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Samuel T. Wagner House added to Philadelphia Register

The east aspect of the Samuel T. Wagner house, added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places on June 14.

At its meeting on June 14, 2024, the Philadelphia Historical Commission placed 3343 West School House Lane, a house built by engineer Samuel Tobias Wagner in 1896, on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. East Falls can boast of over thirty sites on either the National or Philadelphia register – or both – and many more structures are worthy of this recognition and protection. The nomination was submitted by the East Falls Historical Society, and written by Steven J. Peitzman.

Samuel T. Wagner (1861-1931), a member of one of the first European families to create a “country estate” along School House Lane, as a civil engineer designed bridges and tunnels, became an authority on testing materials, and rose to the rank of chief engineer of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. He also served as board member and professor at the Wagner Free Institute, founded by a great uncle.

The house was designed by the eminent architect Horace Trumbauer, whose firm was known for monumental buildings such as the Free Library (Parkway Central), Union League addition, Public Ledger Building, and many suburban mansions. But Trumbauer designed numerous fine mid-sized homes, too many of which do not survive. The recently designated house blends the Queen Ann and shingle styles in a balanced and dignified approach, not always seen in the late Victorian period. It was acquired by Jefferson University in 2022. Jefferson’s plans for the building are not known, but it was reassuring that the nomination was not opposed. The house is now protected from demolition or major external alterations.

Click here for nomination to Philadelphia Register of Historic Places

A Walking Tour of The Oak Road and Vicinity

On April 20, 2024, Steve Peitzman and Nancy Pontone led a tour of The Oak Road. Click here to see the tour description. Here are a few of the historic sites that we saw:
Alden Park; Steel’s Stone Stable; Henry W. Brown residence (Timmons House); Ivy Cottage; Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd 

Click here to see photos from the tour.

Gustine Lake: from an old swimming hole to a public swimming pool to … history

The June column in East Falls NOW talked about the storied Bathey swimming pool, vividly recalled as a center of East Falls summers until it closed following the 1958 season. In July, Rich Lambert wrote about its successor, a public pool complex at Gustine Lake, a name that now exists only on antique maps.

The Bathey Bath House of East Falls – long before air conditioning

In the June issue of East Falls NOW, Rich Lampert tells of the iconic Bathey, now home to Breakfast Boutique – River Falls. Do read the recollections of Fallsers from their childhoods.

Reporting East Falls: A History of Local Newspapers” – Video and slides

With Nina Coffin, Supervisor, Newspaper Center, Free Library of Philadelphia

On February 28, 2024, Nina Coffin gave us a tour, via Zoom, the pages of the hyper-local newspapers for East Falls, Roxborough and Manayunk.  Since about 1870, our part of Northwest Philadelphia has been well-represented in newsprint. These historic newspapers offer fascinating insight into venerable institutions, local businesses and schools. You may recognize names and addresses from the advertising pages.  Photo: from The Suburban Press.

Click here for YouTube video of the presentation. Click here to view the slides from this presentation (2 Meg PDF). They have links to many newspaper resources

East Falls Historical Society has recorded more than 60 oral histories! Here are the latest:

Freda Gowling shares her memories of the neighborhood, especially focusing on her involvement with both Old Academy Players and Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Gus Krebs and Tony DiStefano grew up together in East Falls. Tony describes growing up at the “Lower End” of East Falls on Allegheny Avenue, with his memories of St. Bridget School and Church. Gus recalled playing in East Falls with his friends in the late 1940s – with some mischief involved, schooling at St. Bridget, and, later, volunteering for the church and the Franciscans.

Mt. Vernon Cemetery Tour

On April 15, 2023, historian Brandon Zimmerman led a walking tour of Historic Mount Vernon Cemetery. He and an intrepid crew of volunteers are restoring this long-neglected historic cemetery. Click here to learn more and see our pictures of this strange and fascinating place

Chadwick Papers Index online!

Adapted from The Chadwick Papers Index by Katy Hineline, 1991. Click here to open in a new tab.

Visit the Grace Kelly Gallery at NewCourtland!
Click here for details

East Falls Family Dentistry 
F.X. Duffy & Co. 
Hyde Electric Corp.   
Laurel Hill Cemeteries  
Eugene Mattioni, Esq.  
McIlvaine Funeral Home 
Old Academy Players
William Ross III  

John Calvitti Co.
Saint James the Less School 
Joe Boyle Insurance Agency
Slices Pizza
Wee Care Child Care
Martin Tyler
Elfant Wissahickon

Ray Kaller and Sons Roofing