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The Deep History of Wissahickon, PA

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The personal injury attorneys in Wissahickon, PA, sponsor this article to present detailed information about the area.

Wissahickon is a neighborhood in lower Northwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The neighborhood is located adjacent to Roxborough and Manayunk and is within ZIP code 19128.


Wissahickon is named after the Lenni Lenape word, wisameckham, for catfish creek. The reference is based on the fish that were once plentiful in Wissahickon Creek.

The area of Wissahickon was founded by Pencoryd Iron Works officials in the late nineteenth century.

In the 1880s, several mill owners and rich business owners from Manayunk moved to Wissahikon to seek elegant real estate. The most popular and sought-out land was predominately owned by notable Philadelphia families, including the Camac's, Dobson, Salaignac's, and Wetherill's.

The homes of Wissahickon were grand single-detached and semi-detached homes with lavish side and rear yards. The stunning homes created a unique park-side Victorian paradise.

Wissahickon was, a still is, considered a highly desirable place to live. With the neighborhood's proximity to the Wissahickon Valley and grand homes in the Victorian style, tree-lined streets, new sewers, and water services, Wissahickon was the place to be.

Historic Sites

With such a rich history of stunning Victorian homes, the neighborhood is home to several historic buildings and structures. Some of which include,

Merrick Hall

  • Located on the 5300 block of Ridge Avenue, the hall is the oldest building on the Northern Children's Service campus. The stunning building was made by Lindley Johnson, a notable Philadelphia architect, in the 1860s. The building resembles the Italianate style and was originally the former home of 19th-century industrialist J. Vaughan Merrick.

The Holt House

  • Located at 145 Sumac Street, the house built in the Queen Anne style with Eastlake Victorian elements of 1884 was owned by James Z. and Mary Holt, who were wealthy, prominent figures in Philadelphia society. The couple was also early investors in the development of the Wissahickon neighborhood. In 2019, staff from the Philadelphia Historical Commission’s Committee on Historic Designation resubmitted a nomination for historic designation consideration.

The Amos Barnes Hotel

  • Located at 559 Righter Street, this hotel, built in the Gothic Revival Style with Victorian Cottage Elements in 1856, was owned by Amos Barnes, a Philadelphia architect who designed the Plays and Players Theater.

St. Timothy's Workingmen's Club and Institute

  • Located at the intersection of Ridge Avenue, Terrace Street, and Vassar Street, the club founded in 1872 was donated by the Merrick Family and St. Timothy's Episcopal Church. The building was designed by architect Charles M. Burns Jr, completed in 1877, and is designed in High Victorian Gothic Style. The building was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Wissahickon, PA, is home to a grand long-standing history of elegance. The neighborhood's architecture and lavish homes are unmatched, and it is certainly a must-see.

Enjoyed this article? Learn more in History Within Allegheny West, PA

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David Petrone
Date Published: May 14, 2021
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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