Galvanizing plant

Hey someone is removing asbestos from the old galvanizing plant on Gaul and Hagert. Does anyone know anything about this. Sold?

HAZMAT's picture

did not know there was asbestos in there all I ever saw was concrete and steel are you sure thats what it was .

To be ones self and unafraid, right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformaty. Irving Wallace.

spui's picture

The was a sign on the door on Gaul that said warning asbestos and there is a giant dumpster that says the same.

HAZMAT's picture

wow I will lookup whats going on in the morning this is all news to me!

To be ones self and unafraid, right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformaty. Irving Wallace.

Kenzo's picture

HAZMAT can u send me pictures if you swing by? I was just there but I wasn't paying attention. Best to get a pic during the day while they're working on it.

I have not heard anything about zoning on the galvo, by the way.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

jbette01's picture

Kenzo wrote:
HAZMAT can u send me pictures if you swing by? I was just there but I wasn't paying attention. Best to get a pic during the day while they're working on it.

I have not heard anything about zoning on the galvo, by the way.

I would guess remediation (the right way) means they may have a legitimate buyer?

Kenzo's picture

Or they're trying to remove an impediment so that there is a buyer.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

kwhln215's picture

Anything with the lot across the street ? With the Glavo and that lot there will be alot of new homes

th's picture

kwhln215 wrote:
Anything with the lot across the street ? With the Glavo and that lot there will be alot of new homes

Last I heard they were still working on the financing for the lot across the street.

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

spui's picture

Big lights on inside and they are still working.

HAZMAT's picture

the galvanizing trofts do contain esbestos and thats whats being dismantled from what I could see I left word with previous owners , awaiting reply , if and that's the key word they reply I will update

To be ones self and unafraid, right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformaty. Irving Wallace.

Kenzo's picture

Update:

L&I records indicate absolutely no permits were taken out on the property recently. There are no demolition permit requests and no construction permit requests visible in the system.

Additionally: There is no vacant property license which is required by the Philadelphia Code and the owners are supposed to have.

I have requested an L&I inspection of the site to observe the container and to ensure that the work that is going on at the building conforms to Phila Code requirements. The 3-1-1 ticket number is #2223972.

L&I received the ticket 04/18/2012 12:41PM and will take up to 10 business days to inspect and report on the condition and work being performed at the galvo.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

ExUnit4's picture

Would hope that a situation regarding potentially haz mat materials gets a quicker response from L&I.
Then again, knowing what we know guess we shall see wont we.

Speak softly, the dashboard cam has a very sensative microphone

Coder's picture

Call the EPA.

HAZMAT's picture

JUST SPOKE WITH REALTOR AND PRIOR OWNERS SO TAKE THIS WITH AS MUCH VALIDITY AS YOU WOULD MOST SELF INTEREST GROUPS !
THE BUILDING WAS PURCHASED FOR $477,000.00 THERE PLANNS ARE TO HAVE A SPORTS ORIENTED VENUE I.E. INDOOR HOCKEY RINK AND SOCCER VENUE , MY SUGGESTION FOR A PAINT BALL ARENA SET UP IN A RUNNING MAN FORMAT ,WELL LETS SAY DREW A STRANGE LOOK LOL. BUT THIS CLEAN UP IS BY RIGHT OF OWNERSHIP AND NO CIVICS ARE LOOKING TO STOP A WHOLE PROJECT WITCH TIES INTO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SISTER LOT ACROSS THE STREET WITCH WILL INCLUDE MARKET RATE TOWN HOUSES .. OVER A NULL ISSUE OF SAFTEY AS THEY HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING ALL SAFTEY GUID LINES AND SHOW THERE ASBESTOS REMOVAL CERTIFICATE .. THIS IS JUST MY PERSONAL OPINION AFTER DOING SOME GROUND WORK AND CONTACTING ALL PARTIES POST AND PRESENT OWNERS AND LOOKING AT THERE CERTIFICATE WITCH ALLOWS THE HOLDER TO OVER SEE THE SAFE REMOVAL.. ALSO THERE HAS BEEN EPA PLUG DRILLING AND GROUND TESTING GOING ON AS WELL , SO AT THIS POINT THINGS LOOK POSITIVE AND AT BEST LETS HOPE IT REMAINS THIS WAY......

