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1897 1899

Philadelphia Timeline, 1898


  • January 3. At the annual meeting of the Board of Education, Samuel B. Huey was chosen President, to succeed Simon Gratz, who declined a renomination and Henry r. Edmund's was elected Vice-President.
  • January 14. The Trustees of the Northern Liberties Gas Works announced a reduction in the price of gas from $1.25 to $1 per 1,000 cubic feet.
  • January 29. George F. Ott's copper, brass finishing and machine works sustained $100,000 damage by fire.
  • February 1. The Union Traction Company took possession of the property of the Hestonville, Mantua and Fairmount Passenger Railway Company.
  • February 16. the steamer Ericsson, of the Galtimore and Philadelphia Steamship Company (Ericsson Line) was capsized by the high wind in the Delaware River near Wilmington, and sunk. Her sixty passengers ere rescued by the tug Laura B.
  • February 18. E. L. Beeler, who is said to have escaped from the County Prison in 1867, after serving one month in a five years' term, was arrested at the Betz Building, where he had gone to appear as a witness in a proceeding in which a well-known politician as contractor who married Beeler's wife in 1882, sought divorce.
  • February 20. Fire destroyed the barrel factory of Christopher Koch, at McKean and Swanson Streets, causing about $14,000 damages, on which there was $11,000 insurance. Six horses were suffocated.
  • February 21. A freight engine jumped from the track at Beach and Ball Streets, stove a hole through a thirty-inch wall of Cramps' machine shop, and, falling over, crushed Engineer Isaac Quigley.
  • March 3. The Seventh National Bank, at Fourth and Market Streets, went into voluntary liquidation, and transferred its business to the Fourth Street National Bank which several months before absorbed the National Bank of the Republic.
  • April 9. The Commercial National Bank was leased to the Atlantic City Railroad Company, controlled by the Reading Railway Company.
  • April 23. Mines were placed in the Delaware River, near Fort Delaware, under the direction of Major C. W. Raymond, United States Engineer, to increase the effectiveness of the system of defences. They were removed at the end of the war.
  • May 9. The Philadelphia tug-boat Thomas G. Smith foundered off the Delaware Capes. Her captain and crew were rescued by a schooner.
  • May 11. A fire destroyed the toy and fancy goods store of McCadden bros., 619 Market Street, and a number of adjoining buildings were badly damaged by fire and water, and caused a loss of $200,000. Three persons, William McCadden, aged 58 year; Charles S. Richardson, 35 years, and Evelyn G. Caldwell, were burned to death.
  • May 13. The old monitor Jason was placed in commission at League Island.
  • May 18. The battleship Alabama was launched at Cramps' shipyard at 12.49 P.M. Miss Mary E. Morgan, daughter of the Alabama Senator, christened the battleship. Only a few persons, mainly members of congress and naval officers, were present, owing to a request for privacy from the Government.
  • May 27. The gunboat Princeton was placed in commission at League Island.
  • June 18. On her builders' trail trip the Japanese cruiser Kasagi, built at Cramps' yard, made twenty-three knots an hour, half a knot more than her contact called for.
  • June 22. The Public Buildings Commission agreed to contract with the Johnson Temperature Regulator Company, of Milwaukee, for a tower clock for the City Hall, for $27,960.
  • June 25. fire destroyed the oilcloth manufactory of Thomas Potter Sons & Co., causing a loss of half a million dollars.
  • June 30. the John Dickinson Square, at Fourth and Tasker Streets, which had been equipped as a public playground under the auspices of the Culture Extension League, was formally opened.
  • July 10. The five-story brick factory building, at the northwest corner of Diamond and American Streets owned by Thomas J. Holton and John Shoemaker, was destroyed by fire. The Philadelphia Linen Company, Champion Machine Company, Olner, Lupton & Company (Women's coatings), and the Franklin Silk Mills, carried on business in the burned structure, and each sustained a heavy loss. The total damage was about $100,000.
  • July 12. The Board of Education elected J. Monroe Willard, principle of the Normal School for Girls, and Andrew J. Morrison to succeed Mr. Willard as principal of the Northeast manual Training School.
  • August 7. Over 100 survivors of Picketts's division of Confederates soldiers arrived in the city from Richmond, Virginia, and attended a Low Mass at the Cathedral, where Archbishop Ryan presided and made an address. the sermon was preached by the Rev. James F. Loughlin, D.D. In the afternoon they were taken to Washington Park.
  • August 20. A yawl, in which there were there were five young men, was run down by the Wilmington Line steamer Brandywine, at the mouth of Schuylkill, and three occupants of the small boat were drowned. They were
  • Harry J. B. Smith, aged 22; James Barr, 20; James G. Lynch, 21. Hugh Coyle and James Bradley were rescued.
  • August 22. The auxiliary cruiser St. Louis arrived from New York to be restored to her former condition, so that she might resume her trip between New York and Southampton.
  • August 31. The auxiliary cruisers Yosemite and Yankee, and the monitor Jason, arrived at League Island.
  • September 8. The officers and crew of the Japanese cruiser Kasagi, nearing completion at Cramps' arrived from Japan and took up quarters on the vessel.
  • September 11. What is believed to have been an explosion of gasoline in the grocery store of Samuel Scottenstein, 1444 South Street, caused the destruction of that and the two adjoining stores and dwellings, the loss of five lives and injuries to sixteen persons.
  • September 13. Peter Schemm, the brewer, committed suicide by jumping from the Goat Island bridge into the rapids at Niagara Falls.
  • September 17. Fire of unknown origin destroyed the four-story grain and storage warehouse of J.T. O'Rourke & Co., 2229-33 America Street, causing a loss of $40,000, on which there were $27,000 insurance.
  • October 4. The will of colonel Joseph M. Bennett, deposited with the Register of Wills, contained a bequest of the Chestnut Street Opera House and adjoining properties, as well as three properties at Thirty-fourth and Walnut Streets, to the University of Pennsylvania to aid in the co-education of women and girls. Colonel Bennett made a number of bequests to relatives and friends, gave 2,000 each to five charitable institutions, and devised his large residuary estate to the Methodist Orphanage. The will was contested by Imogene E. Bennett-Wellens, whom he refused to recognize as his daughter.
  • October 24. The Admiral Schley, one of the four vessels being built for the American Mail Steamship Company, was launched from Cramps' shipped The cruiser Kasagi was transferred by her builders, the Cramps, to Japanese Government.
  • November 23. John W. Keely, inventor of the Keely Motor, was buried at West Laurel Hill.
  • December 9. Harmonie Hall, Eleventh and Brandywine Streets, owned by the Harmonie Singing Society, was damaged by fire to the extent of $40,000

< 1897 1899 >

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

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