An Indian on a 100' pole at 5th & York, today being near Callowhill to Vine.

Discussion in 'History' started by Moonraker, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Colin P. Varga

    Colin P. Varga Well-Known Member

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    Who's to say that this isn't in the AtwaterKent or another institution in Philadelphia. But even the books in which is it mentioned don't have a photo or illustration. This all leads to one conclusion that this figure wasn't very important and therefore no newspaper story of it being taken down.

    Also, there seems to be an assumption that Philadelphians cared about this item or their history in general in the 1920's or earlier. If that were true the house that Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence or the President's House wouldn't have been torn down. I wonder if those were news worthy?

    In the 1920's how would a reporter sell this historic flagpole story to an editor? And would readers want to read it? And would the story have been over-shadowed by other stories that day for space in the paper.

    The image of the Ben Franklin Br. with a flagpole with something on top of it in 1926 is the most intriguing possibility of what could have happened to the flagpole. If this were the same flagpole it would have only been moved a few blocks from it's original location. When the bridge was opened there must have been newspapers describing the event and location.
     
  2. CHIOSSO

    CHIOSSO Schuylkill Ranger

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    Morley's original story about the Indian pole appeared in the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger between 1918 and 1919.
     
  3. Colin P. Varga

    Colin P. Varga Well-Known Member

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    Slow newsday? Maybe nobody read that story and that's why there wasn't one when the pole came down. Maybe the news was significantly different the day the pole came down.
     
  4. CHIOSSO

    CHIOSSO Schuylkill Ranger

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    On the Old York Road near Noble Street there was a tall flag pole with the figure of an Indian upon the top It was the custom of the fire companies to take their engine there to test it by seeing if they could throw a stream of water to the top of the Indian Pole as it was called These exhibitions attracted crowds of people and are remembered by persons now living The rows between rival fire companies at a fire became characteristics of the time and many of these fights for priority took precedence over the fire in the attentions of the companies Some of the fire companies notably the United States were composed chiefly of Quakers and it was a curious sight to see these enthusiastic Friends rushing to a fire in their brightly coloured tin hats and plain coats

    Early Philadelphia: its people, life and progress. 1917
     
  5. Colin P. Varga

    Colin P. Varga Well-Known Member

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    Two things, first it's an article about fire companies. Secondly, it refers to the flagpole in the past tense. Fire sells. Flagpoles probably not.
     
  6. CHIOSSO

    CHIOSSO Schuylkill Ranger

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    One thing I did not post in response to you.
     
  7. Colin P. Varga

    Colin P. Varga Well-Known Member

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    Desilver's 1833 Directory...

    I was looking through this 1833 directory when I found another piece of the puzzle. The connection to Tammany and that it probably has nothing to do with "Tammany Hall" in NYC. According to this directory there was a Tammany St. in the neighborhood of this weather vane and intersection:

    Tammany st, E from 318, Old York, road, to
    N. 2nd1 bet Noble and Green


    The Philadelphia Directory : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
     
  8. Moonraker

    Moonraker Rocket Scientist

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    This is one for Zark. But take a look at PhilaGeoHistory Maps Viewer for the 1843 map. Noble St. is clearly well below SG and Green is above SG St.

    Could Tammany have been the name of Buttonwood, when it transited into the Northern Liberties District, ie. east of 318 York?


    Another point made by the 1843 map is that Spring Garden District & the Northern Liberties share a boundary-border being 6th Street.
    Zark once pointed out that SG street ended at 6th until the 1900's.
    Also, per the map NL's southern border is Vine Street. It's northern boundary with Kensington seems to be the Arrimingo Canal.
    Please clarify, was there an Arrimingo Creek, since that boundary meanders N-S as it continues west from the canal.

    Also in that 1843 map, just south of Noble, about 6th, what is the squigley line running east-west? a row of trees or a cliff?
     
    #68 Moonraker, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  9. Titus

    Titus Well-Known Member

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    Was the Aramingo Canal the same as Cohocksink Creek?

    Sixth Street was the border between SG & NL but the main road thereabouts was 5th Street or Old York Road. When I was a kid I knew an old German fellow from Olney that still called it Fünf Strasse. I think SG was extended to the Delaware in the 1920s.
     
  10. Titus

    Titus Well-Known Member

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    Was the Aramingo Canal the same as Cohocksink Creek?

    Sixth Street was the border between SG & NL but the main road thereabouts was 5th Street or Old York Road. When I was a kid I knew an old German fellow from Olney that still called it Fünf Strasse. I think SG was extended to the Delaware in the 1920s.
     
