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Bridesburg - Kensington– Richmond

Fishtown
Photo Credit: Paul Aston
Encompassing many of the river wards just north of Center City, this area consists of the neighborhoods including: Bridesburg, Fishtown, Juniata Park, New Kensington, North West Kensington, Port Richmond and Richmond. The area was once predominantly industrial. However, most heavy industry has now left.

Bridesburg
A village south of Frankford Creek and upon a tract of land formerly belonging to Point-no-Point. It took its name from Joseph Kirkbride, who for many years was a landowner there and proprietor of a ferry over Frankford Creek. On March 20, 1811, Legislature gave Kirkbride the right to build a bridge and receive toll for passage over the Frankford Creek. On April 1, 1833, the County of Philadelphia bought the Kirkbride bridge and two and a half acres of land annexed for $5,500. Kirkbridesburg was considered too long a name for convenient use, and the shorter one was adopted Bridesburg was incorporated as a borough on April 1, 1848.

Fishtown
Fishtown is an area in Philadelphia located very close to Olde City and Center City. The neighborhood is in lower Kensington, which was once a suburb of Philadelphia when the city was small, and the northern boundaries ended at what is now Vine Street. Fishtown is one of the last truly "family neighborhoods" in Philadelphia. Most of the people here are first or second cousins, and have lived in the same homes for most of their lives.

The neighborhood has some historical locations, for instance Penn Treaty Park. This is where William Penn is said to have made his Treaty with the local Native Americans. The name “Fishtown,” came from the businesses along Girard Avenue at that time. In the 1830's, refrigeration was for the rich (ice houses), so the ships that brought their catch into the docks along the Delaware River would take their bounty to the smoke houses along the Avenue, and the fish would be pickled, salted or smoked for preserving. Because of the odors from this area, the name Fishtown was born, and remains the name to this day, although the odors have long since gone.

Kensington
Kensington is one of the oldest sections of Philadelphia, just North of the Old City area along the Delaware River. Historically, it was a major industrial center of Philadelphia and its economic center--the American Street Corridor-- remains among the few manufacturing corridors in the city that have managed to survive.

Survival has not been easy. Entire industries have largely disappeared from Kensington--textile mills, machine shops, breweries. The companies that remain operate under difficult circumstances. Even public investment in the 1970's to widen American Street itself and to rehabilitate houses in the surrounding neighborhoods did not create significant growth in the corridor, though it did prevent its total collapse.

Port Richmond
Port Richmond is a Philadelphia river ward neighborhood officially incorporated in 1852. Bounded on the east by the Delaware River, on the west by Trenton Avenue, on the north by Frankford Creek, and on the south by Lehigh Avenue, the community has a population of approximately 25,000. Port Richmond is a neighborhood of churches; its residents take pride in home ownership, which is reflected in its clean, well-maintained houses.

The name Richmond dates to 1728 when William Ball settled here and named his mansion Richmond Hall after a well-known London suburb. The area was known as Balltown for a number of years. The majority of homes in Port Richmond are two-story brick rows with white marble steps, some having porches. Port Richmond is home to much industry, with most of its land east of Richmond Street and north of Castor Avenue being industrial. At the turn of the century, the Reading Railroad built a formidable pier complex on the Delaware River, and Port Richmond became a major east coast grain and coal depot. Today, the Tioga Marine Terminal carries on the tradition of commercial export/import shipping.

 

 

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