To be ones self and unafraid, right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformaty. Irving Wallace.

Kenzo's picture

That's cool. I alerted L&I about the activity so they can verify that DEP/EPA notification/cert. actually happened.

I have no problem with the building being pulled down. It has zero architectural value. The concern from immediate neighbors, myself included, is that the work will be done shoddily, without regard to safety, and that care may not be taken to properly dispose of waste or contain the contamination that will ensue once the building is fully exposed. We already have a nasty problem with metal particulates everywhere--we don't want to see the problem get worse, or be forced to close up our houses for the whole duration of the project to reduce the risk of contaminating the insides of our properties.

As a member of the zoning committee for ORCA, I can tell you that the civic and the neighbors will be happy to look at whatever is planned for the site if/when the owner wants to pursue zoning.

This is a very hazardous site and site management is way more important here on this parcel than many other parcels elsewhere.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Coder's picture

i'd be psyched for an indoor soccer area. Kids would get much use of it.

HAZMAT's picture

I AGREE KENSO , NOT SAYING THERE SHOULD NOT BE A CHECK AND BALANCE SYSTEM INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS , WAS JUST PASING ON COLLECTED INFORMATION ! NOW HOW YOU RUN WITH IT IS A CHOICE I WON'T QUESTION..
" PAINT BALL ARENA " SO WE HAVE A TRUE BATTLE GROUND LOL ... SURLEY I GEST !

To be ones self and unafraid, right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformaty. Irving Wallace.

spui's picture

Was just searching for info on a sale and found this. http://www.teamdamis.com/listings/res/188381/index.html?sort=

HAZMAT's picture

YES THE LOT ACROSS THE STREET WAS MENTIONED IN MY ABOVE COMMENTS , AND CONTINGENT TO THE SUCESS OF THE CLEAN UP OF ADJACENT FACTORY ..

To be ones self and unafraid, right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformaty. Irving Wallace.

Kenzo's picture

Hmm. I know who the owner of the lot across the street is; I didn't suspect that the two properties were going to have anything in common with each other.

I emailed the realtor hoping he will comment.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

HAZMAT's picture

have the pictures will send kenzo

To be ones self and unafraid, right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformaty. Irving Wallace.

th's picture

HAZMAT wrote:
have the pictures will send kenzo

I see you found the capslock button. :)

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

Kenzo's picture

OK just got back answers from the realtor. The building is under Agreement (not AOS)... so there's an interested buyer but that's where it ends. Obviously not much can be said at this stage because the buyer is not under contract, and can bail.

The asbestos clean will be wrapped up in a few days and is almost done. Since it's under Agreement, it's way too early to speculate on what will happen. A tear-down is a distinct possibility but it won't be known until a purchase actually takes place and we know who the buyer is. Obviously the Catties won't be doing a teardown to sell the parcel, that will fall on the buyer to do since that's a big expense I'm sure the Cattie family won't bother with on the hopes of an interested developer-buyer.

My suggestion: let this stew for a couple months and see if anything comes out of it, if it's sold by then.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

GonzoCRFan's picture

I came across this forum while searching for some historical info on the Cattie plant. I grew up in the suburbs and have always been fascinated by Philly's industrial past. Industrial archeology and urban exploration are some of my favorite hobbies, and a lot of my research is focused on constructing a model railroad depicting portions of Fishtown and Kensington in 1978.