  11. thoth

    thoth I LOOK LIKE THIS

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    Pretty sure the Aramingo Canal was an abortive attempt to build an artificial canal near the 95 Girard ramp, may have fed off of a different stream, not sure. Cohocksink was a creek that divided part of NL from Kensington and relatively distant from where the Aramingo canal was.
     
  12. ZARK

    ZARK Well-Known Member

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    Northern Liberties Map showing the boundaries [​IMG] and yes, Buttonwood street was Tammany street between 2nd street and York Ave. before the consolidation, as shown here in this 1851 Library Co. lithograph of York Ave and Tammany street(Buttonwood street)...[​IMG] From the Temple Univ. Urban Archives site, this ca.1920s photo shows a narrow Spring Garden street looking east from 6th street towards 5th. all the houses along 5th street eventually were demolishes to make way for the building of Spring Garden street through Northern liberties...[​IMG] go to the Urban Archives site and you can do some pretty cool zooming in on that photo....Here....http://digital.library.temple.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15037coll5/id/551/rec/3
     
    #72 ZARK, Jan 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  13. Colin P. Varga

    Colin P. Varga Well-Known Member

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    Just to clarify, this "Tammany Hall" in Philly would have not been associated with Boss Tweed in NYC in any way except that Tweed's organization was headquartered in the New York "Tammany Hall". By the time Tweed comes along Tammany societies had pretty much disbanded but the name Tammany Hall was still used for the name of the building where he was HQ'd.
     
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  14. ZARK

    ZARK Well-Known Member

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    My take, it was just a tap room that used the same name, being it was located on Tammany street in the day. Also that same building is here on the right of this ca.1964 photo....[​IMG]
     
  15. Titus

    Titus Well-Known Member

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    That's the old Episcopal Church of the Advent on the left. Before WW II it housed a Polish Episcopalian congregation.
     
  16. Colin P. Varga

    Colin P. Varga Well-Known Member

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    The Tammany Hall in Philly and NYC were probably associated as Tammany Societies were popular from the time of the Revolution to about 1830 and then died out. What did they do? Celebrate Saint Tammany Day, May 1! And probably help with various charities, and probably have a good ale or two as well.
     
  17. nanyika

    nanyika Well-Known Member

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    The Tammany societies started in Philadelphia in 1772. In the atmosphere of the Revolution and its aftermath, they spread throughout the country (to New York and even to small towns), as an expression of popular sentiment for democracy and liberty. The maypole, which American patriots had converted into a "liberty pole" (like the one at 4th & Wood), was a central part of their celebrations. The former King of the May, a symbolic figure that went back to pagan times in England, was Americanized into "King Tammany," and later, "Saint Tammany." "Tammany" was a reference to Chief Tammenend (died cc. 1701) of the Lenape people, who allegedly signed the treaty with William Penn.

    The societies dedicated themselves to the fight for democratic rights and American independence. In the early Republic, there was overlap in purpose and membership with the Democratic Societies that sprang up around the country, and the movement eventually morphed into the Democratic Republican Party, which supported Jefferson as president. But from what I gather, Colin P. Varga is right that the societies were basically social groups and drinking clubs. They had their own rituals, which were derived from a mythological and romantic interpretation of American Indian societies.
     
  18. LedZep2147

    LedZep2147 Well-Known Member

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    I was able to ask my grandmother if she remembered an Indian on a pole at 4th an Wood Street.

    To give you some background on my family's history in the area, my Grandmother was born in 1926, and lived on the 300 block of Wood Street, 500 block of Vine Street, then bought a house in 1955 on Lawrence Street. She finally sold her house in 2000.

    She told me she does recall that there was a pole at the intersection of Wood Street, 4th, and York Avenues. She didn't remember what was on top in particular, but considering she remembered it as a kid, it might have been removed sometime in the early to mid 1930's. She of course had to remind me that Lawrence Street was actually Crown Street when she was a kid.

    When I was a kid growing up in the neighborhood (300 block York Avenue), I do remember when York Avenue went all the way up to Callowhill Street. It was a cobblestone street, and I remember the small triangular block was full of broken bricks and overgrown weeds where the pole would have been.
     
  19. Titus

    Titus Well-Known Member

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    It would be great to hear of other individuals who lived there at the time to see if their memories were similar. Thanks LedZep.
     
  20. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    Liberty Pole - Weathervane - Chief Tammany - Old York Road and Wood Street - 1862 - 1894 - 1924



    [​IMG]
    Inquirer 5 July 1862




    [​IMG]
    Inquirer 29 June 1894



    Some bits and pieces on the long lost Liberty Pole with a Wooden Indian figure of St. Tammany that once graced the traffic triangle around Old York Road and Wood Street.

