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1877 1879

Philadelphia Timeline, 1878


  • January 1. William S. Stokley inaugurated for his third term as mayor of the city of Philadelphia.
  • January 11. Chatham Mills, Howard and Berks Streets, burned; loss, $50,000.
  • January 20. New iron bridge at Penrose Ferry, on the Schuylkill, opened for foot-passengers.
  • January 22. Excitement among dealers in morocco leather, caused by the failure of ten firms engaged in that trade.
  • January 23. John M. Armstrong, a music typographer, while on a visit to Camden, N. J., murdered. Coroner's jury at Camden found that Benjamin Hunter was guilty of the crime. Hunter, after a trial
  • at Camden, lasting twenty days, was convicted of murder in the first degree on July 3, 1878.
  • January 31. Fire at wholesale dry goods store of H. P. & W. P. Smith, 224-226 Chestnut Street; loss, $400,000.
  • February 2. Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad formally opened for business.
  • February 10. Nine of the western arches of the South Street bridge feel. Loss estimated at $85,000.
  • February 14. Fire at the carriage factory of Jacob Rech, south-east corner of Eighth Street and Girard Avenue; loss, $12,000.
  • February 20. New building of the Kensington National Bank, Frankford and Girard Avenues, opened for public inspection. Business commenced Saturday the 23d.
  • March 11. The office of Prothonotary of the Supreme Court was removed from State House Row to the new Public Buildings.
  • March 16. Fire at the bedstead factory of Meyer, Tufts & Co., Richmond Street above Montgomery Avenue; loss, $15,000.
  • March 25. Fire at southeast corner of Fourth and Cherry Streets in the store of H. K. Wampole, extended nearly down to Arch Street; total loss, $750,000.
  • April 13. Steam dummy cars, after a trial of almost a year by the Market Street Railway Co., were withdrawn from service. Too expensive.
  • April 29. The gallery of Pompeiian views deposited with Fairmount Park Commission by John Welsh opened to the public in the Art Building, East Park.
  • May 6. Ridgway Library building and grounds, corner of Broad and Carpenter Streets, formally transferred to the Library Company of Philadelphia by Henry J. William, executor of the late Dr. James Rush.
  • May 10. Fire at phosphate manufactory on Venango Street, near the Delaware River; loss, $75,000.
  • May 16. Iron steamship State of California launched from the shipyard of William Cramp & Sons.
  • Hall of Moyamensing Lodge, No. 330, I. O. O. F. at Eighth and Reed Streets, dedicated.
  • Fire at Southwark Cotton and Woolen Mills, Moyamensing Avenue and Moore Streets; loss, $42,000.
  • June 8. Spring regatta of the Schuylkill Navy. Course, Falls Bridge to Rockland Landing. Pair-oared prize won by University crew, time, 11.20; double sculls by Crescent Club, 10.12 1/4; four-oars by Crescent Club, 9.31.
  • First regatta of the Schuylkill Yacht Club. Course from Ellsworth street wharf, Schuylkill to Chester buoy and return. First-class, prize won by the T. B. Doyle; second-class, the Bently; third-class, the Vindex.
  • June 15. Annual regatta of the Schuylkill Navy. Prizes for four-oared boats won by Crescent, time, 9.331/2; for four pair oars by University; double sculls and single sculls by Crescent; four-oared gigs by University; and six-oared barges by Crescent.
  • June 29. Western section of Brown Street River Market on Delaware Avenue, opened for business.
  • July 10. Explosion at the blast furnace of S. Robbins & Son, at Beach and Vienna Streets, by which seven persons were injured. John McChesney died. Two others died subsequently.
  • Rifle contest at Saenger Park (21st and Diamond Streets) between the Norristown Rifle Club and the Keystone Rifle Club of Philadelphia. Eight men on each side, ten shots each. Keystone, 342; Norristown, 339. Average, 423/8. Time, 1 hour.
  • August 1. Destructive rain and wind storm. The Coliseum market house (iron Building) Broad and Locust Streets, was struck by lightning.
  • August 5. River pirates attempting to rob the schooner L. Still-man of Great Egg Harbor, N. J., anchored in the Delaware, shot at by the master of the vessel. One thief killed and two wounded.
  • New American Theatre, Chesnut Street above Tenth, sold by the Sheriff for $75,000 to H.H. Morrel of New York.