I spent last Friday photographing the exterior of the Cattie plant from every angle I could, but I was wondering if any of you locals would be able to tell me when the building immediately north of the present structure was demolished? Also, does anyone know what kind of railroad traffic the plant generated (steel products on flatcars, tankcars of chemicals for the galvanizing process, things of that nature)? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Sean McD

cheweymid's picture

GonzoCRFan wrote:
I came across this forum while searching for some historical info on the Cattie plant. I grew up in the suburbs and have always been fascinated by Philly's industrial past. Industrial archeology and urban exploration are some of my favorite hobbies, and a lot of my research is focused on constructing a model railroad depicting portions of Fishtown and Kensington in 1978.

I spent last Friday photographing the exterior of the Cattie plant from every angle I could, but I was wondering if any of you locals would be able to tell me when the building immediately north of the present structure was demolished? Also, does anyone know what kind of railroad traffic the plant generated (steel products on flatcars, tankcars of chemicals for the galvanizing process, things of that nature)? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

This site could probably answer a lot of your questions:

http://www.philageohistory.org/tiles/viewer/

Hard and crunchey on the outside, soft and chewey in the middle.

th's picture

What a cool project. What scale?

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

Jayallday's picture

I saw a trackhoe parked by their parking lot. Does anybody know if they are starting construction there?

Wherever you go, there you are

Kenzo's picture

As far as history go, the PhillyGeoHistory network has zoning maps that go back to the 1800s.

When I turn back the dial, this used to be a glass jar works factory at the time it was constructed on the lot. There was also a structure on the lot to the north and a catwalk that connected the two buildings which it shows on the pre-1910 maps and this was before the Catties owned it.

There used to be a rail stub that went all the way up Letterly Street, right up to people's front doorsteps so trains could run through Moyer (which is a largely gone street), come around the side where Greensgrow Farms now sits, and wind its way up Letterly and then the train could back into either building. You can still see some evidence of the rails in spots on the ground and I am pretty sure the rail stub still exists underneath the surface of Letterly Street up to Cedar.

The reason why the north lot is now an empty block for the most part was many years ago, at least over 30 years there was a massive fire that consumed buildings on this lot, and at this point it had been a galvo for a fairly long time. Somehow the fire did not destroy any other buildings (all the houses you see around this area are mostly all original), afterwards this became a storage lot. Older Google Maps shows that the lot was still being used as a staging lot up until 2008 before it became completely vacant.

The empty lot is due to have new homes constructed--the latest news on that is that 15 homes are to be started sometime soon (ORCA Zoning voted for 30 lot lines so this represents just half of the houses in the Hagert Square development).

The galvo itself is still a mystery. ZBABot still shows the Cattie family still owning (the last time there was a deed swap was 1943, and it goes back even further for sure) it although there was an asbestos crew in there couple months ago and the realtor for the galvo seemed upbeat about there being a buyer for the plant. I would not mind to see it torn down and turned into something, the surfaces of everything inside that building are coated with metal particulate dust so it would be tough to clean it and put it back to use.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

GonzoCRFan's picture

cheweymid wrote:

This site could probably answer a lot of your questions:

http://www.philageohistory.org/tiles/viewer/

Cheweymid,

I've never been able to get that website to function properly in Firefox, but I have gone to the main library on the Parkway and extensively photographed their sets of Sanborn fire insurance maps on the areas I'm researching. I also have a 1986 Conrail map showing great detail of every rail line they operated in Philly, and that was where this project began for me.

Sean McD

GonzoCRFan's picture

th wrote:
What a cool project. What scale?

TH, I model in N scale. It's the only way for me to even hope to accomplish everything I want to do in the space I have available. The layout as a whole is going to represent the line up Delaware Ave and Richmond St to the south end of the old Port Richmond Yard, then follow the Richmond Branch west to the Fairhill area where tracks ran south down American St all the way down to Northern Liberties. I'm planning on modeling some iconic Philly businesses like the old Jack Frost refinery and Schmidt's Brewing.

