Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fishtown's Old Trolley Lines

Route 25 and more


Turning from Cedar St onto Lehigh Ave to Memphis St. **

A street resurfacing project began during Spring of 2017 in Fishtown. The removal of the top street surface revealed the wooden paving blocks on Marlborough St by The Old Brick Church between Allen and Richmond St. This was a very interesting discovery for learning a new piece of Fishtown's development history. I was hoping for something different to resurface.

Marlborough St

I was hoping that old Rt 8 trolley tracks would re-appear on Susquehanna and Norris St. This didn't happen at first but it got me to re-think about the visible tracks at the corner of Thompson and York St.
Thompson and York Streets
Rt 25 on York St **

It took sometime to get this right. I once, as many have, identified these as old train track. It was an easy assumption since frieght trains ran on York St up until the 1980's. Port Richmond Plaza was once a train yard. Water department workers replacing pipes on Thompson St told me that they did find old tracks around this area.

An old PTC map showed that they are Rt 25 track that turned off from Norris St onto Thompson St. This track would turn left on York St and then right on Cedar St to loop back over Lehigh Ave onto Memphis St. I remembered as a kid that there was a cross track at Susquehanna and  Memphis St.  A small remnant of track is now visible at this very corner.
Susquehanna Ave and Memphis St

The Rt 25 ran on Memphis St then turned onto Norris St (Fishtown Market) to Susquehanna (Rt 8) to Girard Ave. (Rt 15) It then followed Girard until turning South onto 2nd St sharing the track with the Rt 5 all the way down to Ritner St. Both The Rt 5 & 25 looped back North on 3rd St. The Rt 25 would turn back East onto Girard and then to Norris to Thompson St.
*Route 25 was originally known as Rt 18 and operated from Cedar-Lehigh to 22nd & Snyder. It was changed to Rt 25 and re-routed to 2nd & Ritner on January 28, 1923
Girard Ave between 3rd and 4th St (notice cross track) **

The trolley line was shorten in 1930 by utilizing a cross track on Girard Ave between 3rd and 4th St. This was easy to do since it was a double-end trolley. *The Route 25 trolley was converted to motor bus operation on April 10, 1949.  
The Rt 5, 8, 15 & 25 are the only trolley's that I'm clearly aware of that ran through Fishtown.  It wouldn't surprise me if other unknown trolley routes and loops once passed through Fishtown.  Go a few blocks outside of Fishtown, in three directions, and you'll find a whole lot more like the Rt 39. (33rd and Dauphin to Cumberland and Richmond.)
Cumberland near Richmond St (converted to bus 1956) **
Rt 39 cross track over train track at Huntingdon and Moyer St
Rt 5 at Frankford and Huntingdon St
Rt 5 at Bridge and Pratt terminal (converted to bus approximately 1956)
Rt 5 track between Berks and Norris St

Rt 5 ran a single track on Frankford Ave from Amber St to Jefferson St to 2nd St. A single track also ran on Amber street from Front to Frankford Ave. A trolley loop on Coral St parallels Amber St from Huntingdon to Norris St (Rt 5: Bridge and Pratt to Second and Ritner St).
Rt 8 at Front and Dauphin turns right on Front St to Norris St. Rt 39 turned left on Front to Kensington Ave to Cumberland St **
Rt 8 on Richmond St before turning back on Norris St. (converted to bus 1956) **
33rd and Dauphin Rt 39, 8 and 7 (to 22nd and Snyder Ave) **

 Rt 8 ran on Susquehanna and Norris St: Richmond and Norris to 33rd and Dauphin St. The Rt 8 ran on York St at 22nd St which was one block away from Connie Mack Stadium (Shibe Park).

Rt 15 detour onto Susquehanna Ave during the construction of I-95
Rt 15 at Girard and Front.
Rt 15 loop at Frankford and Delaware Ave.

