Byberry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Byberry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Byberry is a place name in Northeast Philadelphia that can have several references.

Byberry is a neighborhood in the far northeast section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Originally it was incorporated as the Township of Byberry and was the northeasternmost municipality of Philadelphia County before the City and County consolidated in 1854.

Byberry had a strong abolitionist presence and may have been an original stop on the Underground Railroad. Today, the area occupied by the township is mostly synonymous with the neighborhood of Somerton, as neighborhoods Byberry and Somerton tend to overlap.

Byberry can also refer to Byberry Road, an often-congested traffic artery that connects to Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. 1) and the unfinished Woodhaven Road Expressway (Pennsylvania Route 63).

History

A township in the extreme northeastern part of the County of Philadelphia; bounded on the east and northeast by Poquessing Creek and Bucks County; on the northwest by Montgomery County; and on the west and southwest by the Township of Moreland.

Its greatest length was estimated at 5 miles (8 km); its greatest breadth, 2 1/2 miles (4 km); area, 4.700 acres (19 km²). It was settled by a few Swedes previous to the year 1675, and in that year by four brothers -- Nathaniel, Thomas, Daniel and William Walton -- who were all young and single men. They had arrived at Newcastle from England early in that year, and, having prospected the land in the neighborhood of the Delaware River, chose the country near Poquessing Creek, and settled there.

They gave to it the name Byberry, in honor of their native town, near Bristol, in England.

They were joined after the arrival of the ship Welcome in 1682, by Giles and Joseph Knight, John Carver, John Hart, Richard Collett and their families, and others. Byberry was the birthplace of Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The township was established at a very early date after the coming of William Penn. It contained very few villages at the time of consolidation, and was the most rural of all the townships of Philadelphia County. Byberry Crossroads, once called Plumbsock, and Knightsville, were the principal villages.

Philadelphia State Hospital

The name "Byberry" is mainly used to refer to the former Philadelphia State Hospital, an infamous mental institution off of Roosevelt Boulevard in Byberry that was shut down in 1990. The abandoned hospital has become a target for vandals and the subject of some urban legends. Plans were stalled for many years due to the fear of Asbestos insulation being transferred to the surrounding communities. However on June 14, 2006 work began on a new convert|130|acre|km2|1|sing=on joint residential and commercial development. The Arbors at Eagle Pointe will consist of 396 residential units in the form of single family homes, townhouses, and condominiums built by the [http://www.westrum.com Westrum Development Company] on 55 acres. Up to convert|750000|sqft|m2|-3 of commercial space will built by [http://www.brandywinerealty.com Brandywine Realty Trust] on the adjoining 50 acres and will be called the Officies at Eagle Pointe. The remaining 25 acres will be used as open space between existing homes behind the former hospital and the new development.

Resources

* [http://www.phila.gov/phils/Docs/Inventor/graphics/wards/wards1.htm "Chronology of the Political Subdivisions of the County of Philadelphia, 1683-1854"]
*" [http://www.ushistory.org/philadelphia/incorporated.html Information] courtesy of [http://www.ushistory.org ushistory.org] "
* [http://www.ushistory.org/philadelphia/incorporated.html Incorporated District, Boroughs, and Townships in the County of Philadelphia, 1854 By Rudolph J. Walther] - excerpted from the book at the ushistory.org website


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