Sean McD

Ken Milano's picture

In my book "Hidden History of Kensington & Fishtown" I wrote up my research on the Galvo and 2424 E. York, plus the railroad spur that connected them with the Riverfront Line on Delaware Ave. I have posted that history below.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I feel the need to preface this post with the fact that a couple of folks on this site think that because I openly agreed with some of Charles Murray's findings in his book "Coming Apart" (which has nothing to do with my research) plus the fact that I have a strong opinion about certain types of renters (dirty ones) that my historical work is now suspect. It is important (to some) that you keep this in mind when reading the below histories :)

H.W. Butterworth, Hero Fruit Jar Company and the Founding of the Riverfront Railroad Spur

A couple of months back I sat on my step on a Friday night watching people walk by. For a moment I thought I was down the shore on a summer night watching the parade of people on the boardwalk; there were that many people. I realize it’s not an unusual occurrence on a busy street like York, but the people coming and going were almost exclusively the newer residents in the neighborhood. They were all heading toward an art opening at 2424 East York Street, a new invention of what used to be the Jacob Holtz factory.

The old factory has been converted into office space for the designer class, with an immense atrium gallery space in the center of the building complex that usually has an art exhibition on display. Most of the original interior has been saved and offices built out with hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and high ceilings. A number of tenants have already taken up space, with more to join in the near future.

Friends and family of mine worked at Jacob Holtz. It wasn’t that pleasant smelling if you worked there; the smell of plastics could be overwhelming. Holtz was a Russian immigrant who came to Philadelphia in about 1910 when he was only ten years old. His father was a cobbler. About 1949, with his son-in-law Zeldan Rentz, they started a business on Germantown Avenue, calling it Jacob Holtz Company. They fabricated tubing for the furniture industry. After moving a couple of times to Huntingdon Park and Port Richmond, they eventually acquired the old H.W. Butterworth & Sons building, at today’s present 2424 East York Street location. They expanded and moved their business to Kensington (Fishtown) in 1970.
The company did quite well and became one of the leaders of its field, making all sorts of casters used by the furniture industry. After Jacob Holtz retired, his son-in-law ran the company. After his death, it was taken over by his son David in 1986. David Rentz sold the company in 1999.

The new owners bought out an Illinois-based company and moved it to Fishtown. They were one of only three companies in America that manufactured casters. Eventually they moved to a newer facility at Lester, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia and sold the building to the present owners.

H.W. Butterworth & Sons, manufacturers of machinery for the textile industry, originally constructed the factory complex on York Street. The original Butterworth was John Butterworth, who immigrated to America from England sometime in the early nineteenth century. By 1820, he had established himself in the Northern Liberties and was listed as having a business in “tin work” for cotton and woolen machinery. He was located on Second Street, north of Brown. The family lived in Northern Liberties at first, but like many Kensington manufacturers, they moved to the “new money” neighborhood of North Broad Street after they became successful.

After John’s death, his son Henry Whitaker Butterworth took over the business and moved the plant from Second Street to Haydock Street, east of Front. After constructing a new factory at York and Cedar Streets, he moved the factory there by at least 1870. Between 1870 and 1884, the company continued to expand, enlarging its facilities and eventually buying up the old American Hot Cast Porcelain Works that sat across from it on York Street. This was the building complex where the Catholic printing company Jeffries & Manz was located before moving. Almost an entire block of new homes now occupies this site.

Between 1867 and 1908, Butterworth & Sons showed its ingenuity by filing for a number of patents on various improvements on steam drying cylinders, tentering and mercerizing machines, automatic clamps for cloth-stretching machines and improvements on calendaring rolls and vacuum values.

In 1889, after bringing in all three of his sons, the company was incorporated as H.W. Butterworth & Sons Co., builders of bleaching, dyeing, drying and finishing machinery. The officers of the company were James Butterworth, president; Charles C. Butterworth, vice-president; William B. Butterworth, treasurer; and Harry W. Butterworth, secretary.

H.W. Butterworth & Sons was a company that lasted over one hundred years with only family at the helm managing it. Powers & Company, Inc. is presently involved with trying to list the H.W. Butterworth & Sons Company Building on the National Register of Historic Places.

