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1883 1885

Philadelphia Timeline, 1884


  • January 1. New Hall of the Improved Order of Red Men, 928 Race St., formally opened.
  • January 15. Fire at hosiery mill of J. R. Bridges & Co., 1347 N. Front St. Loss $11,000.
  • January 21. New post-office building at Ninth and Chestnut Sts., opened for the first time to the public, a session of the United States Circuit Court being held there.
  • January 26. Perseverance Woods Works of Mahlon Fulton, Ninth St. above Oxford, totally destroyed by fire, loss $75,000.
  • January 27. Farewell Services in Cohockink M. E. Church, Germantown Av. above Columbia Av., building then abandoned by the congregation.
  • January 28. New post office, Ninth and Market Sts., put in use by the opening of the Money Order Department.
  • February 6. Workshop of the Phillips Underground Electric Cable Manufacturing Company, Willow St. above Twelfth, destroyed by fire; four firemen injured. Loss, $27,500.
  • February 16. Fire at the flour warehouse and depot of E. Lathbury & Co., Vine St. above Broad. Loss, estimated , $60,000. The western wall fell on February 17th, crushing in adjacent buildings on Vine St. and Leeds Ave., and killing two men, one of them being a firemen.
  • February 22. New armory of the First Regiment Infantry, Cor. Broad and Callowhill Sts., formally opened.
  • Hall of St. Michael's T. A. B. Society, Germantown Ave. above Columbia Ave. dedicated (formerly Cohocksink M.E. Church).
  • February 29. Fire in the laboratory of the chemical works of Powers and Weightman, extending from Brown to Parrish St., and from Ninth to Knox St. Loss, estimated $200,000.
  • March 6. Fire at the oil-cloth works of George W. Blabon & Co., Nicetown, destroying the coating, grinding and printing buildings. Loss, $150,000.
  • March 15. Fire at spice manufactory of A. Colburn & Co., Broad St. above Arch. Loss, $75.000.
  • March 31. The first trains run on the Schuylkill Valley branch of the Pennsylvania R. R., from Broad Street station to Bala, Philadelphia city.
  • April 7. New city government organized. William B. Smith inaugurated as Mayor; James R. Gates elected president of Select Council and Charles Lawrence president of Common Council.
  • Fire at malt-house of Frederick Fischer, Thompson St. west of thirty-second. Loss, $55,000.
  • May 7. Fire at the Philadelphia home-made bread and biscuit bakery of George W. Jones, 1429-1431 N. Twelfth St. Loss, $16,000.
  • May 11. Cornerstone laid of monastery of the Redemptorist Fathers of St. Bonifacius' Church, Hancock and Diamond Streets.
  • May 12. Stockholders of the West Philadelphia Passenger Railway Company ratified a lease of their road to the Philadelphia Traction Company for nine hundred and ninety-nine years, on a contract to pay each stockholder ten dollars per share annually, in half-yearly payments.
  • New Schuylkill Valley branch of the Pennsylvania P. R. Company formally opened as far as Manayunk.
  • May 14. Iron side-wheel steamer Hero, built for service on the Orinoco River, South America, launched form the yard of the America Shipbuilding Company, Port Richmond. Length, 110 feet; beam, 22 feet; depth of hold, 8 feet.
  • May 18. West Tasker Street Presbyterian mission chapel, Eighteenth and Tasker Sts., dedicated.
  • June 4. Iron steamship Eureka, built for the Morgan Line; between New York and New Orleans, launched from the shipyard of Wm. Cramp & Son. Length, 350 feet; breadth of beam, 42-1/2 feet; depth of hold, 32-1/2 feet; engine, 1800 horse-power.
  • June 14. Collision on the Camden and Amboy R. R. near Ashland; two trains going in opposite directions on the same track ran into each other. Eight persons killed and nine badly wounded.
