My neighborhood has a historian: Ken Milano.
The author of several books and speeches, a friend gave me his cherished Remembering Kensington and Fishtown: Philadelphia’s Riverward Neighborhoods, which, of course, has lots of focus on my neighborhood and, even, my own block.
Living in a neighborhood named for its fishing communities, notably of the shad of Delaware Avenue, perhaps one of my favorite take aways from the book was an old local fisherman’s rhyme [Page 37]:
When the Lord made shad,
The Devil was mad,
For it seemed such a taste of delight,
So to poison the scheme,
He jumped in the stream,
And stuck in the bones out of spite.
The 128-page book is full of interesting stories, but, below, I share some of my other favorites:
Did William Penn’s Treaty with the Leni-Lenape Take Place? [Page 17]
Earliest Known Use of the Name ‘Fishtown’ [Page 76] — 1808
Edgar Allan Poe Reports on Kensington in 1840 [Page 80] — On the Kensington railroad riots
USS Alligator, first submarine of the United States Navy [Page 82] —
Cohocksink Creek, Kensington’s Historical Border [Page 91] — Discusses Kensington and Fishtown boundaries
West Street Burial Ground [Page 96] — Across the street from my house was a graveyard