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1881 1883

Philadelphia Timeline, 1882


  • January 16. Telegraph line of Bankers' and Merchants' Telegraph Company, from Philadelphia to New York, first opened for business.
  • January 26. Keystone hub, spoke and wheel works, Charles Scott's railway car spring factory, and N. H. Harned's silk fringe factory, New Market Street above Laurel, destroyed by fire. loss estimated at $125,000.
  • March 18. Iron steamship Valencia launched from shipyard of William Cramp & Son, for New York and Venezuela Line. Dimensions, 260 feet long, 34.6 feet beam, 22 feet deep. Engines, 900 horsepower, 1,800 tons.
  • Directors of union Passenger Railway Company resolve to adopt the cable-motor system for propulsion of their cars on Columbia Avenue branch from Twenty-third Street to East park entrance.
  • March 19. Cornerstone laid of German Roman Catholic Church of our Lady of the Nativity, at Allegheny Avenue and Belgrade Street.
  • March 23. The boiler of the tug-boat Henry C. Pratt, at Pier No. 8, South Wharves, exploded, killing five persons and totally destroying the boat. The tug-boat Ella, lying near by, caught fire and was destroyed. Station of Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railroad burned and adjoining property damaged. loss, $20,000.
  • Last rail of the River Front Railroad laid on Delaware Avenue and thereby complete railroad connection made between the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks at Greenwich point and the tracks of the same road and the Reading Railroad at Kensington and Port Richmond.
  • March 25. Fire at cork manufactory of C. N. Rossel, Third Street above Callowhill; adjoining buildings damaged. Loss, about $45,000.
  • March 29. Store-building of Jacob Rorer & Son, Old York Road, Branchtown, totally destroyed by fire. Loss $30,000.
  • Ground broken for new armory for First Regiment infantry, National Guards Pennsylvania, southeast cor. Broad and Callowhill Streets.
  • April 1. Fire at Philadelphia Sewing machine Company's works, N. W. cor. Thirteenth and Buttonwood; property of R. Moorehouse damaged. loss, $25,000.
  • April 8. Philadelphia Recreation Park, Ridge Avenue and Twenty-fourth Street, opened for sports with a game of baseball.
  • April 9. Armory of Third Regiment National Guards of Pennsylvania, N. E. cor. Twelfth and Reed Streets, opened with religious services, Bishop Stevens, of P.E. Church, officiating..
  • April 19. Cornerstone of the armory building for First Regiment National Guards of Pennsylvania laid at Broad and Callowhill Sts. by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania with Masonic ceremonies, a military parade, review, and an oration. Reception in the evening at the Academy of Music.
  • April 22. Mill buildings, Sophia St. between Edward and Van Horn, occupied by Isaac Casson & Co., machinists, Joseph Weiss, and Roher & Noell, furniture manufacturers, destroyed by fire. Loss, $30,000.
  • April 29. Four-oared gig race between the classes of the University of Pennsylvania, National Course, Schuylkill River. Distance, 1-1/2 miles. Sophomores, 9 min. 22 sec.; Seniors, 9 min. 24 sec.; Juniors, 9 min. 39 sec.; Freshman time not taken. The Sophomores' time was faster by 9 seconds than any previous 4 oared gig-time on the course.
  • May 16. Composing-rooms and foundry of the Public Ledger lighted for the first time by means of the Edison incandescent electric light.
  • June 6. Spruce and Pine Streets Passenger Railway cars commenced to run for five-cent fares to Fairmount and Gray's Ferry from Delaware Ave.
  • June 13. Fire at round-house of Philadelphia and Atlantic City (narrow gauge) Railroad, Bulson St., Camden. Seven locomotives destroyed. Loss, $100,000.
  • June 17. Spring regatta of Schuylkill Navy; twenty-nine entries. National Course, 1-1/2 miles straight away. Prizes as follows: Junior singles, to West Philadelphia Club, 12.14 1/2; Senior singles, to Quaker City, 11.15 3/4; four-oared shells, College, 10.16 1/4; pair-oars, West Philadelphia, 11.44 3/4; Junior four-oared gigs, College, 10.40 3/4; Senior four-oared shells, College, 10.31 1/4; six oared barges, Vesper, 10.40 3/4.
  • June 20. Lombard and South Street, and Spruce and Pine Street Passenger Railway Companies (five-cent fare roads) began a system of exchanges for six cents over both roads, between West Philadelphia, Zoological Garden, Delaware Ave. and Dock St. and Exchange, Fairmount Park and Gary's Ferry.
  • June 20. Lombard and South, and Spruce and Pine Street Passenger Railway Companies (five-cent fare roads) began a system of exchanges for six cents over both roads, between West Philadelphia, Zoological Garden. Delaware Ave. and Dock St. and Exchange, Fairmount Park and Gray's Ferry.
  • June 23. Inter-collegiate boat-race for the childs' challenge cup, on the Schuylkill River between the crews of Princeton College and University of Pennsylvania. National Course, 1-1/2 miles straight away. Won by the University of Pennsylvania by two or three lengths. Time, 9 min. 32 sec.
  • June 24. At a special meeting of the stockholders of the Camden and Atlantic railroad Company, resolution adopted in favor of the purchase of the interest of William Massey in the Philadelphia and Atlantic City (narrow gauge Railroad Company for $500,000, which included stock, first, first-mortgage bonds, claims for interest, floating debt track, motive-power and rolling stock, worth at par and full value $824,807.57, payment to be made in bonds of Camden and Atlantic Railroad. Stock vote in favor of purchase, 13,057 shares; against purchase, 312. Subsequently (July 26) the Chancellor of New Jersey granted an injunction prohibiting the sale and transfer as contrary to law.