Rt 15 ran from 63rd and Girard to Richmond and Bridge St. The Rt 15 uses the Callowhill Depot since 1955 and is the only trolley line of the four to remain in service.
New track will be laid on Richmond St to complete its present day run to Allegany Ave upon completion of work on I-95. Service is slated to return by 2018.
Allegany and Richmond Trolley Barn (Allegany to Westmoreland St) **

This track (below) which turned from Girard left onto Frankford once ran all the way to a pier on the river. It was single track. The pier was located near where the Sugarhouse Casino is today, and was owned by PRT/PTC. Ties, poles and sand were delivered via the river. Various types of work trolleys would run on Frankford ave to pick up these supplies and deliver them to the various depots. That track was not part of any trolley route.*** It was recently uncovered too.
 Frankford and Girard Ave
A glimpse of Rt 8 track was uncovered on Susquehanna Ave by the the old Church of the Living Word during street work. I'm satisfied for now until more scrapping and repaving comes along.
*Another line which operated through the Fishtown area was the original Rt 59 which last operated from 2nd & Dock to Bridge-Milnor (Frankford Arsenal) on May 20, 1920.

words and some pictures by roman blazic_all rights reserved
some photos unknown credit
* corrections and additional information henry adamcik
** indicates henry adamcik photo collection
*** as shared by harry donahue from the late ernie mozer 



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Pledge of Allegiance

Alt-rise



I pledge allegiance to the traitors
of the United States of America
and to the repugnant for which I stand
some nation
taking the Lord thy God's name in vain
for liberty, just us, and not y'all.

words by roman blazic_all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

Tip Top Playground

Needs a lot of work


click picture for slideshow

Tip Top playground borders Fishtown at Front and Allen Street. It has a tennis court. (It's really a hockey rink but it was used to teach some children how to play tennis.) There's room enough to have two courts side by side. (I got the impression that folks want to keep the hockey rink, however, there may be room for a tennis court.)  A swim club is nearby.  It needs a lot of work.
Tip Top is in an uncongested residential location also next to Hope St. The children's playground is shaded by trees with well placed benches. A garden area would lend new appeal.

There's a lot  of open ground to be designed. It needs a lot of work.  It could work. Friends of...






Across the street a different battle.

words and pictures by roman blazic_all rights reserved

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Beatles vs The Four Season's

You Be the Judge and Jury

This epic battle happen in 1964 on a two record album release by the Vee Jay record label. It was the third time that "Introducing the Beatles" was repackaged and combined with the "Golden Hits of The Four Season's" which was repackaged for the second time. This Vee-Jay creation spent three weeks on the Billboard chart in October 1964 and peaked at number 142. Release Date: October 1, 1964.
The catalogue number for this two LP set was Vee Jay DX-30 for mono versions and Vee Jay DXS-30 for stereo versions. There were only 750 albums manufactured in stereo and from those approximately less than 50 examples are known to exist.

The resulting album titles The Beatles Vs. The Four Seasons came with deluxe packaging. The front cover features a boxing theme billing the two record set as the “international battle of the century” with each group “delivering their greatest vocal punches”.


The back cover is a score card, complete with rules of contest, enabling the listener to assign points to twelve rounds of Beatles song pitted against Four Seasons songs. The "rules" of the contest are written in purple. 

The left inside gatefold liner notes recycle the Beatles liner notes from Songs, Pictures And Stories. The right inside part of the jacket contains the “4 Seasons Biography.”  (see About the Beatles )


Also included in the double LP "The Beatles Vs. The Four Seasons" is a poster that measures 11 and half inches by 23 inches (the front cover of the album states that the free poster is 8 inches by 15 inches). This poster features the same drawings of the individual members of the Beatles as the ones used for the "Songs, Pictures and Stories of The Fabulous Beatles" cover. The poster has the drawings horizontally surrounded by a gold frame.


From 1962 to early 1964, only the Beach Boys matched the Four Seasons in record sales in the United States before the Beatles. The Golden Hits Of The Four Seasons was originally released by Vee Jay in August of 1963, and peaked at #15 on the Billboard Top LP's chart. 
This greatest hits album covered their phenomenal year from mid-1962 to mid-1963, including their three consecutive number one hits "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "Walk like A Man," the Top Ten hit "Candy Girl," the Top 40 hits "Ain't That a Shame" and "Marlena," and the chart entry "Soon (I'll Be Home Again)." 
The Four Season's have sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide. Frankie Vallie is still performing around the world at age 83 years.
Total number of Beatles albums sold is at 2,303,500,000. Date research was conducted: August 1, 2016. The two remaining Beatles, Paul McCartney age 75 and Ringo Starr age 77, continue to perform around the world.
A comprehensive review of this album by Bob Matonis can found at Classic Albums Of The 1960's.

as told by roman blazic

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fishtown Neighborly Strength

