Additions or corrections to
locations of photographs
on
www.phillyhistory.org
Researched by Lou Lescas

 

Longtime Northeast Philadelphia resident Lou Lescas has spent many hours in the Philadelphia Water Department archives, tracking down the locations of photographs on the Philly History site that are either coded with the wrong location, or which had no location noted. By researching PWD construction plans, Lou has been able to correlate the surveying stations noted on the plans with those noted on the photos. He has even done this for photographs taken underground.

More items will be added as Lou provides them.

The History of Philadelphia's Watersheds and Sewers

Compiled by Adam Levine
Historical Consultant
Philadelphia Water Department
HomeCreek to sewerDown underarchivesmapsAdam LevineLinks

 


This photo is looking west, just east of 34th and University Avenue. The unique finials on this bridge are something not found in the city often, and not where this had been geocoded, at Penrose Ferry and Hog Island Roads. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=36147



This photo has been incorrectly geocoded to Penrose Ferry and Hog Island Road. The proper location of the "Schyulkill Pumping Station", as it is styled here, is on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, just east of 34th St and University Avenue. This photo is looking east. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=36146



This photo has been incorrectly geocoded to Penrose Ferry and Hog Island Road. The proper location of the "Schyulkill Pumping Station", as it is styled here, is on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, just east of 34th St and University Avenue. This photo is looking east. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=36145



The house shown in background matches exactly with the northernmost house on the east side of 4600 block of Paschall Ave- the exact house address is 4600, from Bing/ Google maps. This picture is looking southwest. Catenary overbuilds on the RR on the left match present day pictures. Also, SD 184 SW runs right into the 4600 Paschall, from my research at PWD archives. Also, station 251+03.47 is a beginning of the tunnel under the rairoad where this sewer runs. That tunnel is adjacent to the former Breyer's Ice Cream plant, which according to the 1942 Philadelphia Land Use map, is just south of 43rd Street and the PRR central division Railroad. This picture should be geocoded to 42nd and 43rd Street. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=34148



This is the same location as 43395-6 in contract SD 184 SW, looking northeast. This photo should also be geocoded to 42nd and 43rd Street. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=34154



This is the same location as 43395-6 and 7, looking east. This photo should also be geocoded to 42nd and 43rd Street. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=34155



This photo is just west of the University Avenue bridge, looking east. Station 281+00 is about 300' west of that bridge, from my research at the PWD Archives. The photo shows 2 60" cast iron force mains, which 816 feet behind this photo emptied into an 8' by 8' box sewer. The closest street location is 34th Street and University Ave. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=35865



This photo is of Contract SD 224 NE, at the New York Short Line Railroad, looking west. There was an existing box culvert to allow the Byberry Creek South Branch (as it is often called by the photographers of this period, today it is more widely known as Walton's Run) that was replaced so the sanitary intercepting sewer could be adjacent to the creek and all would run under the railroad bridge. The nearest street location to this spot would 2000 Bennett Road http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=33246



The Frankford Creek had a series of sewer contracts from the late 1940's through 1957. Contract M-111 ran from about station 59+60 to about station 86+68, or from west of the line of Amber Street to east of the line of Aramingo Ave. One of the fantastic details of many of the sewer contracts is the amount of data they provide, such as elevations, and names of business or homeowners at the time. The plan for this contract showed the Bers company at station 71+00, just southwest of the line of the former Roxborough and Tulip Streets, on the north bank. The current street location today would be just west of Aramingo Avenue and the Frankford Creek. This building has been razed. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=49779



http://www.phillyhistory.org/blog/index.php/2010/06/the-philadelphia-aquarium-at-the-fairmount-water-works/
Contract SD 178 SW, from my work at the PWD Archives, was on 23rd Street from Market to Summer Streets, then on city property to the Schuylkill River north of Spring Garden Street. The above hyperlink from the Phillyhistory.org website explains that the Aquarium was located with the Fairmount Water Works, located at 640 Waterworks Drive. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=49731



Contract SD 148 SW was one of the several Central Schuylkill East Side Intercepting Sysyem contracts. Upon inspection of the plans for this contract, at the PWD Archives, I discovered that between stations 67+98.18 and 68+60.20, or 62.02 feet, there was a tunnel for a planned Locust Street Subway at 23rd St. It never happened, but the sewer was built with that potential. The correct location for this photo is under 23rd and Locust Streets. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=29052



Where could these three lucky guys be? From my research at the PWD Archives, contract SD 131 SW ran underground from 46th and Paschall Avenue to 68th Street and Buist Avenue. Station 233+13 was at 49th Street and Paschall Avenue, from the plan from this contract. They are 13 feet north of that intersection, looking toward Hanson Street. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=23520



Where could this lucky guy be? From my research at the PWD Archives, contract SD 131 SW ran underground from 46th and Paschall Avenue to 68th Street and Buist Avenue. Station 233+30 was at 49th Street and Paschall Avenue, from the plan from this contract. They are 30 feet north of that intersection, looking toward Hanson Street. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=27376



How can a contract named SD 126 SW (for Southwest) be in the far northwestern part of Philadelphia, next to Chestnut Hill College, to be exact? Through my research, I determined that Mr Hague lived on the 9500 block of Germantown Avenue, which is where photo should be geocoded.Contract SD 126 SW was a remediation project, grading and seeding, after contract SD 107 SW, the intercepting sewer that ran from Stenton Ave south and west along these properties, to the Wissahickon Intercepting Sewer, on its way (eventually) to the SW Treatment works. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=19853



