Friday, September 30, 2022

Old names for some Delco Creeks, A new booklet and October Events!!!

A view of the Brandywine Creek from about 1910. The exact location is unknown.


          Back in the very old days Delaware Countians took a swim in Amosland kill, went wading in Calkoen Creek, fished for croakers in Mill Creek, and went boating on the Crooms.  And the Lenape Indians sailed birch bark canoes on the Meechoppenackhan.

          Today there aren’t any Indians on the Meechoppenackhan but there are modern canoes on the Chester River, boats on Crum Creek, fishermen in Cobbs Creek and waders and swimmers in Darby Creek.

          Practically all of the county waterways were known by other names during the early years.  Following are the stories of the old names and accounts of how the streams got their present-day titles.

          The proper Indian name for Chester Creek was the tongue twister – Meechoppenackhan.  Translated, this name meant “the large potato stream” or the “stream along which potatoes grow.”  The Okehocking Indians, a tribe of the Lenapes, owned most of the land along the creek.

          Whether they raised the potatoes or whether they grew wild the records do not show.  However, the name would hardly be applicable today since the banks of the Chester River aren’t renowned for their potato bearing qualities.

          The present name of the river seems much more appropriate.  It was obviously named for the city although there is no record of any formal naming date.  Opinion is that common usage affixed the name.  Today, however, there is still some discrepancy.  Officially it is the Chester River although many persons insist on calling it the Chester Creek, the name by which it was known for years and years.

          Cobbs Creek, which forms the eastern boundary of the county separating it from Philadelphia, was known as Mill Kill or Creek in the early days of local settlement.  The name Mill was given because the Swedish water mill built by Governor Printz in 1643 was located on its banks.

          When the English settlers moved in, the name Cobbs was given.  It seems the name was derived from William Cobb who owned a large tract of land along the banks of the creek.  In 1683 Cobb was appointed by the court at Chester as constable for “Amosland and Calkoen Hook.”  These sections are now Ridley Township and Folcroft.

          Darby Creek had then old names, Mill Creek, Calkoen Creek and Amosland Kill or Creek.  It was later named Darby for the township and borough located along its banks.  Originally the creek was considered a branch of Cobbs Creek despite the fact that it is a much larger stream.

          One county stream that still retains its old name is the Muckinipattus.  This stream starts in Springfield Township, flows through Upper Darby and the northern segment of Darby Township, then through Glenolden and then forms through Glenolden, and then forms the boundary between Norwood and Folcroft.  The name is undoubtedly of Indian origin although there is no record of what the odd title meant in Lenape Indian language.

          Stoney Creek was most probably named by everyday reference.  A common name for a creek the title was probably descriptive, although not too exclusively, of the many stones in the creek bed.  Stoney Creek also starts in Springfield Township and flows through Ridley Township and Ridley Park.

          At the other end of the county is the Brandywine.  There are three theories on the origin of the name of the historic creek on whose banks one of the decisive battles of the Revolutionary War was fought.

          The first story tells about a vessel laden with “branntwein,” or brandy that was sunk in the waters of the creek.  Thus the name – the creek with the “branntwein” in it – Brandywine being a corruption of the original name.

          Another explanation says that the name was applied because “the slough near Downingtown discharged its muddy waters into the creek tinging it the color of brandy.”

          The third theory is that the name was given for a man named Andrew Braindwine, who once owned land close to the banks of the mouth of the creek.

          Ridley Creek was undoubtedly named for the same reason Ridley Township and Ridley Borough were named.  The name was taken from the English home of John Simcock, one of the area’s earliest settlers.

          Crum Creek was believed to have been named by the early Swedish settlers and Crum is believed to be a man’s name.  Records show that the name was originally spelled Croome and that the present name is a corruption of that.




DCHPN Monthly


Happy Halloween!

Lots of spooky things happening this month

Some events this weekend are cancelled/postponed due to the weather.

Check before you go and stay dry!

Read the announcements below for important information


October Events

Preservation Alliance Neighborhood Walking Tours

May- October, Saturdays 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Sundays 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Various locations- check website

Walking tours of various places in Philadelphia and surrounding areas led by experienced tour guides. Saturdays at 10 am and Sundays at 2 pm, rain or shine. Locations and tours listed on website. $10-15

Delco Arts Week

Oct 01, 9:30 AM – Oct 09, 5:00 PM

Various locations and dates- see website


Nine days – including two full weekends – celebrating the performing, visual, and creative arts in Delaware County. Check out the calendar of events for more details. Some events free.

**Special Tour** St. Vincent de Paul Church

Oct 01, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

St. Vincent De Paul Church Rectory, 109 E Price St, Philadelphia, PA 19144


St. Vincent de Paul was recognized in this year's Preservation Achievement Awards for their work in the Church's roof restoration and interior rehabilitation. They consisted of replacement of the roofing systems, repair of wood trusses, fabrication of a new gilded cross, and lots more. $15/20

[Postponed]*2022 Chester River Festival

Oct 01, 11:00 AM – Oct 02, 2:00 PM

Subaru Park Plaza, 2501 Seaport Dr, Chester, PA 19013


A day to celebrate the Chester community along the Delaware River. There will be food trucks, fun family activities, local community groups, environmental education, and giveaways.