About the year 1884, a railroad line was run from Richmond Street west on Lehigh Avenue to Cedar Street and then south on Cedar to Commerce (Moyer) Street and south on Commerce to York Street, where it turned west and went over York to Cedar Street. The rail line had branches that ran off York up Gaul and Almond Streets to those manufacturers on those streets, including a connection with the machine works of H.W. Butterworth & Sons. These tracks were a spur that connected with the Riverfront Railroad and the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company. The Riverfront Railroad ran along the Delaware Riverfront, along today’s Richmond Street and Delaware Avenue. This author remembers as a youth some of these boxcars traveling over York Street and going into the Jacob Holtz building (and we had some fun helping ourselves to the contents of the boxcars).

Another local company that was instrumental in getting this Riverfront Railroad Spur to loop through the neighborhood was the Hero Fruit Jar Company, which with Butterworth, was the main sponsor of the rail line.

Two companies dominated the canning jar industry during the period from 1860 to 1890: Consolidated Fruit Jar Company of New York and the Hero Fruit Jar Company of Philadelphia. Hero was founded just after the Civil War by Salmon B. Rowley (1827–1905) a native New Yorker. His jars were distinguished by a “Hero Cross” on them, a reference to the heroes of the Civil War. The cross looked similar to the Iron Cross but had the initials of H, F, J and Co. Today, some of these jars can bring good money in the bottle-collecting world.

One of Rowley’s inventions was a specialized lid design for the jars “consisting of a top-sealing jar with a metal or glass lid straddling the ground lip, held down by a zinc band.” In an era when many families canned their own food, these preserving jars were extremely important and popular, and Rowley sold them throughout the country.

The most well-known canning jar today is still the Mason jar, developed by John L. Mason about 1858. Rowley’s glass insert came about in 1868, and with the screw lids and lid liners, it helped decrease the chances of spoilage. Rowley battled in the courts throughout the last half of the nineteenth century against patent infringements on his inventions and was also taken to court in 1869 by Mason himself for the same charges, but the court found in Rowley’s favor.

Trying to keep up with the competition, Rowley overextended himself and became $150,000 in debt by 1879. This was remedied with the help of the Kennedy family, who controlled the Spring Garden Bank. Rowley’s daughter had married into the Kennedy clan. The bank cheaply bought Rowley’s Hero Glass Works at a sheriff’s sale, incorporated it under the name of the Hero Fruit Jar Company and appointed Rowley as president. Several Kennedy family members acted as the other officers, and the bank spent money on improvements to the company.

This model worked well for a while, and the company was very profitable throughout the 1880s, when it passed Consolidated as the leading fruit jar maker in America. However, by the early 1890s, when its patents had expired and payouts were reduced, it became a burden on Spring Garden Bank, which still held the mortgage. With other similar investments, the bank eventually collapsed in 1891.

Losing out on its most favored lender, the Hero Fruit Jar Company stumbled along until Salmon B. Rowley died in 1905. By 1909, the company had become the Hero Manufacturing Company and no longer made glass jars, becoming sheet metal specialists instead. Over time, the complex at Gaul and Hagert Streets was taken over by the Joseph P. Cattie Galvanizing & Tinning Works, which in turn was bought out by the German firm Voight & Schweitzer. Only recently was it closed by the company. The two-block site now sits vacant.

In its early years, Hero manufactured chiefly glass fruit jars. In 1869–70, the glass works started out within the block where the old Cattie Galvanizing building stands today (Gaul and Almond and Letterly and Hagert Streets). By 1874, it had expanded and occupied almost the entire block between Gaul and Cedar and Hagert and Letterly Streets (except the row of houses that still sit on Cedar Street). This expanded lot of the company is today’s large empty lot with the cinder block wall around it.

