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1880 1882

Philadelphia Timeline, 1881


  • January 2. Delaware River frozen over from shore to shore. Persons passed over the ice to Camden; skating lasted for some days.
  • January 5. New building of Beneficial Savings Fund society, S. W. corner twelfth and Chestnut Streets, opened for business.
  • January 14. Fire at Columbia Shoddy Mill, Columbia Avenue and Fifth Street. Loss, $15,000.
  • January 18. Fire in the carpet-yarn mill of James Whitaker, Trenton Avenue and Sergeant Street. Loss, 16,000.
  • January 19. Malt-Mill of G. F. Rothacker, Thirty-first and Master Streets, burned. Loss, $30,000.
  • January 31. Beth-Eden Baptist Church, N. W. Corner Broad and Spruce Streets, totally destroyed by fire. Loss, $60,000.
  • February 1. Fire in the six- and eight-story factories, 212-224 Carter Street. Loss, $200,000.
  • February 2. Waltzing against time by Julian and Constantine Carpenter, at Carpenter's Dancing Hall, Thirteenth and Chestnut Streets, who waltzed for sixteen and a half hours without stopping. "The best time on record."
  • February 6. Tioga M. E. Church, corner Nineteenth and Tioga Streets, dedicated.
  • February 10. The ice above Columbia Bridge, Schuylkill River, started, but formed a gorge at the bridge, backing up the water as far as Manayunk. The river rose from 15 to 18 feet, flooding the mills and other buildings on the banks of the Schuylkill and overflowing Ridge Avenue, stopping horse-car traveling.
  • February 16. First train run over the new elevated railroad of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, on Filbert Street to Broad, with an excursion-party composed of members of the American Institute of Mining Engineers.
  • February 20. New Oxford Presbyterian Church, cor. Broad and Oxford Streets, built on the site of one destroyed by fire December 3, 1879, dedicated.
  • February 22. Pythian Temple, Pine Street below Third, built for the order of the Knights of Pythias, opened for inspection.
  • March 6-7. Farewell services ices at Trinity M. E. Church, Eighth Street above Race, the congregation having abandoned the building and united with the Sixteenth Street M. E. Church.
  • March 9. Fire at Belmont Oil Works of Works of W. L. Elkins & Co., Long Lane near Twenty-fourth and Mifflin Streets. Loss, $80,000.
  • March 21. Retail Grocers' Association formed at a meeting held at Association Hall.
  • March 24. The trustees of the University of Pennsylvania accepted an endowment of $100,000 from Joseph Wharton for the foundation of the Wharton School of Finance and Economy in the University.
  • March 26. Iron steamship Perseus, built for Iron Steamship Company of New York, launched from Cramp's Shipyard.
  • April 5. Farmers' bone and fertilizer works and ninety boat houses of the Southwark yacht Club destroyed by fire. Loss, $110,000.
  • April 7. Iron steamboat Pegasus, built for Iron Steamboat Company of New York, launched from Cramp's Shipyard.
  • April 9. Iron Steamship Caraccus, built for New York and Venezuela line, launched from Cramp's Shipyard.
  • June 1. Steam-boiler in dye-house of Thomas Gaffney & Co., 2430 Collins Street, exploded, causing the death of three, and injuring five others. Loss, $31,000.
  • Children's Sanitarium at Point Airy (Windmill Island) opened for the season.
  • All Saints Roman Catholic Church, Brown and Bockius Streets, Bridesburg, struck by lightning and damaged by fire.
  • June 11. First annual meet of Bicycle Club at West Park and road race to Ardmore, in which 67 wheelmen participated.
  • June 18. Annual regatta of the Schuylkill Navy; 25 contesting crews. National course, 1-1/2 miles, straight away. Prizes as follows: Juniors singles, Vesper Club, 11.33 1/2; senior singles, Quaker City Club, 10.25 1/4; pair oars, Undine, 10 40 1/2; junior four-oared gigs, Vesper, 10.03; four-oared shell,, College, 8.58 3/4; double sculls, Vesper, 10.13; senior gig, Vesper, 9.48; six-oared barge, College, 9.39 1/4; eight-oared shells, College, 8.33.
  • June 24. A syndicate represented by the People's (Callowhill Street) Railway Company and others bought 15,309 shares of stock in the Germantown City Passenger Railway Company, being a controlling interest.
  • July 6. Inter-collegiate boat race for the Child's' challenge cup on the Schuylkill between the crews of Princeton College and University of Pennsylvania. The University came in ahead, the Princeton being a quarter of a mile behind. The cup was awarded to the Princeton crew upon the ground that one of the crew of the University Club was ineligible.
  • July 16. Annual regatta of the American Rowing Association on lower Schuylkill. Course from Callowhill Street bridge to Market Street and return. Prizes for six-oared barges won by the Riverside; four-oared, Pythias; double sculls, the W. J. Temple crew; single scull, John Hobbs.
  • July 20. Cornerstone laid of the new building of Heidelberg Reformed Church, cor. Nineteenth and Oxford Streets.
  • Fire at Pequea Cotton and Woolen Mills, Pennsylvania Avenue and Twenty-second Street. Loss, $160,000.
  • July 27. The Lombard and South Street Passenger Railway leased to the West End and Angora Passenger Railway Company.
  • July 28. The trotting mare Maud S. undertook, at Belmont Park, to exceed her previous performance of one mile in 2.10 1/2. She trotted three heats as follows: First, 2.12; second, 2.13 1/4; third, 2.12 1/2. This was stated to be the quickest time on record for three consecutive one-mile heats.