  • July 1. Auction-house of M. Thomas & Son, 139 and 141 South Fourth St. totally destroyed by fire. Loss, $20,000.
  • July 14. Fire at malt-house of Berger & Engel's Brewery. thirty-second and Thompson Sts. Loss, $20,000.
  • July 26. Stockholders West End Passenger Railway Company, by a vote of over 6,000 shares to 3,000, agree to consolidate their company with Lombard and South Streets Passenger Railway Company. Same day Court of Common Peas granted a preliminary injunction to restrain the consolidation.
  • August 3. Excitement in business circles in consequence of the discovery of extensive forgeries and frauds by Charles M. Hilgert, sugar-refiner, refinery, Lawrence St. Below Girard Ave., estimated to amount to $ 1,000,000. Hilgert absconds.
  • August 20. Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at Allegheny Ave. and Bellgrade St., dedicated.
  • August 22. Eighth General Convention of the American St. Cecilia Society for the culture of Catholic church music assembled at St. Peter's roman Catholic Church, Fifth and Girard Ave.
  • August 24. Iron steamship San Pedro, built for Central Pacific Railroad Company launched at shipyard of William Cramp & Son. Length, 350 feet; breadth, 42 feet; depth, 30 feet carrying capacity 3,500 tons.
  • September 1. Warrant issued for the arrest of Major Ellis P. Phipps, superintendent of the Almshouse, on a charge of defrauding the city out of $5,000 by a fraudulent warrant. Phipps entered bail to appear before a magistrate, and then absconded. Subsequently large quantities of goods and supplies belonging to the almshouse were found on premises in which Phipps resided.
  • September 2. Boat-race for a champion flag for barges between the Falls of Schuylkill and George W. Mallison barge clubs; four oars and coxswain. National course 1-1/2 miles straight away. Won by Falls of Schuylkill Club. Time, 10 min. 30 sec.
  • September 15. Public reception of Chief Engineer Melville and Seamen Noros and Nindermann, survivors f the Jeanette Arctic expedition, at Continental hotel.
  • September 18. Ellis P. Phipps arrested at Hamilton, Ontario.
  • September 19. First railroad car lighted by electricity arrived at station of Pennsylvania railroad Company, being also the first using this light in American in American.
  • September 20. Sanitarium (Point Airy) closed. During the season there were received and made comfortable there 36,860 children.
  • September 28. Fire at candy manufactory of Philip Wunderle, New Market St. above Pegg. Loss $40,000.
  • October 4. President and directors of the People's Passenger Railway Company, (Callowhill Street) , which also controlled the Germantown, Fourth and Eighth, Girard Avenue and Green and Coates Street lines, resigned, and Charles J. Harrah, who had obtained the controlling interest of the stock, was elected president, with a new board of managers.
  • Buildings in Rising Sun Park, Germantown Road at. Rising Sun Lane, destroyed by fire. Loss, $11,000.
  • October 8. New edifice of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Reed St. below Ninth, consecrated.
  • Cornerstone laid of new Roman Catholic hospital of St. Agnes, corner broad and Mifflin Streets.
  • October 12 and 13. International cricket -match between the Australian eleven and the Philadelphia eighteen at Nicetown grounds. Score: Philadelphia, first inning, 82; second inning, 76. Total 158. Australia, first inning, 106; second inning, 53. Total, 159, with nine wickets to spare.
  • October 16. At Hamilton, Ontario, Judge Sinclair decided that Ellis P. Phipps, formerly steward of the Philadelphia Almshouse, was subject to extradition on charge of forgery. Phipps' counsel appealed.
  • Freight and passenger station of Philadelphia and Atlantic City (marrow-gauge) Railroad at Pier 8, South Wharves, destroyed by fire, also steam-tug, Major, belonging to the company. Steam-tug Argus, with some adjoining shipping, considerably damaged. Loss estimated at $40,000.
  • October 24. Landing Day. Bi-centennial celebration. A vessel representing the ship Welcome, bearing as passengers persons representing William Penn and other Friends, came up the river, followed by a grand procession of steamboats and tugs.
  • October 25. Trades' Day. Procession including persons engaged in different industries.
  • October 26. Festival Day.
  • October 27. Military Day.
  • December 5. Arrott's mill, N. W. Corner Coral and Taylor Sts., destroyed by fire January 31, 1881, having been rebuilt, reopened.
  • Arrott's mill, N. W. Cor. Coral and Taylor Sts., occupied by Joseph Greer, cotton and woolen manufacturer, Jaggard & Jones, Henry Grant, Stead Bros. And Robert Beatty, yarn spinners, burned. Loss, $115,000.
  • Fire at Rebman & Ruhland's iron foundry, Twenty-second and Master Sts. Loss, $25,000.
  • December 6. Great excitement in the southern part of the city in consequence of the discovery that a number of graver had been robbed of the dead in Lebanon Cemetery for Negroes, and that the bodies had been carried to a medical college.
  • December 20. Goldsmith's Hall, Library St. East of Fifth, totally destroyed by fire. Occupants, E. G. Haehnlen & Co., dealers in chamois skin; E. C. Markley & Sons, printers; A. C. Farley & Co., manufacturing stationers; Lehman & Bolton, Lithographers; Custom House and note-brokers, lawyers, etc. Loss, $350,000.
  • December 25. Joseph Jarvis, police-officer, stabbed severely, while in the discharge of his duty, at Leopard St. And Girard Ave., by William Rusk, with whom at the time was Jacob Rusk (twin brothers). The two escaped to Trenton, New Jersey, where, having learned that officers of the law were in pursuit of them, they committed suicide by drowning.

< 1881 1883 >

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

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