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1879 1881

Philadelphia Timeline, 1880


  • January 12. Brickmakers' Union formed at a meeting held at \federal Hall, Seventeenth and Federal Streets.
  • January 14. Fire at spring factory of John Scott, Newmarket and Pollard Streets, which also destroyed Jacob J. Plucker & Co.'s
  • furniture factory and damaged the furniture factory of S. Oetzel, J. Worthington's machine shop, and J. Buckley & Co.'s hub and spoke works. Loss, $55,000.
  • January 15. The Darby Plank Road from Forty-ninth Street to the county line passed into the possession of the city by purchase.
  • January 25. Fire at the establishment of Stephen S. Whitman & Sons, S. W. corner. of Twelfth and Market Streets. Loss, $70,000.
  • January 26. Twenty-two locomotive engines belonging to the Reading Railroad Company were seized at the Port Richmond depot by U. S. Internal Revenue Collector, by instruction from Washington, upon a claim of the U. S. Government for taxes on scrip issued by the company in 1878-79.
  • February 2. Fire at furniture factory of John A. Elbert, on Edward and Lydia Streets, above Hancock. Loss, $60,000.
  • Fire at Keystone Flour Mill, corner. of Leopard Street and Girard Avenue, occupied by Stetler & Co., millers. Loss, $25,000.
  • February 9. Fire at Clifton Mills, Berks Street between Hope and Howard Streets. Loss, $191,000.
  • Meeting a subscribers to a proposed bank, at which it was resolved that the institution should be organized with a capital of $600,000, under the title of "The Merchants' National Bank of Philadelphia."
  • February 19. Philadelphia Library building, N. E. corner. Fifth and Library Streets, closed.
  • March 8. Birth of a female elephant, said to be the first born in captivity, at Cooper & Bailey's London Circus and Menagerie stables, Ridge Avenue and Twenty-fourth Street.
  • March 25. The new Merchants' National Bank commenced business at the former building of the Provident Insurance Company, Fourth below Chestnut Street.
  • Stable of the Richmond branch of the Union Passenger Railway Company, Thompson and Norris Streets, burned. Loss $20,000.
  • April 1. Fire at N. W. corner. Twelfth and Noble Streets, factory occupied by J. Conaway & Co., manufacturers of umbrella frames. Loss, $100,000.
  • April 7. Fire at the tea and coffee store of John Lamont (an eccentric character) 51 South Second Street. Loss, $20,000.
  • April 11. Mrs. Elizabeth E. Goersen died at the house of her husband, 255 East Cumberland Street. Coroner's jury found that her death was occasioned by poisoning with arsenic, administered by her husband, Dr. Alfred G. F. Goersen. On the 19th of April Corner's jury also found that Mrs. Elizabeth F. Souder, mother-in-law of Dr. Goersen, who died on the 25th of March, was poisoned by him. Dr. Goersen was convicted of murder.
  • April 29. Under the name of Ridgeway Park, Smith's Island, in the Delaware opposite the city, improved with new buildings and other arrangements, was opened to the public as a place of resort.
  • May 17. Fire at Gardener's Continental Brewery, Twenty-first Street and Washington Avenue. Loss, $75,000.
  • May 21. Reading Railroad Company and Reading Coal and Iron Company suspended payment, causing great excitement.
  • June 4. Fire at Patton, Allison & Jones cotton-mill, Washington Avenue above Twelfth Street. Loss, $30,000.
  • June 16. New railroad to Atlantic City, via the West Jersey Railroad to Newfield, formally opened.
  • June 24. Fire at Nice's Sash Mill, Third and Marriat Streets. Loss, $100,000.
  • June 28. Inter-collegiate boat race for the Child's' challenge cup, on the Schuylkill River, between the crews of Columbia College, N. Y.; University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton, N. J., won by Columbia, beating the University 7 inches. Time, 9.043/4.
  • Fire at hosiery mills, Crease Street above Girard Avenue. Loss, $30,000.