  • August 1. Eighth Street Theatre, Eighth Street below Vine, opened for the first time. Address, music and the play "Little Emily."
  • August 5. Four colored men appointed substitutes on the city police by Mayor King, they being the first in Philadelphia.
  • August 6. Iron screw steamship Allegheny, built for the Merchants and Miners Transportation Company, launched from the shipyard of Wm. Cramp & Sons.
  • August 10. A fast train on the Camden and Atlantic Railroad made the trip from Camden to Atlantic City in 76 minutes.
  • August 22. Meeting of colored citizens at Liberty Hall, Lombard Street above Seventh, to return thanks to Mayor Samuel G. King for his course "in recognizing the just and equal claims of colored men in his appointments to the police force."
  • August 26. Lager-beer brewery of Henry Mueller, Thirty-first and Jefferson Streets, burned. Loss, $75,000.
  • August 29. Fire at Globe Mills, Germantown Avenue below Girard Avenue, occupied by Schatchard & Hoffman, silk-yarn spinners, and the Midnight Yarn Co. Loss, $15,000.00.
  • September 3. Steamship Berkshire for Merchants and Miners Transportation Company, launched at shipyard of Wm. Cramp & Sons.
  • September 14. Fire at the Union Hub, Spoke and Wheel Works of Fitler & Dubois, cor. Otter and Leopard Streets. Loss, $30,000.
  • September 15. Swimming-match for the championship of the Delaware from Blockhouse to Ridgway Park, a distance of 7-1/2 miles; 8 contestants. First prize won by Dennis F. Butler; second, Duke Marr, of Schuylkill; third, George Bird, of Atlantic City; fourth, Thomas Coyle, of Chester.
  • September 19. Intelligence of the death of President James A. Garfield, who died at Elberon, N. J., at 10.35 P.M., received before midnight.
  • September 20. Public buildings, churches, stores, factories, etc., draped in mourning colors. In the evening all the theatres and places of amusement were closed.
  • September 26. Day of humiliation and prayer in consequence of the death of President Garfield. General suspension of business.
  • David Kalakaua I, King of the Sandwich Islands, arrived in the city and took lodgings at Continental Hotel.
  • September 27. Cornerstone of Cookman M. E. Church,. Corner Twelfth and Lehigh Avenue, laid.
  • September 29. Fire at stables of Adams Express Company, Twenty-second Street below Market. Loss, $10,000.
  • Swimming-match on the Delaware River, for the championship and a purse of $400 between Joseph Marrow and Dennis F. Butler. Course, from the red buoy at Chester to Ridgway Park, 15 miles. Upon reaching the old Greenwich Point docks, a distance of about 12-1/2 miles, Butler succumbed, and the prize was awarded to Marrow. Time, 3.50m. This was said to be the longest swim yet accomplished in the United States.
  • October 1. Linseed-oil works of Grove & Brothers, at Greenwich Point, First Ward, burned. Loss, $50,000.
  • International cricket match commenced at the grounds of the Germantown Club, near Nicetown, between Alfred Shaw's English professional team and twelve amateurs of Philadelphia, selected from the Young America, Merion, Germantown and Girard Clubs. Scores: Englishmen, first inning, 227; Philadelphians, first inning, 126; second, 47.
  • October 7. International cricket match at the grounds of the Germantown Club, near Nicetown, between Shaw's professional team and eighteen Americans chosen from Philadelphia, New York and
  • Boston clubs. Score: Englishmen, first inning, 114; second, 166. Americans, first inning, 71; second, 77.
  • October 12. Fire at the Randolph cotton and woolen mill, occupied by Charles H. Landenberger, Randolph Street above Columbia Avenue. There were thirty-eight workman and girls in the building, all of whom were cut off from escape by the rapid progress of the flames. Nine were killed by jumping from the windows or burned to death while in the building, or died afterward from their injuries; thirteen were seriously maimed or injured; sixteen escaped. Loss by the fire on the building, $10,000; on stock and machinery, heavy.
  • October 18. BY vote of 18,463 shares in favor to 3,501 against the proposition, the stockholders of Germantown Passenger Railway (Fourth and Eighth Streets) resolved to leave their road and franchises to the People's Passenger Railway (Callowhill Street) for 999 years at a maximum rental of $4.50 per share, or nine per cent. on the capital stock.
  • Steamship City of Puebla, 2,900 tons burden, for New York and Havana line, launched from shipyard of Cramp & Son.
  • October 24. Fire at the stationary store of William F. Murphy's Sons, Chestnut Street above Fifth. Loss, $25,000.
  • November 7. The disease called "pink-eye," or epizooty, affecting horses, made its appearance in this city, and continued about three weeks. Probably ten thousand horses belonging to passenger railway companies, etc., were affected, but few fatally.
  • November 27. Thomas E. Conaty and Owen Burns instantly killed while riding on a car on Fourth Street above Master by the pole of a steam fire-engine drawn by runaway horses.
  • December 3. Chestnut Street first illuminated with the electric light (forty-nine lamps) from the Delaware to the Schuylkill.
  • December 5. New Broad Street Station of Pennsylvania Railroad Company, connected with the elevated railroad at Market and Broad Streets, opened for business with the regular running of passenger trains.

< 1880 1882 >

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

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