The FNA in Action

There's more than one way to skin a cat or in this case raise awareness for the neighbors of Fishtown not to accept any development project left on their doorstep. This is were it starts. The follow up is equally if not more important to take proactive steps in the appeal process. The developer can appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustment to over turn the communities decision that firmly rejected the proposed project.  It's well documented that the ZBA has done so in a lopsided manner of making favorable rulings for the developers and turning a deaf ear to communities.
It has now become very clear that the community and its Registered Community Organization (RCO) have to be prepared to go the extra step (ZBA hearing) to maintain control of the future of the community and what's best for the community. There is yet another step in the appeal process, Common Pleas Court.
The Fishtown community, for the first time ever, will face this process regarding 1323R Montgomery Ave. Twice the community came out to the ZBA hearing and twice they succeeded in having the ZBA uphold the will of the community. The court case technically is an appeal against the ZBA but the impact of the ruling will be felt by the community.
What follows is the proactive action by the Fishtown Neighbors Association regarding the developers scheduled appeal to the ZBA for 1217 E Columbia Ave developement. It must have been effective because the developer withdrew their appeal.

A tip of the hat to the FNA and it's President Ian Wilson.

This letter was sourced from Philadelinquency.

From: “FNA President”
Date: Jun 15, 2017 17:27
Subject: ZBA Issues/1217 E Columbia Ave
To: “James Kenney”
Cc: “Darrell Clarke”
Mayor Kenny,
I am writing to you this afternoon regarding a recent ZBA decision to “hold” for review the project at 1217 E Columbia Ave, 19125. Once a project is “held” in this manner, it is almost always approved behind closed doors without further opportunity for input from anyone other than the developer.
I attended the RCO Zoning Meeting for this project, wherein the developer proposed to build an enormous six-unit apartment building on a lot zoned RSA5/Single Family. The meeting was packed with immediate neighbors who were very concerned about the size and density of the project and the detrimental impact it would have on the community. Not only was the size and density an issue, overbearing height, lack or rear yards, and off-street parking were also major issues. It was voted down 45-1 in opposition.
As noted in our letter of opposition (attached), a financial hardship was given for the multifamily use. The developer stated in the meeting the lot was purchased for 250K. The lot is large enough for the developer to build TWO single family homes side by side, by right, which have been selling for $600-800k in Fishtown recently. For the developer to come before community with this project and indicate that return of less than $1 Million as his only hardship is insulting; that the ZBA would allow it to move forward without a real hardship is unconscionable.
A quick review of the attached letter, which was properly submitted to the ZBA per RCO guidelines, will reveal that this project flies in the face of the Zoning Code and the wishes of the community. I  am fully aware that the role of the local RCO is an advisory one, however, we would expect the ZBA to take our input seriously. Input like this is after all why the RCO process was written into the Zoning Code that you voted for as a member of City Council. It appears the ZBA ignored the letter and its contents, and as such we may need to send a delegate to every ZBA hearing to ensure our letter is read into the record – which seems a tad much but necessary given the circumstances.
Our Zoning Committee is one of the strongest in the City of Philadelphia. The Planning Commission uses our letters as examples when holding their RCO Training sessions on zoning matters. Our tireless volunteers have spent many hundreds, if not thousands of hours holding zoning meetings in an effort to uphold the Zoning Code in an area of the city that has seen record development in recent years. Despite these facts, the troubling trend of ZBA decisions overruling overwhelming community opposition makes us wonder why the RCO process exists, if not as a placebo to satiate our need for input in the process.
As the sole individual in the City of Philadelphia with any sway over the ZBA, I humbly request that you contact Chair DiCicco and ask that he deny these variances. Not only because this project an excellent example of a developer flaunting the code, but because failure to deny variances with no real hardship undermines the code and the RCO process entirely.
I sincerely hope you would consider meeting with myself and our zoning chair Matt Karp in the near future to discuss this ZBA trend; if this project moves forward it would be the fifth time this year the ZBA has overruled community opposition to a project without any reasonable hardship. When you and I exchanged pleasantries at our Chili Cookoff at the Fillmore in April, you expressed how important the work of local RCOs are to the City. I hope that we can continue to count on your support.
Thank you for your time and consideration of these issues that are incredibly important to the Fishtown community and the City at large.
Sincerely,

Ian Wilson
President

as told by roman blazic 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

E Pluribus Unum

Out of many, one

A collection



















By deeds of peace

photos by roman blazic_all rights reserved