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1886 1888

Philadelphia Timeline, 1887


  • January 3. Fire at J. R. Applegate's photograph gallery, Eighth and Vine SSTs. Loss, 5,000.
  • January 7. Fire at the office of the Evening Telegraph newspaper, at Nos. 106 and 108 S. Third St., C. E. Warburton, proprietor, which also damaged the office of Howard Gell & Co., brokers, No. 110, and of MacDonald & Conrad, grain-merchants, No. 106. Loss, $30,000.
  • January 9. Explosion — supposed of dynamite — in a shanty at Thirteenth and Stiles Sts. Building totally destroyed and a watchman killed. The report was heard as far north as Chestnut Hill and the shock felt at Burlington and Princeton, NJ. Houses on Girard Ave. and from Twenty-eighth to Thirty-first St., and in intersecting streets, suffered by breakage of sashes and window-panes.
  • January 10. New Lyceum Theatre, Vine St. below Eighth, formerly Miller's Varieties, rebuilt and improved, reopened with the play of Jack Cade by Collier's company.
  • January 11. Ninth National Bank opened for business at its new building, Front and Norris Sts.
  • January 12. The examiner and master to whom had been referred the equity suit arising in consequence of the failure of the Shackamaxon Gank filed his report, deciding that the amount; lost by the bank was $430,210,.29, and the defendants, Thomas L. Huggard, cashier of the bank, and Samuel P. Milligan, teller, were chargeable with the whole amount; also that Joseph Concklin was liable for $149,538.23, the estate of William Bumm, deceased, $285,823.42; G. W. and W. H. Bumm, surviving partners, $136,285.13, and G. W. and W. H. Bumm, new partners, $4,720.39.
    Fire at curled-hair and glue factory of Delany & Co., Hancock and Jefferson Streets. Loss, $12,000.
    Fire at No. 511 Market Street, occupied by Louis Echner & Bros., manufacturers of neckwear. Loss, $22,000.
  • January 13. Fire at North Star Hotel, Main Street, Frankford, which destroyed the barn, haysheds and hay. thirty horses perished in the flames. Loss, $26,000.
  • January 14. Fire at No 236 Market Street, occupied by M. Garlic, boots and shoes; W. Allshin, leather, and Gibbs & Wesley, shoe manufacturers, with damages to Wolf & Marks, clothiers, No. 238. Loss $26,000.
  • January 23. New chapel of East Montgomery avenue M.E. Church, corner Frankford Road and Montgomery Avenue, formally dedicated.
  • January 27. Fire at Armstrong, Craig & Co.'s wholesale paper warehouse, Nos., 12 and 14 So. Sixth Street, and Garrett & Buchanan, paper dealers. Loss $50,000.
  • February 1. New building of the Northwestern National Bank, Ridge and Girard Avenues, opened for business.
  • February 2. The toboggan slide erected for the use of the public in Fairmount Park at the expense of William M. Signally, used fro the first time. Width of the slide, 34 feet; length of the slide and the ground to be covered, 2200 feet.
  • February 18. Lawrence Donovan of New York and Brooklyn Bridge into the East River, and from the suspension bridge at Niagara, jumped from Chestnut Street bridge at Niagara, jumped from Chestnut Street bridge, Schuylkill, a distance of 82 feet. When rescued, he was arrested and bound over to keep the peace.
  • February 21. Six days go-as-please race for the championship of the world commenced at the Chestnut Street Rink. forty-one entries; forty starters. During the week thirty-two men dropped out. final score: Robert Vint, 530 miles, securing diamond belt and large proportion of entrance money. The remainder of money was distributed to F. Hart, 518 miles 8 laps: Peter J. Panchot, 511 miles; A. Bennett, 506 miles 3 laps; George D. Noremac, 500 miles. The other men who were in the race at the close went Elson, 362 miles; Tilly, 352 miles 2 laps, and Newhart, 291 miles 8 laps.
  • February 25. The Philadelphia Traction Company gave notice that on and after the 1st of April the fare on all lines controlled by the company would be five cents for a single ride, with privileges of transfer at other points formerly freely given.
  • March 1. The Traction Company announced a reduction of fare to five cents, and transfers without extra charge.
  • March 4. People's Passenger Railway Company reduced fare for all passengers except infants in arms to five cents, including all existing transfer privileges.
  • March 7. the Traction Company and all the other passenger railway companies commenced carrying passengers at five cent fares. Exchange tickets between other roads than the Traction, Ridge Avenue and People's Passenger Railway systems seven cents.
  • March 21. Stable and hayloft of the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Streets Passenger Railway Company, at Cumberland and Carlisle Streets, burned. Loss, $8,000.
  • March 22. ground broken at N. E, corner Ninth Street and Lehigh Avenue, for new German Lutheran Church of the Cross Church dedicated November 6. The firm of James and John Hunter, manufacturers of cotton goods, at Hestonville and Norristown, failed, and made a general assignment in favor of creditors. the failure was caused by the discovery that of $400,000 worth of promissory notes issued by the firm, less than $55,000 had genuine endorsement; the rest were forged. the assets appraised at $154,34428.
