Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The Boundaries of Harrowgate, Philly – Kenzo vs. Gatee
This all got started over the unique Philly and or Kenzo rocket science about where Kensington ends and Harrowgate begins kinda bar talk. I grew up on that end of that northeast Philly turf. The other end of turf questions, rocket science, regarding the boundaries of Fishtown and Kensington – I am not going to touch here.
With the Act of Consolidation of 1854, all districts, townships and boroughs in Philadelphia County were brought under the one authority of Philadelphia city. This was done to improve infrastructure developments and also to establish some law and order outside the then downtown limits of Philadelphia city.
In other words if you killed somebody in center city in a bar fight or street knife fight, you hauled ass over the border into the bad lands, the Northern Liberties, where I think the traditional Fishtown and or Kensington begin on a map, to a place that literally had no police force, where you might be safe for some time depending on how important the victim was – you know how that goes etc.
The so called anti-Catholic riots in 1844 that burned down half of Kensington back then happened according to Wikipedia because the only cop in Kensington was the entire police force with the title of Sheriff. The neighboring Philly city militia was reluctant to respond to that Kensington Sheriff's pleas for help because the city militia got stiffed in the past and was not paid for services rendered previously. Who can ya trust?
As it turns out, Harrowgate was not one of those political entities that were absorbed into the greater Philadelphia in 1854. It is or was just a state of mind I guess. There was a health spa, healing well water in the 1780s and 1790s that was connected to a hotel lasting until the 1840s near the present Harrowgate Park at the Tioga El stop.
The hotel had a reputation of sorts from reading some historic research. Apparently actors and entertainers were not allowed to register at any respectable hotel in old Philly, so prim, proper and Quaker. The actors had to hike it or ride it up to Harrowgate if they wanted a hotel room.
Whatever. Must have been an interesting place at one time in terms of the local party scene.
Two things have inspired me to write this about Harrowgate and its possible boundaries.
One is that I see real estate maps of “Harrowgate” that don’t cut the mustard.
Two, a famous Harrowgate landmark, the Cedar Gove mansion moved to Fairmount Park in the 1920s, is being listed by some writers as having been in Frankford. Frankford is not Harrowgate and vice versa.
While we are on the subject, let me put Cedar Grove on the Harrowgate map since all tour guides and written guides don’t have a clue where it once was located in either Harrowgate or Frankford.
It was on a map just off the western extension of E Sedgley Ave. past the intersection of E. Sedgley Ave. and “K” Street. In present day terms, its original location is now in the middle of a parking lot of what appears on Google satellite to be a warehouse off Eire Avenue.
That at least puts one object in the picture as being in Harrowgate besides Harrowgate Park.
I think the minimum boundaries or the heart of Harrowgate might be the parish boundaries of Saint Joan of Arc Parish at Atlantic St. and Frandford Ave. which has always listed itself as St. Joan of Arc Harrowgate since its founding around 1919.
In fact on old maps, Atlantic Street at Frankford Ave. was the start of a long gone road, “Harrowgate Lane”, that went straight to Cedar Grove on those old maps.
The Parish boundaries are Clockwise:
Aramingo to Venango to Tulip to Allegheny to Emerald to E.Westmoreland to Jasper to Ontario to “J” to Erie/Torresdale to Frankford Creek