At this time (1870), there were no houses built on the adjacent blocks. Within a year, all the wooden frame buildings were taken down and rebuilt in brick, including the “new glass house” on the west side of Gaul Street where the company had additional ovens and smelting furnaces and several long wooden frame storage facilities for finished products.

By 1889, Hero was listed as having 750 workers when in full operation (150 girls, 300 boys, balance men). After the company’s incorporation, it expanded its products. Besides the manufacture of Mason-improved glass jars and trimmings, it also produced all kinds of sheet and white metal, nickel, silver and gold-plated goods.

As previously noted, H.W. Butterworth & Sons and the Hero Fruit Jar Company were the two main businesses that backed the laying out of the Riverfront Railroad spur down York Street. This spur of the Riverfront Railroad became a reality in 1883 and allowed these local manufactories of today’s Thirty-first Ward to be connected not only by rail to the Philadelphia waterfront but also to the whole rail system of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad and the B&O Railroad lines and, by extension, to other major railroad lines that ran throughout the country.

The rail spur actually started out coming west on Lehigh Avenue from Richmond Street. The Riverfront Railroad ran along Richmond Street, Beach Street and Delaware Avenue, connecting by rail all the manufactories along Philadelphia’s waterfront. In the Kensington and Fishtown area of the city, as the blocks west of the Delaware River saw the development of manufacturing establishments, there was a need to run a spur of the Riverfront Railroad into the residential sections of the neighborhood, where some factories had set up business during the period between the end of the Civil War (1865) and the early 1880s.

As could be expected, the idea of running railroad tracks through residential streets was hotly contested by Kensington’s residents. Back in the 1830s, an all-out riot ensued when rail lines were attempted to be laid down along Front Street above Girard. The opposition at that time won the battle; this time it would not.

This time the opponets to the railway was rallied around an assistant pastor from St. Anne’s Church (Cedar Street and Lehigh Avenue), whose school was said to have had one thousand students at that time. The train line would have the tracks laid practically outside the school’s front doors, and the fear was that children would be killed crossing the tracks. Deaths from railroad crossings were a common occurrence in nineteenth-century Philadelphia. It was the main reason why the trains were eventually elevated in the 1910s, forcing those houses along Lehigh Avenue (and the side streets for a block) to construct a flight of stairs to get into their front doors. This was due to the excavation of the roads so the trains would not have to be elevated so high.

While members of the community protested, this time they did not have the support of local businessmen. The local businesses and, presumably, thousands of their employees who lived in the area all supported the rail line, as it meant better profits and more work due to the efficiency of shipping and receiving of raw and finished goods. The protesters filed a lawsuit against the railroad, but the judge dismissed their claims, and the railroad was built.

The rail tracks were laid down on Lehigh Avenue west from Richmond Street, crossing the old Aramingo Canal, turning south onto Cedar Street and then immediately onto Moyer Street, running all the way down Moyer Street to York Street, turning west on York Street and ending at Cedar Street.

During this time, Moyer Street was named Commerce Street, and it ran through from Lehigh to York. Moyer Street acted as the ground road for the various businesses that lined the Aramingo Canal—hence “Commerce” Street. Aramingo Avenue would have been a better route and wider, but since it was still a canal and would not be converted into a street until the end of the 1890s, Moyer Street served the purpose. Train tracks along Moyer Street can still be seen between Cumberland and York.

Along this branch there were mini spurs of the line that ran into a number of local manufactories, including the previously discussed H.W. Butterworth & Sons on both sides of York Street, between Cedar and Gaul Streets, and Hero Fruit Jar Company, which was located on the two blocks between Hagert and Letterly and Almond and Cedar Streets.

John T. Lewis, an old lead works (later Dutch Boy Paints, still later Anzon Lead), was connected to the railroad from Commerce Street. This company originally started out on the east side of the Aramingo Canal, from Cumberland to Huntingdon (where Appleby’s, Wawa and Rite Aid now are). Once the canal was turned into a street, it expanded across Aramingo Avenue. A rail spur at about Firth and Moyer Streets entered the western plant of John T. Lewis and crossed Aramingo Avenue and went into the eastern plant of the company.