Event is postponed but check website for updates.

*Organized Crime: Prohibition Era - A Virtual Tour of Eastern State Penitentiary

Oct 04, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Zoom- registration required


Embark on an in-depth virtual exploration of vice, scandal and the struggles Eastern State Penitentiary faced in the early 20th century. This guided program includes a brief overview of Eastern State’s founding principles, highlights organized crime figures who spent time there, including Al Capone.

Up the Hills of East Falls: From Mill Town (Twice) to Suburb in City

Oct 04, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Zoom- registration required


The now submerged falls on the Schuylkill River, about 5 miles from central Philly, once provided splendid scenery and excellent fishing (well-known to the Lenape). Several mills built as early as the late 1600s on the lower Wissahickon Creek and on Falls Run added industry to recreation. $10-15

*Archives & Records Management Seminar: Becoming a Digital Government

Oct 05, 10:00 AM

Zoom- registration required


National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has developed guidance, digitization standards, and other records management solutions to aid in the transition to a paperless government. Mr. Ravanbakhsh will discuss these initiatives, the issues encountered, and how they were addressed.

*Ridley Creek State Park 50th Anniversary- Mansion tours and talks

Oct 05, 6:15 PM – 7:45 PM

Mansion at Ridley Creek State Park,

+39.9508, -75.4517, Glen Mills, PA 19342


The Friends of Ridley Creek State Park is proudly celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the park and we want you to join in on the fun! Join us at the Mansion to take part in tours of the mansion, listen to historical presentations led by Keith Lockhart, and enjoy some refreshments! Registration req.

*The Lenape and the Arrival of the Europeans

Oct 05, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Pennepack Baptist Church, 8732 Krewstown Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19115


This presentation by Churchville Nature Center outlines the culture of the Lenape before and after the arrival of the European colonists. The story of these changes is told through a PowerPoint presentation as well as hands-on examples of food, clothing, tools, furs, and trade goods.

Zoom option.

Rowhouse City: History and Adaptation in Philadelphia

Oct 07, 9:00 AM – Oct 08, 5:00 PM

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104


This two-day symposium will focus on the history and development of the rowhouse in Philadelphia, critically evaluate its current conditions, and identify the inherent advantages and challenges associated with its preservation in a 21st-century context.

*Dark History First Friday with Special Guests - Grim Philly

Oct 07, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Elfreth's Alley, Philadelphia, PA 19106


The cast and creators of the Grim Philly Tours and Grim Podcast will be joining us at the Alley to share highlights of the upcoming podcast season, tease us with dark stories about Philadelphia’s history, and show you that history is anything but dull.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Delco's largest Real Estate Deal in 1911!!! My new book and upcoming events!!

 The cover of the new booklet on the history of Ridley Creek State Park. About 5 months ago Jack Miller, president of Friends of Ridley Creek State Park asked me to write a little booklet on the 50th Anniversary of the park's opening. The booklet could not have been done without Jack Miller's  assistance. Jack knows everything about the park!! The book will go on sale Tuesday!!

NOTE: The park property was purchased in late 1966 by the state of Penna. The park had been the estate of Walter Jeffords since the 1920's. Samuel Riddle's niece married Jeffords and Riddle bought numerous farms and gave them to Jeffords as a wedding gift. Jeffords also added to the property of some 2000 acres.


November 14, 1911


Three Large Farms in Edgmont Township Disposed of to Samuel Riddle

            One of the largest sales of real estate to one individual buyer that has been recorded in Delaware County in years took place when George T. Butler, representing Samuel Riddle of Glen Riddle, purchased three farms, 430 acres in all, in Edgmont Township.  Benjamin T. Levis of Media, acted as broker in the sale.

            The three farms, which are located on the highest point in Delaware County, commanding sweeping views in all directions, were owned by the following:  James Patchel estate, 147 acres; Edgar C. Howard, 112 acres; William J. Neal, 170 acres.  The consideration is withheld with the exception of that on the Patchel property, which sold for $11,019.  The new owner will transform his new holdings into a spacious estate, on which it is expected that he will erect a home in Hunting Hill in the near future.  For years the three farms have been the scene of many an exciting finish of the Rose Tree, Radnor and West Chester Fox Hunting Clubs, which used them as their hunting territory.

            George Addis, of Knowlton, has sold his farm of seven acres to Thomas W. Redding of Chester, who will move into his new place in the early spring. 

            Acting as broker, Benjamin T. Levis sold the brick dwelling and two acres of ground at Upland belonging to I.M. Hidgskinson to Louis Sapovits of Chester.

            In Glenolden J.W. Meckert & Co. started the erection of a bungalow on Glenolden Avenue, near the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad station, for W.H. Harrison.

            Ground has been broken by Milton L. Staley for a residence for John D. Abel of Philadelphia on Cook’s Avenue, near Chester Pike, Glenolden, who will occupy it when finished.

            Workmen are putting on the finishing touches on the Twentieth Century Club at Lansdowne, which will probably be completed within a few days.

