Philadelphia Timeline, 1896
- January 4. The handsome club house of the Merion Cricket Club at Haverford, with all its contents was destroyed by fire of unknown origin. The Casino building, adjoining was also burned. The loss was estimated at $75,000, nearly covered by insurance.
- January 30. The third floor of 132 South Third Street was discovered to be ablaze, and a firearm found the charred body of Dr. Alfred L. Kennedy, formerly a widely-known physician and scientist, who occupied the apartments. It is supposed the fire was caused by an explosion of chemicals with which the doctor was experimenting. he was in his seventy-eight year.
- February 20. The four-story building, 36 South Second Street, owned and occupied by A. J. Widener, lamps, china and glassware, was destroyed by fire. Mr. Widener, lamps, china and glassware was destroyed by fire. Mr. Widener estimated his loss at $50,000, on which there was about $40,000 insurance.
- March 9. The first train crossed the new bridge over the Delaware River. It carried President Roberts and many other officials of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
- March 11. A fire in the basement of Crew, Levick & Co.'s., also tobacco dealers, 115 Arch Street, nearly $70,000 their stocks being greatly damaged by water and smoke.
- March 28. The battleship Iowa was launched at Cramps' shipyards, Vice-President Stevenson, Secretary of the Navy Herbert and other distinguished men came from Washington to witness the launch.
- March 31. Ira Gibson, a florist and truck farmer, residing near Woodbury, shot and killed Sallie March, proprietor of a farmers' hotel near Second and South Streets, and then fired a bullet into his own head, inflicting a mortal wound.
- April 8. Trustees of the Jefferson Medical College bought the northwest corner of Tenth and Walnut Streets, 118 feet 6 inches on Walnut Street by 107 feet 5 inches on Tenth Street to Medical Street, and will erect thereon commodious hospital buildings.
- April 13. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its incorporation.
- April 18. The old passenger station of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, at Thirty-second and Market Streets was destroyed by fire, causing a loss of nearly half a million dollars, of which more than $300.000 was on rolling stock. Assistant Chief Engineer William Staiger and Hugh McGranigan, a tillerman of Truck F., were killed, and a dozen firemen were injured by falling walls.
- May 18. By the explosion of benzine, with which the contents of the parlor of 2013 North Twelfth Street had been sprinkled, preparatory to the departure of the family for the summer, Rosie Griggs was fatally burned and the house destroyed. The explosion is ascribed to spontaneous combustion.
- May 30. The Garfield Monument, in Fairmount Park, was unveiled with impressive ceremonies.
- June 7. The new Methodist Episcopal Church of St. Luke, at Broad and Jackson Streets, was dedicated by Bishop Foss.
- June 21. Archbishop Ryan laid the cornerstone of the new Catholic Proctectory for Boys at Fatlands, Montgomery County, in the presence of about 25,000 people.
- September 3. Viceroy Li Hung Chang, the Special Ambassador of the Emperor of China, spent six hours in Philadelphia.
- September 23. The property of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company and the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company was sold at auction under the decree of the United States Circuit Court in the foreclosure suit brought by the trustees of the general mortgage bongs, The total of the bids was $20,500,000. The properties were purchased for the reorganization managers, represented by J. P. Morgan & Co., of New York, who were the only bidders.
- November 10. The Fairmount park trolley was formally opened, a party of three hundred guests being taken over the completed portion of the line in the West park.
- November 13. The battleship Iowa returned from her builders' trial trip. In a Two-hours' burst of speed the vessel averaged 16.27 knots per hour, and in other respects the runs were satisfactory.
- November 17. The Philadelphia and reading Railroad Company, the successor of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company, organized with Joseph S. Harris as President, and these Directors: George F. Baer, of Reading; Charles H. Coster and Francis Lynde Stetson, of New York; Thomas McKean, George C. Thomas and J. Lowber Welsh.
- November 25. A sub-committee of Councils' Committee on City property agreed to recommend a plot of fifty-four acres in the Twenty-fifth Ward, fronting on the Delaware River, north of Pennsylvania Railroad's new bridge, as a site for a municipal hospital. The price asked for the property was $200,000.
- December 11. Henry Macmillan's box factory, at Frankfort Avenue and Harridan Street, was almost destroyed by fire. Several adjoining properties were slightly damaged by the flames. The loss was estimated at from $15.000 to $18,000.
- December 19. The revenue cutter Hugh McCullogh was launched at Cramps' shipyard.
Excerpted from "Happenings in ye Olde Philadelphia 1680-1900" by Rudolph J. Walther, 1925, Walther Printing House, Philadelphia, PA