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The History of Holmesburg, PA

holmesburg workers' compensation lawyer near thomas holme library

The workers' compensation lawyers in Holmesburg, PA, sponsor this article to present detailed information about the area.

Holmesburg is a neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bordered by Brous Avenue, Ryan Avenue, and Holme Avenue, the charming area offers residents a comfortable lifestyle. Holmesburg is located within ZIP codes 19136, 19135, 19114, and area codes 215, 267, and 445.


Holmesburg's first inhabitants were the Lenape Indians, a Native American tribe. The area was settled by William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, and later sold to Thomas Holme in 1682 to establish the Wellspring Plantation.

By 1790, a 26-acre section of the land was broken up by Holme's descendants and deemed the Village of Holmesburg, named after Thomas Holme.

Throughout the 1700s, Holmesburg developed various textile mills, sawmills, and cider mills. By 1834, the Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad opened and established a station in Holmesburg in 1862.

The railroad continued to extend, and by 1863, the Frankford and Holmesburg Railroad was incorporated to build a line from Frankford to Holmesburg. The line was completed and opened in 1870 and brought commuters along with increased foot traffic to the community.

Notable Residents in History

Since the railroads arrived in Holmesburg, the neighborhood has continued to develop and has been home to some notable figures in the town's history.

The first being George A. Castor, who was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives for Pennsylvania. The politician was born in Holmesburg and became a merchant tailor with grand establishments in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia.

Castor built a locally renowned mansion on Solley Avenue overlooking Pennypack Creek, which, as of 2018, is now occupied by the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, a Roman Catholic women's congregation.

Another notable person in Holmesburg's history was Edwin Forest, a prominent nineteenth-century American Shakespearean actor. Forest purchased 100 acres of land on Frankford Avenue, which was turned into the Forest Home for retired actors from 1876 to 1927. Although the home is no longer standing today, as it was obtained for Pennypack parkland in 1905, Forest was still a prominent figure in Holmesburg history.

Thomas Holme Library

One of the most prominent buildings connected to the history of Holmesburg is the Thomas Holme Library. Named after the town's founder, the library was completed in 1906 and was the fifth library built through Andrew Carnegie's endowment.

The lot the library stands upon was donated by the Lower Dublin Academy through an endowment provided by the Holme family. Today, the library is operated by The Free Library of Philadelphia, the public library system serving the entire County of Philadelphia.

Horace W. Castor designed the beautiful library in the Beaux-Arts Style. The library is beloved by communities and is most used by students within the neighborhood.

Want to learn more? See the related: A Tour of Eddington, PA

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David Petrone
Date Published: June 28, 2021
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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This website is sponsored by Justice Guardians, LLC. We have offices in Pennsylvania with attorneys licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel for prosecuting cases and while this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases are referred to other attorneys for principal responsibility.
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