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  • Copies of A Brief History of Nether Providence are on sale at Furness Library and the Nether Providence Township Building.
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Long before Ellis Island, there was Lazaretto.

Where Route 420 ends at the Delaware River, you’ll find Lazaretto.

Considered both the oldest surviving quarantine hospital and the last surviving example of its type in the United States, it was built by the newly created Board of Health after the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 killed off one tenth of Philadelphia’s population. Thereafter, every vessel headed toward the port of Philadelphia first stopped at Lazaretto.

Later, it was the home of the Philadelphia Athletic Club, then a flight school during World War I and then a seaplane base.

Speaker Barbara Selletti will paint a vivid picture of Lazaretto’s long and fascinating history.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Known as the “Lazaretto Lady,” Barbara Selletti is a local historian, genealogist and Neumann University librarian. She and her husband, Tony, were instrumental in the effort to save and restore the Lazaretto.

The program is free and open to the public: Monday, June 12 at the Helen Kate Furness Library on Providence Road in Wallingford, starting at 7:30.

An Oyster Cart on Every Street Corner?

Celebrated historian Nancy Webster will present A Brief History of Popular Street Foods, an exploration of sidewalk cuisine from American Colonial times through present day. Some will be familiar (we’ve been frequenting hot dog and pretzel vendors for ages) and others will be surprising.

Bonus: Samples of old-fashioned street foods will be available for tasting!

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: A highly engaging speaker, Nancy Webster was named Delaware County Historian in 1988. The Principal Planner with the County Planning Department for 25 years, she was head of historic preservation and won state and national awards. A Delaware County native, Nancy holds a BA from Harvard, and a double MA in American history and museum curatorship from the College of William and Mary.

Uniquely qualified to speak on this topic, Nancy is a member of the Historical Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley and chairman of the Foodways Committee of the international Association for Living History.

The program is free and open to the public: Thursday, April 27 at the Helen Kate Furness Library on Providence Road in Wallingford, starting at 7:30 pm.

RSVP:

Local Family’s Immigrant Roots

In February, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a piece about the Kassab family. Penned by a granddaughter of the patriarch who brought the family to Nether Providence, the article was entitled A Syrian Immigrant’s American Story. Marie Kassab Helfferich described her family’s roots in Syria and the welcome they experienced as immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century.

The family is so well established in Nether Providence and Media that you would be hard pressed to find a longtime resident without some connection to a Kassab. Many were patients of the family – more than a few of Dr. Kassab’s progeny were or are dentists.

Click here to read the Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Did your family’s immigrant story find its way to our township? We’d love to feature it here. Send an email to info@nphistory.org.

Nancy Webster Publishes Colonial Cooking Article

Early American Life - Feb 2017Well-known local historian, Nancy Webster, has an article in the newest issue of Early American Life.  Entitled How the Lesser Sort Ate, it is about colonial cooking for every-day people. The women could not cook all day because they had many other jobs to do, including raising children. Nancy writes about what cooking tools they had, what foods were available when, and even sharing of food. The article grew out of a recent presentation Nancy made at a meeting of the Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley, held in Warminster, PA.

The article is not posted on the magazine’s website, but you can pick up a copy at Barnes & Noble.

Colonial Christmas Open House

LeiperHouse

You’re invited to The Friends of the Thomas Leiper House’s
annual holiday celebration,

Sunday, December 18th from 1:00 until 5:00 pm.

521 Avondale Road, Wallingford

Program: Helen Kate Furness – Portraits of a Life

Rogers FamilyThe library that bears her name has been a center of community life for more than a century, but who was Helen Kate Furness?

Join us for a look at the life of Helen Kate through her portraits.

Our speaker is Harwood Johnson, a member and past President of the Furness Library Board of Directors.

Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm at The Helen Kate Furness Free Library, 100 North Providence Road, Wallingford

The program is free and open to the public.

RSVP here:

100 Years Ago Today – Flower Show at Bickmore Farms

Chester Times, April 17, 1916.

Chester Times, April 17, 1916.

The April 17, 1916 Chester Times carried a report of a horticultural exhibit at Bickmore Farms where Milton H. Bickley had a large nursery operation on his property at Palmer’s Corner (the corner of Providence and Rose Valley Roads).

The flower show became an annual event to which the public was invited every year on Palm Sunday.

Milton Horace Bickley owned, along with his father, a drug store at 4th and Market Streets in Chester. He purchased the 102-acre Cedar Lane Farm from James Miller in 1913 and called it Bickmore; a combination of his last name and his father, Mortimore Bickley’s first name. There, he raised a variety of flowers in 19 large greenhouses (300′ x 75′). There was a 75′ smokestack for the furnace used to heat the greenhouses.

The family also ran a poultry farm on the property. In 1916, there were regular advertisements placed in the Chester Times announcing “we have just installed a big hall incubator and decided to do some custom hatching. You can bring, or buy your eggs from us. We also have baby chicks for sale.”

Milton Bickley died in 1937.

In 1944, W. J. Messmer, a Chester florist, purchased the Bickmore nursery on the south side of Rose Valley Road. The purchase included 60,000 square feet of glass-enclosed greenhouses.

By 1954, the 15 acre site had been purchased by the Wallingford Development Company. When the nursery buildings were razed to make way for 22 houses, it took two blasts of dynamite to level the smokestack. The neighborhood was named Bickmore Hills. The first of the split level houses were completed by July and offered for sale at $15,590.

Bickley Druggist and Apothecary at 4th and Market Streets in Chester

Bickley Druggist and Apothecary at 4th and Market Streets in Chester