    I have reprinted the image form the Library of Congress of a 1938 WPA poster that fits the description of Philly icon and some newspaper bits from 1894 that says the "weather vane" was pointing, from 1862 that puts its address at OYR and Wood St. and a reprint of a Phila. Bulletin Article in a New York Newspaper from Jan 1924.

    Over all, I have used a measure to compare the 9-1/2 H X 9 foot W of the Harry Kyriakodis Hidden City Article. Have you seen the Indian Pole?


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    A lot of speculation here but thinking about it, let me say this.

    Was it a Weathervane or decoration? Weathervane of Chief Tammany of the size and weights mentioned make me think that as a weather vane it was would a high maintenance item needing grease up top to lubricate a turning figure to the wind.

    I am reminded that the original Diana weathervane on the original Madison Square Garden in 1892 was too big and too heavy to do the job of weathervane and was farmed out to the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago 1893 only to be eventually destroyed or damaged when that exhibit building burnt down after the closing of the fair. That it is was the second smaller lighter copper Diana weathervane stood above that MSG until 1925 and eventually making it to the Philly Museum of Art.

    That the repairs suggested in the 1894 article were paint and copper trim around the edge to retard further rot on the wood when the paint had faded.

    Speaking of paint, I would think that the primary benefactor of the Liberty Pole and weathervane would be done by the French Paint company that probably contributed paint to maintaining brightness of a local object of interest.

    The 1924 article on wooden Indians indicate that the whole thing might still be standing as of January 1924. That is also the year of Howard B French's, one of the local merchants so enthusiastic about saving the old monument, death.

    That without paint and maintenance, the top likely fell off in pieces in a good thunderstorm one day. It is taken down, put in storage and or tossed by post 1924 merchants who do not want the expense of something the city probably would not maintain.

    The image on the WPA poster of a wooden Indian weathervane might be a true likeness.

    I would like to think that this old relic in semi-original condition in bits, pieces or a glued together whole is in some private collection somewhere in some upstate New York mansion of old money that has yet to catalog or dispose of old art work in storage etc.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Geneseo NY Livingston Democrat 2 Jan 1924


    .
     
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  21. Asuit

    Asuit Well-Known Member

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    Error
     

    Attached Files:

    #81 Asuit, Oct 12, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  22. Asuit

    Asuit Well-Known Member

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  23. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    I did not highlight item #2 of four flag raisings that Fourth. The building above does look like it could hang a thirty foot long flag.
     
  24. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    [​IMG]
    Samuel H. French & Co. - 4th and Callowhill - King's Views of Philadelphia - 1900


    Doing some further research, Howard B. French had the clout to move and shake things in that neighborhood. He was one time President of the Pharmacy College, one time President of the Chamber of Commerce etc.

    Upon his death in 1924, the family trust of his father Samuel H. French was divided up among his one daughter and her 3 cousins. No family member running the company after that and with it any interest in preserving the local Tammany weathervane I would think.

    Business did do some pharmaceuticals but mostly paint and cements, cement colorings, plasters etc. Howard B. French was first cousin to Harry B. French of Smith Kline & French fame btw.

    And I can also see since the flagpole was replaced by the city in 1894 that the city probably would probably not want to spend money on the Weathervane which still might have technically, legally, belonged to a Tammany society and or such.

    .
     
  25. Asuit

    Asuit Well-Known Member

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  26. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    Congratulations Asuit!

    Identifying an image perhaps makes a search for more info on the art object in a possible private collection.

    At this point perhaps the city should commission some commemorative artwork or duplicate art work in metal.

    Maybe even share space on the steps of the Art Museum, giving Diana a vacation after her most recent horrible gold face lift.
     
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  27. Titus

    Titus Well-Known Member

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    It is, however, possible that the image in the advertisement is a rough idea and the simplified Chief Tammany version shown above is closer to the actual weathervane on York Avenue. I hadn't be aware of this landmark until Harry K wrote about it a couple of years back for Hidden City. It's a wonderful mystery and has certainly captured my imagination and that of many others.

    Great find however, Asuit !
     
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  28. Burholme06

    Burholme06 Well-Known Member

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    Amazing work on this guys!
     
  29. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    I can see your point where the 1844 advertisement image can be an idealized version of the actual object.
     
    #89 Phillyxpat, Oct 20, 2017 at 6:41 PM
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017 at 7:29 PM
  30. Phillyxpat

    Phillyxpat Harrowgateer

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    Another bit of history from a newspaper regarding the event. Chief Eisenhower mentioned above is Chief of the Bureau of Public Property with the city is Alfred S. Eisenhower and under Director Abraham M. Beitler of the Dept of Public Safety mentioned below.


    [​IMG]
    Inquirer 4 May 1894


    .
     
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