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Philadelphia Timeline, 1899


  • January 2. The Board of Education reorganized and re-elected Samuel B. Huey, President; Henry R. Edmunds, Vice-President, and Andrew F. Hammond, secretary.
  • January 9. An illicit whisky still, between fifty and sixty gallons of whisky, and fourteen barrels of mash, were seized in an establishment on Germantown Ave. below Venango Street. Four alleged proprietors were arrested and held in bail for a hearing.
  • February 3. A fire which started in the building at the northwest corner of Thirteen and Hamilton Streets, occupied by William S. Cooper, manufacturer of brass goods, destroyed that structure and the Stewart Building, extending from Hamilton Street to the Reading Railway crossing on Thirteen Street. This building was occupied by the Stewart Cracker Company, the DeKosenko Manufacturing Company, makers of gas and electric fixtures; P. P. Mast & Co., agricultural implements; B. Hooley & Townsend, Machinists, and the lithographers' establishment of Hoover & Co., 450 North Thirteenth Street, were also damaged. The total loss was estimated at $465,000. One fireman was slightly injured by a falling wall.
  • February 4. T.B. Rice's box factory, near Miffin Street Wharf, Delaware River, was damaged by fire to the extent of $ 75,000.
  • February 15. The keel plate for the new battleship Maine was laid at Cramps' shipyard on the anniversary of the destruction of the Maine in the harbor of Havana.
  • February 16. Fire destroyed the three building, 1224,1226 and 1228 Market Street, and the parochial building of St. John's Roman Catholic Church. The total loss was estimated at $7000,000 of which 320,000 was on the drug house of William R. Warner & Co., 1228 Market Street, and $245,000 on N0. 1226, owned by John Wanamaker and occupied as a laundry upholstering establishment, and for the storage of carpets, etc. Fernberger Bros.' liquor store, N0. 1230 Market Street, was badly damaged, as was the Emerson Shoe Store, No. 1224.
  • February. 17. More than two hours after it was believed that the fire at thirteenth and Market Streets was under control, Hugh Duffy, aged 45 years; William J. Chance, aged 25 years, and George W. Steinte, aged 35 years, horsemen, were killed by the fall of floors of the building, 1224 Market Street. Eight other fireman were injured, but not dangerously. At five o'clock in the morning it was found that St. John's Roman Catholic Church was on fire, and despite the utmost efforts of the fire department it was damaged to the extent it was estimated, of $60,000. Several valuable paintings were saved.
  • February 19. Fire in the spinning department of George Campbell & Co.'s Continental Worsted Mills, Twenty-first and Ellsworth Streets, caused about $25,000 damage, covered by insurance.
  • February 23. Stockholders of the Camden and Philadelphia Steamboat Ferry Company and the West Jersey Ferry Company voted in favor of the adoption of a joint agreement of consolidation and merger of the two companies, both of which are controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company.
  • March 13. The charter of the Philadelphia Proctectory for Boys, of which Archbishop Ryan and a number of Roman Catholic clergymen were incorporators, was approved by President Judge Biddle, of Court No. 1. The plant of the Charles Scott Spring company, manufacturers of car springs, occupying about one-half the block bounded by Germantown Avenue. Hancock, Mascher, and Pollard Streets, was destroyed by fire. The loss was estimated at $90,000.
  • March 16. George C. Boldt purchased the minority interest in the Hotel Stratford, and announced his purpose to erect on its site a hotel of a design similar to that of the Waldorf-Astoria, New York City.
  • April 4. The Ward Line steamer Mexico was successfully launched at Cramps' shipyard.
  • April 5. As to the right of the Board of Education to select school sites, the City Solicitor declared that its discretion in such matters is not in any manner under the control of any other body whatsoever; not can such power and duty so imposed by law upon it be by it delegated to others.
  • April 10. A jury was obtained and the taking of testimony was begun in the trial of ex-United States Senator Quay on charges of conspiracy with the late John S. Hopkins, cashier of the People's Bank, to misuse State moneys on deposit in that institution.
  • April 21. M. S. Quay was acquitted by the jury in the Court of Quarter session of the charge of conspiracy under the indictment upon which he was tried.
  • April 27. The heroic bronze equestrian statue of General Grant, erected at Fountain Green by the Fairmount Park Art Association, was unveiled by Miss Rosemary Sartoris, a granddaughter of the General, in the presence of a distinguished assemblage, including President McKinley, Mrs. U. S. Grant, General F. D. Grant, General Miles, members of the Cabinet, Governor Stone and officers of the Army and Navy.
  • May 3. Fire destroyed the clothing store of Bacharach & Co., which covered the triangular block bounded by ridge Avenue, and Thirteenth, Green and Mount Vernon Streets. Sixteen buildings on Thirteenth Street, five on green Street and three on Ridge Avenue were damaged by the flames. A number of firemen were overcome by the intense heat or injured, but none fatally. The total loss was estimated at about $150,000.
  • June 9. A. J. Cassette was elected President of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, at a special meeting, to succeed the late Frank Thompson. James McCrea, of Pittsburgh, was chosen a Director to fill the vacancy caused by Mr. Thompson's death.
  • June 14. The statue of Benjmanin Franklin, erected on the South plaza of the Post Office building as a gift to the city by Justus C. Strawbridge, was unveiled by Miss Margaret Hartman Bache. Postmaster General Smith made the speech of presentation, and Mayor Ashbridge accepted the memorial for the city.