The Pennypack, and later the Poquessing Creek intercepting Sewers allowed the high density development of the Upper Northeast to occur. The Pennypack Interceptor was built up to east of the Roosevelt Boulevard before WW II, but starting in 1949 and ending in 1961, it was finally completed to the Montgomery County border, allowing sewage from eastern Montgomery County to be processed in Philadelphia's NE sewer treatment plant. This picture was taken on the north side of the Pennypack Creek, just east of Krewstown Road, looking generally southwest. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=17292


This is one of the many cave in incidents of creeks turned into sewers - the Mill Creek, gradually traversing from above 54th and City Ave to its junction of the Schulkill River north of the Grays Ferry Avenue Bridge, was prone to this. This photo was taken around the former address of 5045 Funston Street, northeast of 52nd St and Haverford Ave, in the middle of West Philadelphia, after the cave-in was stabilized, looking south.
http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=133799


This again is 5045 Funston, looking more northwest, before stabilzation, and probably right after it happened. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=133780


This is a photo of the Belmont Filtration Plant, Belmont Avenue and Ford Road, one of 3 presently in operation in Philadelphia, the others being Queen Lane and Torresdale. Most likely this location was inside on of the "Rapid Sand Filters". Note the many house plants in the area, something seen in other Belmont filter photos of this timeframe. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=19405


It is confusing to determine where some of the water and sewer photos were taken. A common misconception is that everything that has the word Queen Lane in it was taken at the Queen Lane Reservoir on Henry Ave. Actually, the Queen Lane Raw Water Intake, where 80 million gallons a day are drawn from the Schuylkill River, has been located just east of the mouth of the Wissahickon Creek and the Schuylkill River since 1895, with newer buildings replacing older ones in the 1950s and in 2009. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=131271


This is really at the SW corner of Martin Luther King and Montgomery Drives. It is easy to assume that this facility would be at the Belmont treatment plant, Ford Rd and Belmont Avenue, but Google Maps saved the day with this photo's true location. Theraw water drawing site has been located there since 1869- this building was constructed in 1899. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=19425


This is right on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, south of Montgomery Drive and the Philadelphia and Reading (Columbia) Bridge, not at Belmont and Ford Road. The river is the easy clue here that it is not near Belmont Avenue. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=120714


This beautiful arch, seen by anyone hiking in the Wissahickon Valley near Devil's Pool, is actually a sewer viaduct carrying the Wissahickon High Level Sewer over the Cresheim Creek. This is near the north bank of Wissahickon Creek, built in 1892. The viaduct allowed gravity to convey sewage through the Cresheim Creek Valley, avoiding a nearly 120 feet drop, and subsequent lift, which would have been nearly impossible at that time to pump away. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=6037



From this website (http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wdstock/business.htm) I determined that Wilbur D. Glenn's store was located at State Road and Comly Street, and so was this photo. The 1910 Bromley map shows a 3 story building on the northwest corner. Sadly, this area was obliterated for I-95 in the 1960s. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=6005

This is what the description in the photo says- north side Glenwood Avenue, between 5th and Reese Streets. The buildings on the left (south side of Glenwood Avenue) are the way I determined the location of this photo, since nearly all of the north side has been either been razed, built after 1907, or has been done over so much as to render a comparison unlikely. The building on the left side with the second floor bay window is the southwest corner of Reese St and Glenwood Avenue, and the houses further in the background, heading toward 6th Street, are the same. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=84453


Worrell Street runs from O Street east to Frankford Avenue, with a bridge never rebuilt over the Frankford Creek. I use the word rebuilt, because that section of Worrell Street was at one time called Old Front Street Road, a road seen in maps which ran on the line of Front Street to Norris; then turned to the northeast, paralleling Frankford Avenue to its west. Another section, also named Worell Street, ran from just north of the Frankford Creek southeast to Torresdale Ave; then it was called Tacony Street. There are still 2 of these homes on the east side of the 4000 block of Worell Street, this picture is looking northwest. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=83736


This is the same 4000 block of Worrell Street, as the entry above, looking southeast.
http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=83738


The 1895 G W Bromley Atlas of Philadelphia shows the Little Tacony Creek crossing Frankford Avenue at Pratt Street. There is another, smaller branch of this creek in Wissinoming Park, less than a mile north of this, but it doesn't cross Frankford Avenue, per the 1895 map. Fifteen years later, the 1910 Bromley map shows the P.R.T (Philadelphia Rapid Transit, now SEPTA) car barn pretty much over the site of the creek, and city streets in that area. In the Philadelphia Bureau of Surveys Annual Report (courtesy of Philly H20), 1902-03, there is mention of sewer construction in this area. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=57220




The Frankford Creek in 1943 not only was full of sewage and industrial waste, but had serious erosion issues (note the banks). After WW II, there was a major effort to channel the creek and stabilize the banks- after the 1950s, much of the sewage was intercepted by larger sewers that ran parallel to the river banks, underground, conveying sewage to the sewer treatment plants. This photo is of the Frankford Creek looking northwest- the Harbison Dairy building is the two story building on the left (1925 Bromley, plate 33) on Hunting Park and Torresdale Aves. The bridge crossing the creek is Torresdale Avenue, and in the distance is the Frankford Elevated Line, over Kensington Avenue. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=15942

This is Moore Street and the Delaware River, next to Pier 72. The railroad trestle belonged to Baugh and Sons, in the rear was the Delaware River Chemical Works; from the 1910 Bromley Atlas of Phila. http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=8880

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Page last modified August 24, 2015