GonzoCRFan's picture

Kenzo wrote:
As far as history go, the PhillyGeoHistory network has zoning maps that go back to the 1800s.

When I turn back the dial, this used to be a glass jar works factory at the time it was constructed on the lot. There was also a structure on the lot to the north and a catwalk that connected the two buildings which it shows on the pre-1910 maps and this was before the Catties owned it.

There used to be a rail stub that went all the way up Letterly Street, right up to people's front doorsteps so trains could run through Moyer (which is a largely gone street), come around the side where Greensgrow Farms now sits, and wind its way up Letterly and then the train could back into either building. You can still see some evidence of the rails in spots on the ground and I am pretty sure the rail stub still exists underneath the surface of Letterly Street up to Cedar.

Funny you should mention the jar factory, my searchings on Google turned up a book written by a local historian, "The Hidden History of Kensington and Fishtown" that made mention of the old HERO glass works.

I walked halfway up Letterly towards Cedar last Friday and yes, you can still see evidence of where the siding still exists under the street. The most fascinating thing about this industry for me is that the sidings crossed one another inside building that still exists. Crossings like this are usually difficult to maintain and are rarely located inside a structure. It seems that the northern building burned in 1980, so I have to somehow scare up a picture or two of that structure.

Sean McD

TrishTonzelli's picture

Thank you Ken. Very informative.

"It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense." Robert G. Ingersoll

Kenzo's picture

SWEET I found the old Galvo:
http://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/view-image.cfm/HGSv23.2249-2250

It was a ring of buildings on that northern lot. All of this went up in smoke in that fire. Letterly is Aramingo Street... and Hagert was named Adams Street.

Ken what's the story behind the changing of Aramingo St to Letterly and Adams disappears and changes to Hagert?

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Kenzo's picture

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

spui's picture

I saw this old picture of the fruit jar company once where the workers were outside and on the roof can anyone help me find that

Ken Milano's picture

Kenzo:

I'm not sure where the name Letterly, Hagert, or Adams came from. Aramingo (the former name of Letterly Street) was named for the Aramingo Canal, which sat where Aramingo Avenue is today. This canal (c1840s-1890s) took the place of Gunnar's Run (sometimes mis-spelt Gunner's), a creek named for Gunnar Rambo, an original Swedish inhabitant of Shackamaxon. This creek was originally called Tumanaraminga (sp?) by the Lenni Lenapes, corrupted to Aramingo by the English/Americans. The creek was serpentine in shape and was straightened out by the building of the Aramingo Canal (a failed venture) in the 1840s. If you were around when they were building the WAWA, RITE AID, etc, you would have noticed large pilings being driven throughout that area, so that they could build there.

The consolidation of the County of Philadelphia into the City of Philadelphia in 1854 resulted in many duplications of street names for the newly expanded city, thus a major street name changing process took place in 1856-1857. One can see this clearly in comparing city directories of that time period, even picking up the old address numbers (my 2300 E. York Street address use to be something like 600 or 800, can't remember right now).

Some of the needed street name changes were never done in the 1850s and there was another round of changes in the late 1880s, and still more in the 1890s. Adams Street turned to Hagert about 1897, as did Aramingo Street change to Letterly at this time, but who or what Adams, Hagert, or Letterly were, I've never picked up on.

At one point it was thought to name many of the east-west street after counties of Pennsylvania, thus north of Center City you have Columbia, Montgomery, Berks, Susquehana, Dauphin, York, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Lehigh, Somerset, Clearfield, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Tioga, Luzerne, plus several more that I can't think of right now.

In South Philly, they took the names of Governors (not in any particular order: Mifflin, Snyder, Wharton, Patterson, etc etc).

Spui: I don't know the picture you speaking of. Was it on the Department of Records site?