  • August 15, Swimming match between T Butler, of Philadelphia and Robert Ward, of New York, from Bridesburg to Point Airy (southern end of Windmill Island, opposite Spruce Street in the Delaware river) distance, 5 miles. Won by Butler in 40 minutes.
  • September 2. Ground broken for the building of Eden M. E. Church, Leigh Avenue below Fifth Street.
  • September 5. Stalls in new (Zimmerman) market house, southwest corner of Frankford Avenue and Adams Street, sold and the market opened. (now site of Weisbrod & Hess brewery).
  • September 13. New Delaware River Market, at the foot of Brown Street, formally opened.
  • October 3. International cricket match at the grounds of the Germantown
  • Cricket Club between the Australian cricketers and a select team of Philadelphia players. The game was closed on Saturday, while unfinished, by the stumps being drawn. Score, Philadelphia, first innings, 196; second innings, 53 total, 249. Australians, first innings, 150; second innings, 56 total, 206.
  • October 4. The Continental Telegraph Company opened its line between Philadelphia and New York.
  • October 5. Second annual regatta of the Fairmount Rowing Association on the Schuylkill River, over the national course. Prize for single shells won by C. Hamilton in 11 minutes, 11-1/2 seconds; single shells, J. Schnall, 14 minutes , 46 1/4 seconds; double sculls, W. Tapper and C. Reitze, 12 minutes, 37 3/4 seconds; four-oared barges, Fairmount, 14 minutes, 10 seconds; six-oared barges, Washington, 10 minutes, 43 3/4 seconds.
  • Fall regatta of the American Rowing Club on the Schuylkill River below the dam, from Callowhill Street bridge to Chesnut Street bridge and return, estimated two miles. Prize for signal sculls won by W. Wood; four-oared barges, Atlantic, 18 minutes, 52 seconds; six-oared barges, Belmont, 15 minutes, 26 seconds; double-outriggers, won by the Eddie; single shell match, three miles, J. Meek, 12 minutes, 42 seconds.
  • October 7. Free drawing schools of the Spring Garden Institute formally opened at Broad and Spring Garden Streets.
  • October 12. Hero Glassworks of W. A. Leavitt, at Aramingo, Cedar, Gaul and Adams Streets, destroyed by fire; loss, $60,000.
  • October 20. Roman Catholic Church of St. Agatha, Spring Garden and Thirty-eighth Streets, dedicated.
  • October 21. New freight station of Pennsylvania Railroad Company opened at Thirty-first and Market Streets.
  • October 23. Great cyclone and wind storm. There was a great flood in the "Neck" which submerged the whole territory below Miffin Street from the Delaware to the Schuylkill. Loss of life, about ten persons, thirty injured. Properties destroyed, 4 church steeples blown down. Immense loss.
  • November 5. Edward Shippen school house, Cherry Street above Nineteenth, destroyed by fire; loss, $15,000.
  • November 9. Fire at ice house of Bergner & Engel Brewery, Thirty-second and Thompson Streets; loss, $150,000.
  • November 12. Fire at chair factory and lumber yard of Hutchinson, Nichols & Co., American Street above Susquehanna Avenue; loss, $10,000.
  • November 14. Rifle shooting contest at Saenger Park, Twenty-first and Diamond Streets, between Keystone Riffle Club of Philadelphia and Norristown Rifle Club, 100 yards, offhand. Score: Norristown, 354; Keystone, 345.
  • December 1. Norris Square M. E. Church, Mascher Street above Susquehanna Avenue, dedicated.
  • December 11. Offices of Department of Highways removed from Sixth and Chestnut Streets, and opened in the new public Building, Broad and Market Streets.
  • December 17. John S. Morton, formerly president and Samuel B. Hahn, formerly treasurer of the Market Street Passenger Railway Company, sentenced to pay a nominal fine, the costs of trial, and to undergo ten years imprisonment, for fraudulently issuing stock of the company.
  • December 30. Meeting of citizens of Twenty-third Ward, formerly of the township of Byberry and Moreland, at which it was resolved to petition the Legislature to separate that territory from the city of Philadelphia and annex it Bucks County.

< 1877 1879 >

Excerpted from "Happenings in ye Olde Philadelphia 1680-1900" by Rudolph J. Walther, 1925, Walther Printing House, Philadelphia, PA

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