- Bridesburg, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bridesburg is a neighborhood in the Northeast section of
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bridesburg has a significant Polish community and continues to be a destination from incoming immigrants from Poland to live. The Polish community is centered around the various Polish establishments, most notably, Saint John Cantius Church, built in Polish Cathedral style.
The historic boundaries of the former borough of Bridesburg were the original bed of
Frankford Creekaround the north and west, the Delaware Riverto the southeast, and Port Richmond to the southwest, along a border at Pike Street near Wheat Sheaf Lane. [ [http://www.ushistory.org/philadelphia/incorporated.html Excerpt from "Incorporated District, Boroughs, and Townships in the County of Philadelphia", 1854, by Rudolph J. Walther] ] With the diversion of Frankford Creek in 1956 and the construction of I-95 in the late 1960s, these have become the effective southwest and northwest borders. Adjacent neighborhoods are Wissinoming to the northeast, Whitehall to the north, Frankford to the northwest, and Port Richmond to the southwest.
ZIP Code, of which Bridesburg proper is the major part, extends as far to the southwest as Castor Avenue, and includes some area to the northwest of I-95 and the original bed of Frankford Creek. [ [http://www.city-data.com/zips/19137.html 19137 ZIP Code at city-data.com] ] . A small portion of the neighborhood also lies in the 19124 ZIP code.
The area was originally called Point-No-Point, after a landmark at the mouth of Frankford Creek on the Delaware River. Boatmen navigating the river would see first a point of land, which on passing would apparently disappear, only to reappear again at a distance.
Founded in the early 19th century, Bridesburg, a tract of land formerly belonging to Point-no-Point, took its name from
Joseph Kirkbride, who for many years owned land there and was proprietor of a ferry over Frankford Creek, and to whom the Legislature gave a right to build a bridge and receive toll for passage over the same by act of March 20, 1811. On April 1, 1833, Philadelphia County bought the Kirkbride bridge and two-and-a-half acres of land annexed for $5,500. Kirkbridesburg was considered too long a name for convenience, and the shorter "Bridesburg" was adopted. Bridesburg was incorporated as a borough on April 1, 1848. In 1854, the borough was annexed to the city of Philadelphia in the Act of Consolidation.
Before the arrival of European settlers, the Lenni Lenape Indians inhabited the Delaware Valley region. The explorer Henry Hudson, in 1609, was the first European to set foot in this region, and based on his findings these Indians were considered to be the first inhabitants of the area. The Delaware Indians also lived in this area and received their name by the English, after the Delaware River.
In 1683 land was bought west of the Delaware River from the Indians and named New Sweden by the Swedes. These people lived with the Indians on very friendly terms. By 1645 the Swedes had expanded to the Northeast section of Philadelphia and in 1647 the Dutch came. It was not until the 1680s when the English came with William Penn that the area was actually developed. After 1750, Germans then settled in the area, particularly in Bridesburg and Frankford.
The region was known in Colonial times as Point-no-Point, due to the deceptive appearance of the blunt cape at the mouth of the creek. When first seen going northward it appeared to be a point, boldly jutting out into the stream and upon coming nearer, it lost its character and seemed to be an ordinary portion of the right bank; on further approach it seemed to again jut out into a point.
Principal T. Worcester Worrell used to teach his pupilsthe ditty:
:"Point look out, point look in,:Point no Point, and point ag'in."
Many famous personalities in history have passed through the lands of Point-no-Point. The second President of the United States wrote a letter to his wife Abigail describing his travels in Point-no-Point.
On 25 May, 1777
The road to Point-no-point lies along the river Delaware, in fair sight of it and its opposite shore. For near four miles the road is as strait as the streets of Philadelphia. On each side, are beautiful rows of trees, buttonwoods, oaks, walnuts, cherries and willows, especially down towards the banks of the river. The meadows, pastures and grass plats are as green as leeks. There are many fruit trees and fine orchards set with the nicest regularity. But the fields of grain, the rye and wheat exceed all description. These fields are all sown in ridges and the furrow between each couple of ridges is as plainly to be seen as if a swath had been mown along. Yet it is no wider than a ploughshare and it is as strait as an arrow. It looks as if the sower had gone along the furrow with his spectacles to pick up every grain that should accidentally fall into it. The corn is just coming out of the ground. The furrows struck out for the hills to be planted in, are each way as straight, as mathematical right lines ; and the squares between every four hills as exact as they could be done by plumb and line, or scale and compass. [ [http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/ "Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams", 25 - 27 May 1777. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.] ]
Bridesburg was incorporated as a borough on April 1, 1848 [ [http://www.phila.gov/phils/Docs/Inventor/graphics/wards/wards1.htm "Chronology of the Political Subdivisions of the County of Philadelphia, 1683-1854"] ] ; it included the peninsula between the lower Frankford creek and the Delaware, and beyond Richmond district, the boundary lying near the projected line of Pike street, not far from Wheat Sheaf Lane.
