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Due to 30 mph gust warnings,
4/13 Leverington Cemetery Talk & Tour Is Postponed
Stay tuned for new date/time.

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Happy 200th Anniversary, Manayunk!

In 2024, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the naming of Manayunk and encourage you to explore some highlights in its history.

  • Founded in 1690, Roxborough Township was comprised of 11 tracts of land sold by William Penn to early settlers -- including the areas that would become Manayunk, Wissahickon, and a part of East Falls.
    (See the new map listed in this section.)

  • In May 1824, the Roxborough Township neighborhood known as "Flat Rock" decided to rebrand itself with a new name worthy of the growing river-front community. The committee settled on "Udoravia" (a Greek word meaning "by the river"). However, the next day after it was announced, the objection of residents lead to a second name change. This time the committee decided upon "Manayunk" (a modified spelling of the Lenape word "maniung" meaning "where we drink") which reflected the desire of many that the name should have a Native American origin.

  • On June 11, 1840, the neighborhood of Manayunk incorporated and became a borough within Roxborough Township. (See the new interactive Google Map in this section for the footprint in 1840.)

  • On March 31, 1847, Manayunk separated from Roxborough Township to stand as a borough within Philadelphia County. 

  • On February 2, 1854, Manayunk -- along with Roxborough Township and all the other villages, boroughs, townships, and hamlets within Philadelphia County -- was consolidated into the City of Philadelphia. This consolidation reunited the pieces within the footprint of Roxborough Township in 1690 into the 21st Ward of Philadelphia.

In the ~170 years since, many things in the 21st Ward have changed, but the neighborhood identities persist as does a great sense of resident pride. RMWHS celebrates this history and  we hope you will explore the related items presented here.

It is the mission of RMWHS to capture, collect, preserve, and share the local history of our neighborhoods -- and you can help. To find out how, contact us.

 

If you have a piece of local history, anecdote, photograph, map or something from our area that you think should be preserved or shared -- please tell us about it.

rmwhs logo

 

We have members across the United States.

New members always welcome.

More to explore...

Ridge Ave Roxborough Historic District

Learn about our area's geology, the Lenape, early settlers, the 11 tracts of land that William Penn sold and became Roxborough Township in 1690, & more.

Leverington Hotel

(Provides information and history of Manayunk before 1824)

1690 / 2024 Local Map

Check out an 1690 map overlaid on today's streets. This new RMWHS map shows the 11 tracts of land sold by William Penn to the early settlers including details on owners, tract size, and dates included. 

Click image to view >>>

or click here to
download 2M PDF

New Map

11 Tracts of Roxborough Township

1840 Borough of Manayunk Explore the boundaries on Google Maps (Interactive)

Take a peek --

you might be surprised!

New Map

Main Street Manayunk
Historic District

Explore the evolution of Main Street including its architecture, mills, and social and economic changes.

New Section

Mills along the Schuylkill

Manayunk Magazine special anniversary edition...

Coming Mid-April!

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Check out RMWHS Spring Activities

Past, Present, & Future of Leverington Cemetery
Talk & Cemetery Tour

EVENT

POSTPONED

Leverington Cemetery Panorama

Due to 30 mph gust warnings,
4/13 Leverington Cemetery Talk & Tour Is Postponed
Stay tuned for new date/time.

Flowers in Leverington Cemetery

Leverington Cemetery
Clean Up Day
April 28th

This event is open to the public and family participation is encouraged! 

See calendar for details.

Upper Rox Reservoir Park
Walk & Talk
May 1st

Not a member? You can join!

Individual membership $20

Couples & Family $30

Contact us now.

See calendar for details.

Upper Rox Reservoir Park
Rox Filter Beds.jpg

Flow of History:
Water in NW Phila
Presentation + Q&A
May 9th

Not a member? You can join!

Individual membership $20

Couples & Family $30

Contact us now.

See calendar for details.

Library

DONATIONS REQUESTED

RMWHS preserves local yearbooks, class photos, and school publications within the 21st Ward.  Our collection is used for genealogical and local history research ... and we need more to support our efforts.
 

  • Yearbooks.

  • Photos.

  • Publications.

  • School magazines.

  • Athletic memorbilia

Any School.

Any Year.

Any Condition.

St John the Baptist High School
Levering School
Shawmont School

Local History Mystery ...

