving board member. John is a retired attorney-at-law, having earned his degree at the University of Virginia. He later relocated to Philadelphia to establish his practice. Since residing in the Northeast Philly area, John has acquired an extensive knowledge of its history and its rich traditions. John is a staunch advocate for supporting the culture and traditions of the region’s original inhabitants, the Lenape.

Harry Garforth is one of HSF’s more recent additions to its board of directors.  He grew up in the Wissahickon section of Philadelphia, during which time he gained an extensive familiarity with the Philadelphia area’s extensive network of rail transit.  His recent book, Frankford’s Elevated Railway, was in large part researched in the HSF archives with assistance from various staff members.  

Vanessa Couvreur, a resident of Frankford since birth, aside from a few years abroad, has served as Secretary to The Historical Society of Frankford since 2017. She is passionate about preserving but also sharing the knowledge of  its past and current history. She hopes that by sharing the area’s stories that it will instill a sense of pride for residents old and new alike. 

J. Gordon Baugh’s A Souvenir of Germantown (1913): Documenting the Early 20th Century Black Business and Civic Community in Philadelphia’s 22nd Ward.

November 7, 2023, 6 — 7:30 PM

presented by Supreme Dow and Tuomi Forrest. More details coming soon!

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presented by Supreme Dow and Tuomi Forrest.

More details coming soon!

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