  • June 15. Spring regatta of Schuylkill Navy National Course; 1-1/2 miles straight away. Prizes: Junior sculls West Philadelphia Club, 10 m. 39-1/2 s.; Senior sculls, Pennsylvania, 10 m. 17-1/2 s.; pair-oar shells, West Philadelphia, 10 m. 38-1/4 s.; ;light four-oared shells, Crescent, 9 m. 46-1/2 s.; Junior four-oared gigs, Pennsylvania, a.m. 30 s.; Senior four-oared gigs, Pennsylvania, 9 m. 1 s.; six-oared barges, Malta, 9 m. 23 s.; eight-oared shells, University, 8 m. 12-1/2 s.
  • June 17-19. Tournament of the Quaker City Bicycle Club for all wheelmen in the United States and Canada commenced at Jumbo Park, Broad and Dickinson St.
  • June 18. Fire at Carr & Crawley's hardware and malleable iron works, Ninth and Jefferson Sts. Loss, $45,000.
  • June 19. Sixth inter-collegiate boat race for the Childs challenge cup, between the crews of Princeton College, New Jersey, of Cornell University, New York, and of the University of Pennsylvania. Flat-Rock course, on the Schuylkill; 1-1/2 miles straight away. Won by the University of Pennsylvania by half a length. Time, 7 m. 6-1/4 seconds.
  • June 20. Second race between the trotting-horse Scotland and John S. Prince on a bicycle at Jumbo Park; 10 miles. Won by Prince in 33. Minutes and 35-1/4 seconds.
  • June 29. Closing exercises at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, cor. Of Broad St. And Penn Square, the building having been sold by the congregation.
  • June 30. Stockholders of the Union Passenger Railway Company at a special meeting agreed to lease their road to the Philadelphia Traction Company for nine hundred and ninety-nine years.
  • July 10. Eight-oared boat-race for the Sharpless challenge cup over the National Course, Schuylkill River, 1-1/2 miles. Won by the Columbia Boat Club, of Washington, D. C., in 8.06-3/4, being 5-1/4 seconds faster than any previous record.
  • July 17. Ground broken at N.E. cor. Susquehanna Av., and Twentieth St. for the hospital of the Woman's Homeopathic Association.
  • August 1. The old Chestnut Street skating rink, N. W. Cor. Twenty-third and Chestnut Sts., occupied by John Wanamaker for the manufacture of furniture and for storage purposes, and Phelan's lumber-yard, Twenty-third St., burned, together with considerable property on the south side of Chestnut between Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Sts. Loss, $160,000.
  • August 4. Machine-shop, store-room and pattern-loft of Baldwin Locomotive Works, Broad and Buttonwood Sts., partially burned. Loss, $150,000.
  • August 10. At 2:09 P.M. an earthquake shock, followed by another was felt in the city, accompanied by a rumbling sound. Buildings were shaken, bells rung, sashes rattled, doors sprung, various articles in some places thrown off of the shelves and tables, and people prostrated. The time of continuance of the shock was estimated at from 4 to 8 seconds.
  • August 13. Fire at drying-room of Theodore Morganstern's dye-house, Third and Huntingdon Sts. Loss, $35,000.
  • August 15. At Belmont Park the trotting-horse Jay-Eye-See, on a trial with the intention of excelling the former record of a mile in 2.1, trotted one heat in 2.1-1/4. Phallas, with the intention of beating his former record of 2.13-3/4, trotted one heat in 2.13 1/4.
  • August 20. Most Rev. P. J. Ryan, D. D., LL. D., archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, installed at the Cathedral by bishops and clergy of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • September 2. International Electrical Exhibition, under the auspices of the Franklin Institute, formally opened by Mayor William B. Smith and Governor Robert E. Pattison. Main Exhibition Building bounded by Lancaster Ave., Thirty-second and Thirty-third Sts. Front on the avenue, 283 feet; towers at the corners, 60 feet high; main roof central Gothic arch, 100 feet span, with two smaller arches 30 feet span. There were annexes, principal among which was the old Pennsylvania Railroad Station, on the east side of Thirty-second St. With railroad sheds and other buildings. Exhibition closed October 11th. Visitors, 285,000.
