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1871 1873

Philadelphia Timeline, 1872


  • January 1. Hon. William S. Stokley inaugurated as Mayor of the city.
  • January 21. The new Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception at Front and Canal Streets opened with appropriate ceremonies.
  • Water pumped for the first time into the new reservoir of the Delaware Water Works at Sixth Streets and Lehigh Avenue.
  • February 4. Central Presbyterian Church, corner of Franklin and Thompson Streets, dedicated.
  • February 17. The new Philadelphia Orthopedic Hospital, Seventeenth and Summer Streets, formally opened.
  • Steam-propelled Claymont sinks at Girard Wharf, about Market Street.
  • February 22. Meeting of the surviving soldiers of the War of 1812.
  • March 4. Centennial commission meets at Independence Hall.
  • New hall of the Philadelphia Rifle Club (Schuetzen Verein), North Third Street below Green, opened.
  • March 20. Simmons & Slocum's Opera House, 1005-07 Arch Street, burned.
  • March 25. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company commenced business at their new office, Fourth Street and Willings Alley.
  • April 2. Joseph Wittle, lion-tamer, mangled by a lion at "Porgey" O'Brian's menagerie, Frankford.
  • April 7. Trinity Reformed Church, Seventh Street below Oxford, dedicated.
  • April 17. The Public Buildings Commission annulled a former resolution directing that the buildings should be constructed upon the four Penn Squares, and ordering the erection of one building at he intersection of Broad and Market Streets.
  • May 5. Friend's Meeting House, northwest corner of Seventeenth Street and Girard Avenue, was opened for the first time for public worship.
  • May 27. Steam boiler explodes at the factory of Troth, Gordon & Co., Crease Street above Griard Avenue. Two persons killed and six injured.
  • June 1. The new Lincoln Market, corner of Broad and Coates (Fairmount Avenue) Streets, opened for business. (Later on site of the Hotel Lorraine).
  • June 13. National Amateur Regatta on the Schuylkill.
  • August 1. Spotted Tail, with eighteen other Indians and their wives, of the Upper Brule, Sioux tribe, arrived in this city, and the next day went upon an excursion to Cape May.
  • August 9. The Post Office Commission decided that the new post office should be placed on the lot northwest corner of Ninth and Chestnut Streets, containing 176 feet 9 inches on Chestnut Street and 378 feet 9 inches on Ninth Street.
  • The first stone of the foundation walls of the Public Buildings at Broad and Market Streets was laid at the southwest corner of the southwest square.
  • August 15. The iron steamship Pennsylvania, the first vessel of the American Steamship Company of Philadelphia, launched at Cramps' shipyard, Beach and Norris Streets. The ship was 355 feet over all in length, with a beam of 45 feet, a depth of 43 feet and a capacity of 3016 tons.
  • September 21. International Cricket Match between the English gentlemen 12 and 22 Philadelphia picked cricketers on the grounds of the Germantown Club, closed September 24th with the following score: Philadelphia, 22, first inning, 63; second inning, 74. English 12 first inning, 105; second inning, 34, with four wickets to go down.
  • September 23. Cornerstone of the Roman Catholic Church of St. Elizabeth laid at the southeast corner of Twenty-third and Berks Streets.
  • September 28. Fall regatta of the Schuylkill Navy. Prize for single sculls won by Max Schmitt, three miles in 22m, 30s. Prize for six-oared barges was by the Iona of the Crescent Club, time, 21m, 34s. Prize for Junior single sculls won by Frank Street of the Pennsylvania Club, time 23m,33s. Prize for four-oared gigs won by the Pennsylvania Club, time, 20m, 20s. Prize for double scull gigs won by the Ariel of the University Club, time, 24m.
  • September 30. Medicine Bear, Long Fox, Red Thunder and thirty-one others of the Teton and Grand River Sioux Indians arrived in the city in charge of the Indian agents.
  • October 5. The managers of the German Hospital took formal possession of their new hospital, corner of Girard Avenue and Corinthian Avenue. Removing from their old location at Twentieth and Norris Streets.
  • October 7. New depot of the Reading Railroad Company at Chelten Avenue, Germantown, opened.
  • October 9. Cornerstone laid of the Jewish Hospital, Olney Road, near the York Pike.
  • October 11. The new building of the University of Pennsylvania at Thirty-fourth and Locust Streets, was dedicated.
  • October 26. Big Mouth, Milky Way and forty-five other Indians of the Comanche, Kiowa, Arrapalio, Apache, Washita, Caddo, Delaware, Kihi and Tawa Earac tribes arrived from Washington and were taken to the Girard House (Hotel, N. E. corner Ninth and Chestnut Streets).
  • October 28. The "epizooty," or horse disease, made its appearance in Philadelphia. It continued its ravages for about a month; during that time almost every horse in the city was affected. Two of the passenger railway companies during this period suspended the running of cars for six days; others suspended on Sundays, and ran but few cars on weekdays. The transportation of goods and other articles almost ceased for some days, and wagons and carts were drawn through the streets by men.
  • October 30. Cornerstone laid of the building of the Academy of Natural Sciences, S. W. corner Nineteenth and Race Streets.
  • The Ohio, the second iron steamship of the American Steamship Company, was launched at Cramps' Shipyard, Port Richmond.
  • November 11. Funeral of Major General George G. Meade, with impressive public ceremonies.
  • November 18. Meeting of committee of three hundred citizens appointed to obtain subscriptions to the stock of the corporation which is to manage the great Centennial Exposition of Industry of 1876.
  • November 20. The tercentenary of Presbyterianism was celebrated at the Penn Square Church, Broad Street above Chestnut.
  • November 27. City Councils fix the tax rate at $2.05, with ten cents public buildings tax.
  • November 28. Race on Schuylkill between eight-oared English-built shells. Won by boat Longfellow of Crescent Club, over Leviathan of Undine Club. Course 2-1/2 miles; time, 11.15m.
  • December 6. Fire at Warrington & Co.'s pen factory, northwest corner of Twelfth and Buttonwood Streets; loss, $25,000.
  • December 12. Edwin Forrest, the tragedian, dies.
  • December 15. St. Bonifacius R. C. Church, corner Hancock and Diamond Streets, dedicated.
  • German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Peter, Forty-second and Myrtle Streets, West Philadelphia, dedicated.
  • Lehigh Avenue M. E. Church, Lehigh Avenue and Hancock Street, dedicated.
  • December 20. Fire at the stables of Forepaugh's circus and menagerie (winter quarters) Wister Street above Mill, Germantown: loss $100,000.
  • December 22. German Methodist Episcopal Church, York Street above Frankford Avenue, dedicated.
  • St. Elizabeth's R. C. Church, Twenty-third and Berks Streets, dedicated.
  • Grace Mission Presbyterian Church, Twenty-second and Federal Streets, dedicated.
  • December 30. Protestant Episcopal Church, St. James, Hestonville, consecrated.
  • December 31. Gottfried Kuehnle was killed at his residence and bakery, Frankford Road below Girard Avenue. Frederick Heidenblut, a journeyman under employ, tried for the crime, convicted and hung for the murder, January 20, 1875.

< 1871 1873 >

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

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