  • April 4. The amended charter of the city of Philadelphia — usually called the Bullitt Law — went into operation, the principal change being investing in the Mayor full authority to act as the chief executive officer of the city, to cause the ordinances of the city and the laws of the State to get enforced, and to be responsible for the good order and efficient government of the city; the Mayor also to be responsible for the appointment and removal of heads of the departments of Public Safety, Public works, Genl. Louis E. Wagner; Director of Public Safety, William S. Stokley; Director of charities and Correction, Dr. James W. White, president; Richard C, McMurtrie, Dr. Richard A, Cleeman, Robert Laughlin, James Stewart, directors.
  • April 8. John Wanamaker announced that he would introduce the plan of profit-sharing with his employees.
  • April 13. Steam ferry boat Atlantic, of the Cooper's Point ferry line, burned in the upper portion at Vine Street Wharf, Camden. Loss, $30,000.
  • April 25. Manufacturers' Club of Philadelphia, formed at a meeting held at the Continental Hotel.
  • May 1. At midnight, at the Elite Skating Rink, corner twenty-third and Chestnut Streets, six days go-as-you-Please walking match commenced. There where forty-eight entries and forty-one starter. The match ended May 7 with the following records for the winning contestants: there were forty-eight entries and forty-one starters. The Match ended May 7 with the following records for the winning contestants: Strokel, 515 miles; Albert, 505 miles; Noremac, 492 miles; Hart, 485 miles.
  • May 4. Annual class races of the University of Pennsylvania for the Powel cup, eight-oared shells, won by juniors. time, 8.324/5. The prize was awarded to the sophomores upon claim of irregularity in the makeup of the junior crew.
  • May 6. Special jury to inquire into the mental condition of W. Ellwood rowan, Sheriffm reported to the Court of Common Pleas that by reason of lunacy he was incapable of managing his estate and that he had been incapable for eight months last past and upward, without lucid intervals.
  • May 7. Last block of marble required for the construction of the new city hall placed on the tower, at a height of 337 feet 4 inches from the ground.
  • May 12. hay sheds and other buildings at Burgin & Sons', glass factory, Montgomery Avenue above Girard Avenue, destroyed by fire, with damage to swelling houses on Palmer Street. Loss, $2,000.
  • May 19. Girard College grounds lighted for the first time with thirty-five electric lights placed upon seven towers, each 125 feet high. iron steamship Josefita, intended for the Cuban trade, launched from the shipyard of Neafie & Levy. Length, 230 feet; beam, 34 feet, depth of hold, 21 feet; 1500 tons register.
  • May 22. Margaret Harvey, Theodore Murphy, Catharine Murphy, Jeremiah Murphy and Dennis Crimmins drowned in the
  • November 2. Lease of the Lombard and South Street Passenger Railway lines by the People's Passenger railway company rescinded. Fire at stone factory building, and engine house, Wister Station, Germantown, belonging to estate of John Bromley and occupied by Henry F. Scatchard, William R. Taylor and Stirling & Son, manufacturers of yarns. Loss, $115,000.
  • November 4. Fire at saw and planing mill Broad and North Streets, occupied by the Fite, Arbelo company and D. W. Nudd, sash, door and blind manufacturer. Loss, $21,000.
  • November 11. Explosion of gasoline at No. 908 Sansom Street. Fourteen men burned and injured. Six died.
  • November 12. Fire at saw and planing mill, Nos. 928 and 032 N. third Street, occupied by John Dick, tool-grinder; Casper Miller. Turner; J. H. McClosky, carpet-cleaner; H. B. & J. C. Petty, picture frames and others. Loss, $25,000.
  • November 21. The southern section East Park Reservoir, being completed, was formally placed in use. Henry V. Lesley and James A. L. Wilson, formerly secretary and treasurer of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal Company, pleaded guilty in the Court of Quarter Sessions to an indictment to defraud the company, and were sentenced respectively to eight and six years imprisonment.
  • November 26. Six days go-as-you-please pedestrian contest, at Chestnut Street Rink, finished. Score: Littlewood, 569 miles; Albert 530; Panchot, 511; Noremac, 501; Elson, 500.
  • November 29. the Harbor Commission and the Advisory board of United States Engineers held a meeting at the office of the Wardens of the Port to consult with merchants and citizens, and to hear their views in reference to the improvement of the harbor of Philadelphia by the removal of Smith's and Windmill Islands, in the Delaware, and the extension of wharves into the stream.
  • December 27. Thomas L. Huggard, late cashier of the Shackamaxon Bank; Samuel P. Milligan, late teller; George W. Bumm and William H. Bumm, directors, put on trial to answer the charge of conspiracy to defraud the bank previous to the failure which took place May 29, 1885. Huggard pleaded guilty, and sentenced to one year and three months' imprisonment; Milligan and George W. Bumm convicted and sentenced to one year's imprisonment each; William H. Bumm acquitted. Gorge W. Bumm pardoned July 17.

< 1886 1888 >

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

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