Bridesburg, the northernmost of Philadelphia's River Wards, is a river-front neighborhood in the Northeast section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Bridesburg is an historically German and Irish community, with a significant community of Polish immigrants who arrived mostly in the early- to mid-twentieth century. The community is home to two Catholic churches: All Saints Church, designed by Edwin Forrest Durang, built in 1889; and Saint John Cantius Church, built some time after 1892 in Polish Cathedral style.
St. John Cantius Church in Bridesburg
Location of Bridesburg in Pennsylvania
Bridesburg (the United States)
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The historic boundaries of the former borough of Bridesburg were the original course of Frankford Creek around the south and west, the Delaware River to the southeast, and Port Richmond to the southwest, along a border at Pike Street near Wheatsheaf Lane. Trenton Ave or the Trenton line is the border to the western edge of the neighborhood that borders Frankford. Adjacent neighborhoods are Wissinoming to the northeast, Whitehall to the north, Frankford to the northwest, and Port Richmond to the southwest.
The 19137 ZIP Code, of which Bridesburg forms 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 course of Frankford Creek. A small portion of Bridesburg (also 19137) is situated directly next to the 19124 ZIP code known as Frankford.
Before the arrival of Europeans, the Lenni Lenape Indians inhabited the region. 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.
In 1638, the Swedes bought land east of the Delaware River from the Indians and named it New Sweden. The Swedes lived with the Indians on friendly terms. By 1645 the Swedes had expanded to the Northeast of modern-day Philadelphia, and in 1647 the Dutch arrived. But it was not until the 1680s when the English came with William Penn that the area was actually developed. After 1750, Germans then settled the area, particularly in Bridesburg and Frankford.
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 the 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.
The region was known in Colonial times as Point-no-Point, due to the deceptive appearance of the blunt cape at the mouth of Frankford Creek. When first seen going northward it appeared to be a point, sharply jutting into the stream, but upon approaching, 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 pupils the 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 John Adams wrote:
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.
Bridesburg was incorporated as a borough on April 1, 1848; it included the peninsula between the lower Frankford Creek and the Delaware River, 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 Frankford Creek. About one-hundred forty years ago, the villagers decided the name was too long, and shortened it to Bridesburg. In 1854, the borough was annexed to the city of Philadelphia in the Act of Consolidation.
Bridesburg is home to the second oldest VFW Post in the world, founded in 1899.
Bridesburg is also home to the Joseph A. Ferko String Band. The Ferko String Band is a member of the Philadelphia String Band Association, which is a division of the Philadelphia Mummers Parade.
As of the 2010 Census, Bridesburg had a population of 8,638, of which 90% was white, 5.5% Hispanic, 1.9% was black or African-American, 0.6% was Asian, and the remaining 2% was other or mixed races.
For its size, Bridesburg is the home of a large number of churches:
The School District of Philadelphia operates Bridesburg Elementary School, which serves elementary school students. Residents are also zoned to Warren G. Harding Middle School and Frankford High School.
At one time, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia operated two Catholic schools in Bridesburg: All Saints School (1864-2004) and St. John Cantius School. Pope John Paul II Regional Catholic School (formerly St. John Cantius Elementary School) was in operation from 2004 until 2012. Students choosing Catholic education in a Catholic school attend Blessed Trinity Regional School (formerly St. Timothy's School) in Mayfair since September 2012.
Charter schools include:
Septa bus routes 25, 73, J, and 84 all run in/near the neighborhood. SEPTA Regional Rails also has a train station for its route, the Trenton line, nearby. The station's name is Bridesburg Train Station.
The Betsy Ross Bridge, also known as the Ross Memorial Bridge, is a continuous steel truss bridge spanning the Delaware River from the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania to Pennsauken, New Jersey. It was built from 1969 to 1974, and opened in April 1976, during the American Bicentennial Year. It was originally planned to be named as the "Delair Bridge", after a paralleling vertical lift bridge owned by Pennsylvania Railroad (which is now used by Conrail and New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Line), but was instead later named for Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress and reputed creator of the first American flag in 1776, making it the first automotive bridge named for a woman in America and the second bridge overall (after Iowa's Boone High Bridge was renamed the Kate Shelley High Bridge in 1912). The bridge is adjacent to the mouth of Frankford Creek.Bridesburg School
Not to be confused with the Bridesburg Elementary Public School at 2824 Jenks St. in the same neighborhood.Bridesburg School, also known as Irving School, is a historic school in the Bridesburg neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the third-oldest surviving school building in Philadelphia, after the Mifflin School, and the much altered Penn Township School. The two-story building was built by Henry Funk in 1847-48 with five classrooms. In 1866, three classrooms were added by builder Charles Fay. In 1888 it was replaced by the new Bridesburg School, and then sold in 1894. It is currently used as a warehouse.The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.Bridesburg station
Bridesburg station is a SEPTA Regional Rail station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Located at Bridge Street and Harbison Avenue in the Bridesburg neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, it serves the Trenton Line.
The station is in zone 2 on the SEPTA Trenton Line, on the Amtrak Northeast Corridor, and is 10.2 track miles from Suburban Station. In 2005, this station saw 162 boardings on an average weekday. Amtrak does not stop at this station.Frankford Arsenal
The Frankford Arsenal is a former United States Army ammunition plant located adjacent to the Bridesburg neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, north of the original course of Frankford Creek.St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church, Philadelphia
St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church, Philadelphia, is located in Northeast Philadelphia in Bridesburg and serves the local Polish-speaking population in the area. It is located at 4415 Almond Street.The chapel is next to the church on Thompson Street. Sunday Masses are celebrated in the chapel from June to September. Daily Masses are also celebrated in the chapel.
All Saints Parish and St. John Cantius Parish merged to become a new parish at the site of St. John Cantius, with All Saints Church remaining “a worship site for the time being,” according to a statement by the archdiocese.Washington Carroll Tevis
Washington Carroll Tevis (February 22, 1829 – September 29, 1900), also known as Charles Carroll Tevis, Nassim Bey and Charles Carroll de Taillevis, was an American-born soldier of fortune who served in a variety of armies and conflicts during the 19th century.
As a consolidated city-county Philadelphia is its own county seat.