What I hope for the Cattie building is that someone saves all those cook looking smoke stacks on the roof, it is one of the more iconic sites in the neighborhood, next to the Harbison Dairy bottle.

spui's picture

Here is a link to the Hero Glassworks http://digitallibrary.hsp.org/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/1823# Very cool picture.

GonzoCRFan's picture

Kenzo, GREAT find. It never occurred to me to try searching the Hexamers for the old Hero plant. That drawing pretty well matches the floor-plan I've seen in old Sanborn maps.

spui, it looks like that photo was probably taken from the roof of the furnace house, looking southwest across Gaul St. The images on historicaerials.com indicate that the south end of the complex bordered by Gaul, Almond, Letterly, and Adams was leveled prior to the 1940 aerial photos - perhaps the result of an earlier large fire? In any event, that shot shows structures that haven't existed for more than 70 years, very cool indeed...

Ken, nice to see you on here, I've gone over your online article on Philly's sugar industry quite a few times. It would definitely be awesome to see some portion of the Cattie plant preserved if the building were to come down, but as the V.P. of a preservation-oriented railroad historical society, I'm all too familiar with the problem of once you do save it from being destroyed, you then have to find a place to keep it during stabilization and restoration, not to mention finding a permanent home in the neighborhood for it . Long-term planning is critical, especially being able to nail down sources of volunteer labor and funding for the project. When my organization rents a 150-ton crane to lift a railroad car, we pay about $4000 for the equipment and crew, and that's IF we find someone who's sympathetic to our cause and cuts us a bit of a break. So as relatively small and light as those vents/stacks probably are, anyone wanting to save them would be looking at at least a grand just to get them off the roof. I don't mean to be a downer at the mere mention of something being saved, but I've learned the hard way to always realistically analyze these sorts of things.

Sean McD

th's picture

GonzoCRFan wrote:
as the V.P. of a preservation-oriented railroad historical society,

Do you have a website?

I've always loved trains. My family was into G-gage when I was growing up. I would love to see pics (or the real thing) when you are finished with your project.

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

GonzoCRFan's picture

TH, we're at www.thecrhs.org We currently have 4 pieces we're working on, our next major hurdle is finding a permanent home for a museum before we take on anything else. We currently have pieces in Topton, PA near Allentown and Middletown, PA near Harrisburg.

Sean McD

Zaw's picture

spui wrote:
Here is a link to the Hero Glassworks http://digitallibrary.hsp.org/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/1823# Very cool picture.

I realize the information is from the Historical Society and all but I don't think photography was even invented in 1820.

You can take the fish out of the town but you can't take the town out of the fish.

spui's picture

Yeah it's more like 1920

dmandy's picture
cheweymid's picture

Zaw wrote:
spui wrote:
Here is a link to the Hero Glassworks http://digitallibrary.hsp.org/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/1823# Very cool picture.

I realize the information is from the Historical Society and all but I don't think photography was even invented in 1820.

I was going to say the same thing. The earliest surviving daguerreotypes are from the mid-1820's so this picture was much later than that. 1920 is way too late, though. That picture was taken around 1870.

Hard and crunchey on the outside, soft and chewey in the middle.

Kenzo's picture

I think this picture was taken on the roof of the machine shop at Gaul and Hagert. If you look at the elevation drawing for the fruit jar factory the men must be standing on the buildings which is the lot that is now entirely vacant. On the easternmost side of the property is a very large furnace anchored on the corner on the southeast edge of the property which begins a ring of storage buildings all around it to store finished product on its way to the rail yards.

When the railroad stub was run through the properties it would have come in through the middle of the block into that open area; since the rails are not there and the streets are still dirt plus there's horse-drawn carts this predates running the rail stubs in the front of people's living rooms.

Ugh can you imagine the coal dust that must have kicked up after the rails started operating... you would probably have to change your clothes at least twice a day to keep clean.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

You mention Jack Frost, while we were doing some cleaning out; I just found a tape of the building coming down.

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"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)