The Centennial Quilt in this photograph was created by local quilter Charlotte "Lottie" (nee Pownall) MacDonald. It had the great distinction of being displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition and World Fair in Philadelphia which lasted 6 months and was attended by millions.  

Lottie's detailed creation depicted the 38 United States and territories within North America at that time. Also clearly shown are the mountain ranges, iconic lakes, and the mighty Mississippi River. 

 

The story of the Centennial quilt and this photograph were passed down through the family to present day -- but lost over the course of the last 146 years is the fate of the quilt itself. A well cared for quilt can last several generations and this one was likely displayed for quite some time after the big event. A local museum or organization may have given it a home in their collection, or it could have been sold or auctioned off at some point.

If you know anything about this piece of local history,  please contact RMWHS. We'd like to know more about its role at the Centennial, where it was displayed, what happened to it after, and if it still exists today.

Charlotte (nee Pownall) MacDonald (1839-1926)
seen here with husband James MacDonald (1840-1914) 

1876 Centennial Exhibition - No Small Feat

A Recent Donation to RMWHS Archive Inspires a Look Back at the Centennial

The 1876 Centennial Exhibition and the first World's Fair held in the United States was a colossal undertaking even by present day standards.

 

Few people today truly appreciate the scope and scale of the international event held here 147 years ago -- but one RMWHS archivist hopes to change that by exploring the details of a recent donation to the RMWHS Archives far more closely.  Read more.

Roxborough Baptist Church Centennial Poster

New 
RMWHS Artifact

Close up of Agricultural Hall from RBC poster

Includes more than 25 images
from RMWHS, Library of Congress,
and Free Library of Philadelphia 

See More

Special thanks to Pastor Jake Rainwater and the Epic Church for placing the Roxborough Baptist Church poster and other items into RMWHS' care. The donated items include church books, hymnals, photos, negatives, membership records, correspondence, publications, cemetery records, burial records, maps, and more.

1931 Photo just donated

We Love Old Photos!

Precisely 92 years after it was snapped on the streets of Roxborough, this gem of a photo found its way to RMWHS.

Finding an old photo like this one waiting for us in our email is the delight of an archivist's day -- and even more so when it's this undeniably cute.

RMWHS thanks Ken Gilbert and family for the donation which was added to the RMWHS Archive Image Collection to preserve it for the future.

If you have a photo (or a stack of photos) you think we should see, have, know about, contact us. We take digital or printed photos as well as slides, negatives, etc. We can even scan most images and return the originals if need be.

Have a safe and happy summer!

Memorials of the 21st Ward

RMWHS has launched a new web section --  Memorials of the 21st Ward -- which provides a listing of the 8 memorials within our area and includes a photo gallery of each.

 

Each memorial page will be expanded in the months and years to come as images and newspapers clippings (both new and historic) are added.  ​If you would like to contribute an image or information for any of the memorials, please contact us. Also, if we have missed a public memorial within the Roxborough Manayunk Wissahickon area, please let us know. 

Each of the memorials is open to the public  and all visitors (including service animals) are welcome.

 

We remind all visitors to be respectful not only to the memorial and grounds, but of the others who may be there remembering loved ones lost, for whom these special places were created to honor.

Explore the Memorials of the 21st Ward.

RMWHS thanks all who have served.

RMWHS Note Cards

To share a bit of local history and raise funds to help support our preservation and outreach activities, RMWHS is offer a set of 8 note cards for $10.  The back of each card features facts or info about the photo or its significance.

Each note card set contains 8 envelopes and 2 copies of each of the following 4 images:

  • American Stores Co on Green Lane

  • Empress Theater on Main Street

  • Historic Staircase Between Rox & Mynk

  • Henry Avenue Bridge & Wissahickon Creek


Each note card is approximately 4.25 x 5.5 inches, was printed on a high quality not card stock to ensure a clear image, and is blank inside.

If you are interested in getting note cards, look for the RMWHS tent at the next community event or send us an email if you don't want to wait to get them -- we'll let you know were you can pick them up!

Local Landmarks

RMWHS has launched a new web section --  Local Landmarks. This section provide a profile on significant buildings and sites within our neighborhoods that will include a history, photo gallery, and more.

Currently we have only 3 online but more will be added as volunteers step forward to help. If you would like to contribute photos, newspaper clippings, or help research/write the history of a local landmark, please contact us.

Some of the landmarks are open to the public to visit. However, there are a few that are privately owned. Please be respectful of our neighbors, their property, and the special places in our community,

Explore Local Landmarks

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