  • July 4. Steamboat Argonauta, of the Ridgeway Park line, ran down a small boat near the foot of Otis Street. Kate Mahey and three children were drowned.
  • July 7, 8, 9. Eighth annual regatta of the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen, national course, Schuylkill River. Prizes, single sculls, J. A. Whitaker, Pawtucket Club, R. I., 10.43; senior single sculls, F. J. Mumford, Perseverance Club, New Orleans, La.; double sculls, Pawtucket Club, R. I., 9.41; pair-oars, Gorman Bros, Albany Club, N. Y. 10.17; four-oared shells, Hillsdale Club, Mich., 8.53; six-oared shells, Mutual, Albany, N. Y., 8.51; eight-oared shells, Douglas, New York City, 8.53.
  • August 11. Excursion by congregation of St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church to Atlantic City by the West Jersey Railroad route, carrying about 1,300 persons. Collision between two sections of the train on the return trip at May's Landing, N. J. at 6:30 P. M. One person was killed outright. Thirty-two persons were scalded by escaping steam, of whom twenty-five subsequently died.
  • August 18. Arrival of the steam yacht Anthracite, claimed to be the smallest steam vessel that ever crossed the Atlantic. Length, 85 feet; breadth of beam, 16 feet; depth of hold, 10 feet; tonnage, 28 tons.
  • August 25. Fire at the W. B. Thomas flour-mill, N. W. Thomas corner. Thirteenth and Noble Streets. Loss estimated at $200,000. William Miller, foreman of the mills, overwhelmed in the falling ruins and killed.
  • September 3. Fire at Marshall Bros.' Rolling Mill, Beach and Marlborough Streets. Loss $50,000.
  • September 6. Tenth anniversary of the Declaration of the French Republic celebrated at Rising Sun Park, Allegheny Ave. and Germantown Ave.
  • September 12. monument and bronze statue of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks dedicated at Mount Moriah Cemetery.
  • September 13-14. International cricket-match at the Nicetown field between twelve Canada and twelve United States players. Score, United States, first inning, 70; second inning, 168; total, 238. Canada, first inning, 83; second, 7; total, 90. There were six wickets down in
  • the second Canada inning when at night the stumps were drawn, and the game declared a draw, according to the rules.
  • September 15-16. Cricket at Ardmore between the Canadian players and the Merion Club. Score, Canada, first inning, 57; second inning, 85 total, 142. Merion, first inning 138; second, 6; total, 144, with eight wickets to go down.
  • September 20. The new Chestnut Street Opera House, formerly Fox's American Theatre, rebuilt and refurnished, opened for the first time, under the management of George K. Goodwin, with the drama of the Danicheffs.
  • October 4. The epizooty, or horse disease epidemic in the city , Large numbers of animals affected, but the disease much milder than was the case in 1872.
  • October 12. Stone flour mill, Mill Street, Holmelsbuth, totally destroyed by fire. Loss, $12,000. This mill was the oldest in Pennsylvania, having been erected in 1697.
  • October 17. New Roman Catholic Church of St. Joachim, Frankford, dedicated.
  • October 22. Fore at the yarn factory of Dixon & Roberts, Canal Street above Lawrence Street and Girard Ave., also occupied by Alexander & John McConnell, morocco manufacturers. Loss, $86,000.
  • October 27. Cornerstone laid of East Baptist Church, Hanover Street above Girard Avenue.
  • November 3. New House of the Good Shepherd, Thirty-fifth and Silvertown Ave., Roman Catholic, first occupied by the sisterhood.
  • November 7. St. Peter's P.E. Church, Germantown, was consecrated, being out of dept.
  • Fourth Moravian Church, Hancock Street above Dauphin, dedicated.
  • December 23. Fire at B. Crawford's tannery, Sixth Street east side) above Thompson. Loss, $25,000.

< 1879 1881 >

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

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