  • September 4. Councils passed resolutions directing the superintendent of electrical department to notify all telegraph, telephone, and electrical-light companies operating in city to remove their overhead wires, in compliance with ordinance of June 13, 1882, and place the same under ground before January 1, 1885.
  • September 12. Saw-mill of Bonta & Fenderich, Nos. 1063-1067 Germantown Ave., Loss, $15,000.
  • September 13. Annual regatta of the Fairmount Rowing Association on the National Course, Schuylkill River. Huhn challenge cup won by N. Hayes; time, 10.03-1/5. Four-oared shells won by the Hayes crew, 9.38-1/2; six-oared barges, Walsh crew, 10.34.
  • September 14. Cornerstone laid of new parochial building of St. Vincent de Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Germantown.
  • Cornerstone laid of new building for Monumental Baptist Church, Forty-first above Chestnut St.
  • September 15. Fire at wood carpet factory of J. W. Boughten & Co., Willow St. below Thirteenth. Loss, $50,000.
  • Forepaugh's Dime Museum, Eighth St. Below Vine, opened for the first time.
  • September 18. Bronze equestrian statue of Major General John Fulton Reynolds, by John Robers, sculptor, unveiled on the northern front of the new City Hall.
  • September 20. Fire at repairing-shop of W. D. Rodgers & Co.'s carriage-works, Tenth and Chestnut Sts. Loss, $50,000.
  • September 21. Chestnut Street Dime Museum opened in the old Masonic Hall building, Chestnut St. Above Seventh. Closed October 29th.
  • September 23. Annual convention of the National Council of the Order of United American Mechanics, at Elks' Hall, Eleventh and Chestnut Sts.
  • September 25. Penn National Bank commenced business in its new building, S. W. Cor. Seventh and Market Sts.
  • September 26. New building of the P .E. Church of the Crucifixion, Bainbridge St. above Eighth, dedicated.
  • September 29. Centennial celebration of the foundation of Freemasonry in the United States among colored persons by the establishment of African Lodge at Boston, Mass. Parade of Grand and Master Masons' Lodges of fourteen States and a reception.
  • October 1. New grounds of the Philadelphia Cricket Club, Wissahicken station, Schuylkill Valley Railroad, formally opened.
  • October 5. Cornerstone laid of Roman Catholic Church of St. Leo, cor. Keystone and Unruh Sts., Tacony.
  • Track of the Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railroad between Camden and Atlantic City changed from narrow gauge to standard gauge.
  • October 13. Collision of trains on West Jersey Railroad, Camden. One man killed and six injured.
  • October 21. Fire at oil-refinery of Crew, Levick & Co., 111 and 113 Union St. Loss, with damage to adjoining buildings, $30,000.
  • November 23. St. Mark's German Reformed Church, Fifth St. above Huntingdon, rebuilt, rededicated.
  • Fire at furniture manufactory of W. T. Richardson, 1204-1210 Frankford Ave. Loss, $15,000.
  • November 24. New Line of People's passenger Railway Company, via Susquehanna Ave., from Eighth to Twenty-second St., and by way of Islington Lane and Twenty-third to Norris St. and east on Norris to Germantown Ave., on Fourth St., to Walnut, and Eighth St., to Susquehanna Ave., opened for travel.
  • December 9. Fire at 526 and 528 North St., occupied by Scott Paper Company (Limited), Edwards & Docker and Henry P. Heppe, paper-bag manufacturers, and George Miller & Son, confectioners. Loss, $60,000.
  • December 10. Fire in furniture-factory of Clark Bros. & Co., 239, 241, 243 Levant St. Communicated to adjoining properties on Levant St. And west side of Second St. Loss, estimated, $145,000.

< 1883 1885 >

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

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