            The residence of Harry Stewart, Windemer Avenue, Lansdowne, which is being changed from a single to a double house, is almost completed.

            J.W. Meckert & Company of Ridley Park, have obtained the contract to erect a stone and framed dwelling house for J.H. Parsons on Park Street, above Morton Avenue, Ridley Park.

            Mr. and Mrs. Shoemaker of East Lansdowne are negotiating for a suitable site in East Lansdowne, on which they will erect a home, probably early next spring.

            The estate of Charles Leeds at Ridley Park, about 120 acres in all, it is said, has been purchased by a syndicate.  The tract will be divided into building lots.  The property is located between Chester Pike and Darby Creek, on which place it has a frontage of more than 2000 feet.

            Elmer Ellsworth Pierce has closed negotiations for the sale of the M.H. Matlack Stock Farm in Willistown Township, south of Paoli.  The purchasers are William H. Jones & Brother of Sixty-Ninth Street.  The consideration has not been disclosed.

            The Matlack farm contains 240 acres with Ridley Creek flowing through it.  It has a frontage of over 3000 feet along the West Chester and Philadelphia trolley road, and is known as one of the show places along the pike between West Chester and Philadelphia.  The farm has been retained in the Matlack family for the past eight years, having been purchased by Jonathan Matlack in 1829.  There is much activity in farm sales in this section, over 600 acres having changed hands within the past ninety days.



Happy Delaware County History Month!

Celebrate Delaware County history with these great events

Read the announcements below for important information


September Events

*Upper Darby International Festival

Sep 24, 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Five Points Intersection, 100 Garrett Rd, Upper Darby, PA 19082


The event will be held in the area around the 100 unit block of Garrett Road, including the Five Points intersection, which will be limited to pedestrian traffic to accommodate the Festival with food vendors, children’s activities, and live music and cultural performances.

*Genealogy Workshop

Sep 26, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Middletown Free Library, 464 S Old Middletown Rd, Media, PA 19063


Come learn about Genealogy or get help with your current research!

Feel free to bring your own laptop/tablet, but we do have a few to borrow.

PastForward Online 2022

Nov 01, 9:00 AM – Nov 04, 5:00 PM

Online- registration required


Annual conference of National Trust for Historic Preservation. We'll be exploring three themes: Historic Preservation is Climate Action, Encouraging Inclusion and Diversity Through Preservation and Understanding Preservation’s Role in Real Estate Development. $90+, early bird before 9/26

Henry Disston & The Development of Tacony

Sep 27, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Zoom- registration required


This talk will trace the development of the Tacony neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia. This planned community included housing, religious institutions, social organizations, and commercial developments. $10-15 single session, full series tickets available $70-100

Dendrochronology Lecture & Pizza at the Homestead

Sep 28, 5:30 PM

Historic Rittenhousetown Homestead, 208 Lincoln Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19144


This presentation will explore the science of dendrochronology (tree ring dating) and its applied use for dating and interpreting historic structures. Talk- $12. Handmade pizza from bakehouse & talk- $30.

*Civil War Series at the Finley House

Sep 28, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Finley House, 113 W Beechtree Ln, Wayne, PA 19087


Join Jim Segrave-Daly for a 4-week series discussing the Civil War in American history. From its causes & consequences to the almost-mythical figures involved, the Civil War's effects are still being felt today. Learn why it took a catastrophic event to remake America in "a new birth of freedom."

*Summer Series at Glen Foerd

Sep 29, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Glen Foerd, 5001 Grant Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19114


Food from El Tlaloc Food Truck, music by The West Philadelphia Orchestra, lawn games, and teaching artist Jihan Thomas will be creating art inspired by the grounds with visitors. Self-guided tours of house and gardens. Donations welcome. Registration required.

*NGM Harvest Festival: Food Traditions Past and Present

Oct 01, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Newlin Grist Mill, 219 Cheyney Rd, Glen Mills, PA 19342


A local favorite, this event provides fun for the whole family! This year’s festival will feature a wide variety of historic skills and trades demonstrations. New this year, contemporary artisans who maintain these food traditions today will showcase their products. Parking $5/car.


Archaeology Festival- spaces available

If you are in a historic organization in Delaware County and you are interested in having a table at the Newlin Grist Mill Archaeology Festival on Sept 10, please email to register. Tables and chairs will not be provided. Setup is 8 am. Please email by Sept 7.


Historic Preservation Directory of Trades and Services update

The Heritage Commission of Delaware County created a Directory of Trades and Services in 2018 for the seminar on historic building maintenance. We are looking to update the directory, so if you have recommendations, please email Kate at We are looking to include products as well.


America 250 PA Delco

America250PADelco is an official partner to America250PA. Help celebrate over 250 years of American history in Delaware County! The America250PADelco committee is an official county partner to America250PA, and is looking for organizations and individuals to help commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Our mission is to engage all Delaware County residents in the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by providing and supporting experiences, now through 2026, that ignite imaginations, elevate diverse stories, inspire service, and  highlight the American founding and 250 years of American history through Delco’s unique lens.

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