  • June 19. Eight or ten masked men entered the office of the Fairmount Park Transportation company, near Belmont, after the cars had ceased running for the night, and after overpowering the receiver and five other employee's, whose hands and feet they bound with wire, threatening them with death if they resisted or made any noise, force opened the safe with powder or dynamite, and abstracted $3,355.57, the receipts of Saturday and Sunday, with which they escaped. The robbers took the precaution of cutting telephone wires. Three men were arrested in the Park on suspicion of being implicated in the robber, and were held for a further hearing.
  • June 22. fire destroyed the storehouse and baldly damaged the factory building of the glazed kid works of Charles J. Matthews & Co., northwest corner willow and American Streets. Two factory buildings at 209 and 211 willow Street were slightly damaged by the flames. Loss was estimated at $50,000.
  • July 1. The New York Ship Building Company purchased the property of the Manufacturers' Land and Improvement Company, in south Camden, above Newton Creek, and commenced the erection of its big plant.
  • July 27. The Board of Education removed its executive offices to the City Hall.
  • August 22. While Harney R. Ward, a Bustleton plumber, was repairing an iron pump in the basement of the Lower Dublin Baptist Church, the pump came in contact with an overhead iron gas pipe, which seems to have been charged with electricity. Ward was killed by the shock, and a fellow workman was severely stunned.
  • August 26. Gill & Co.'s glass works, East York and Thompson Streets where, destroyed by fire. The loss is estimated at between $75,000 and $100,000, partly covered by insurance.
  • August 28. The battleship Alabama left Cramps' shipyard on her builders' trial trip.
  • September 2. Five vessels of the North Atlantic Squadorn the battleships Indiana, Massachusetts and Texas, and the cruisers New York and Brooklyn — anchored in the Delaware River.
  • September 5. Thousands of persons viewed the electric illumination of the vessels of Admiral Sampson's squadron.
  • September 8. Encampment week was practically ended with the naval parade, which was a most successful and imposing demonstration. A long line of crowded river craft passed in review around the ships of the North Atlantic squadron, and to the firing of cannon and screeching of steam whistles was added the cheering of many thousands of people afloat and ashore.
  • September 12. by a vote of 26 to 9 the Board of Education adopted the report of its Committee on Property recommending that the lot at Twenty-eight and Huntington Streets, selected by Councils as a school site, be purchased, if the owner will accept $22,000 instead of $25,000 the price first asked.
  • September 19. The Board of Education Property Committee was advised by William D. Price that he is willing to accept the Board's offer of $22,000 for the lot at Twenty-eighth and Huntingdon Streets, on condition that settlement be made as of January 2d last, when the ordinance for the purchase was signed by the Mayor. The lot was accepted, and settlement left to the City Solicitor.
  • September 27. The building 1707 and 1709 Filbert Street, occupied by the Reliance Storage Company, and the one adjoining, 1711 Filbert Street, were damaged by fire to the extent of about $70,000.
  • September 29. The matter of the purchase of a school site at Twenty-eighth and Huntingdon Streets again came before the Board of Education, the owner having requested that body to adopt a resolution accepting the ground for $22,000 and accrued interest and taxes from January 2d, amounting to $1,200.
  • October 12. Some four hundred representatives of trade and commerce from every quarter of the globe, members of the Diplomatic corps and National, State and municipal officials, were present at the opening of the International Commercial Congress, at the National Export Exposition.
  • October 14. Harmonie Hall, Eleventh and Brandywine Streets, dedicated.
  • October 19. Select Council adopted a resolution instructing Congressmen and members of the Legislature to vote and work for the repeal of the Civil Service Reform laws.
  • November 29. A fire which started in the stores of Partridge & Richardson, Eighth Street above Market, destroyed those buildings, the establishments of J. B. Lippincott Company, publishers, Filbert Street below Eighth, and Partridge & Son, and Bailey & Co., Eighth Street below Filbert, and damaged the stores of Lit Brothers, Strawbridge & Clothier, P. T. Hallahan, P. J. Hallahan, H. Mosebach & Sons, Samuel D. Long, F.W. Bean & Co., Artman & Treichler, and others. The total loss was estimated at $1,250,000. Eight firemen were injured, but none dangerously. Nearly 2,000 persons were deprived of employment.
  • December 4. The Board of Judges appointed James Pollock as a member of the Fairmount Park Commission to succeed the late James McManus.
  • December 7. P. A. B. Widener purchased thirty-six acres of land, fronting on Old York Road, near Logan Station on which he established the Widener Industrial Home for Crippled Children. Mr. Widener spent $2,000,000 in improving the property and endowing the institution. An ordinance was introduced in City Councils, and subsequently passed, to strike from the city plan streets which would intersect the tract.
  • December 29. It was learned that the recently announced gift of $250,000 to the University of Pennsylvania was from the estate of H. H. Houston, who shortly before he died contributed a like sum to the same institution.

< 1898

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

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