It was first called Kirkbridesburg, for Joseph Kirkbride, who operated a ferry to New Jersey, and in 1811 built a toll bridge at Bridge street over the Frankford creek. About one hundred and forty years ago the people of the village decided the name was too long, so Bridesburg was adopted.
In 1854, the borough was annexed to the city of Philadelphia in the Act of Consolidation.
As of the 2000 Census, Bridesburg's 19137 ZIP code had a population of 8,069, of which 95.5% was white, 1.1% was black or African-American, 0.5% was American Indian or Alaska native, 0.4% was Asian, and the remaining 2.5% was other or mixed races. Of these, 2.9% identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino. [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=19137&_cityTown=19137&_state=&_zip=19137&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&show_2003_tab=&redirect=Y U.S. Census data for ZIP 19137] ]
Notable occupants and landmarks
Betsy Ross Bridge
* [http://www.phila.gov/cgi-bin/recreation/phillarec/center.cgi?theID=715 Bridesburg Recreation Center]
Frankford Arsenal, now an industrial park
*Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery [ [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&GSvcid=13407&CRid=45119&pt=Most%20Holy%20Redeemer%20Cemetery& Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery] at
Find A Grave]
Rohm and Haas Company
*Sunoco Chemicals plant
Bridesburg School(listed on the National Register of Historic Places, now a warehouse)
For such a small community, Bridesburg is the home of a large number of churches:
*All Saints Roman Catholic Church, Thompson and Buckius Streets, designed by noted ecclesiastical architect
Edwin Forrest Durang[ [http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/pj_display.cfm/16158 Listing of All Saints Roman Catholic Church at Philadelphia Architects and Buildings] ] .
* [http://www.emanuelphila.org Bridesburg Emanuel United Church of Christ] , Fillmore and Thompson Streets
*Bridesburg Methodist Episcopal Church, Kirkbride St. [ [http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/pj_display.cfm/104405 Bridesburg Methodist Episcopal Church at Philadelphia Architects and Buildings] ]
*Bridesburg United Methodist Church, 2717 Kirkbride St.
* [http://www.bridesburgpresbyterian.org/church/index.htm First Presbyterian Church of Bridesburg] [ [http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/app/pj_display.cfm/117318 Listing of First Presbyterian Church of Bridesburg at Philadelphia Architects and Buildings] ] , 2770 Pratt St.
*First Baptist Church of Bridesburg, 2715 Lefevre St.
*Grace Baptist Church of Bridesburg, 4544 Almond St.
* [http://www.realifephilly.org/ ReaLife Church] , Buckius and Richmond Streets
* [http://archdiocese-phl.org/parishes/7985.htm St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church] , 4415 Almond St.
*St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
*Bridesburg Elementary School (public)
* [http://www.franklintowne.org/ Franklin Towne Charter High School] (Grades 9-12)
*Maritime Academy Charter School (Grades 5-12)
* [http://www.pjp2rcs.com/ Pope John Paul II Regional Catholic School] (Grades PreK-8)
* [http://www.libraries.psu.edu/do/dbwholepdfs/29342484_whole.pdf Campbell, William Bucke. "Old Towns and Districts of Philadelphia". Philadelphia History Vol. IV, No. 5. City History Society of Philadelphia. 1942]
* [http://www.inbridesburg.com/history/history-bridesburg-yesterday-today.asp "Bridesburg Yesterday and Today" from "The Bridesburg Bulletin"]
*"Bridesburg", by Frederick Siegle and Teresa Pyott, 2004, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 0738536059
* [http://www.joslandscape.com/pnp/index.htm Point No Point]
* [http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=40.002944~-75.068906&style=h&lvl=15&scene=1868772 A map of Bridesburg] from
Windows Live Local.
* [http://www.pridesburg.com Pridesburg.com] is a locally run forum for residents of Bridesburg. Everything from local gossip and classifieds to the locals' views on international matters.
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