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Mapping East Falls History

Page history last edited by Nicholas Biddle 12 years, 6 months ago

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Map East Falls 1650-1700


          This map shows East Falls before the river was even named the Schuylkill. This is before the influence of European settlers was existent and the Lenne Lenape were still the main inhabitants of the area. There were the beginnings of settlement with the creation of crude roadways and trails, but there is little river transportation as the Fairmount Dam has not yet been built and the rocks of the falls have not been covered by water. At this time, what is now known as the East Falls area is surrounded by the Roxborough and Northern Liberties Townships.



Map East Falls 1700-1750


          This map shows East Falls between 1700 and 1750. At this point in time, the area is known as the Fort St. David's as there is more European influence on the area. The Lenne Lenape have started to leave the area and small groups of European settlers have started moving into the area. The river has been renamed the Schuylkill and the falls still exist at this time. Fort St. David's has been established as a well known fishing resort and community. The falls were a popular fishing spot because of the abundance of fish, especially catfish which attracted many people to the area. Taverns begin to move into the area and are renowned for their catfish and waffle dishes.


Map East Falls 1750-1800


          This map shows East Falls between 1750 and 1800. They show a huge influx of people coming to the area and settling down around the falls. The Fort St. David's at this time is starting to become a small town as practical commercial services enter the region and services such as churches form. There is still a lot of space for development and a lot of fishing to be done.


Map East Falls Revolutionary War Map


          This map shows East Falls during the Revolutionary War. Many troops were stationed in East Falls and many major skirmishes broke loose over the duration of the war. Due to East Falls' location on the river and its close vicinity to Philadelphia, it was an area that saw many battles for its control.


Map East Falls 1800-1850


          This map shows East Falls between 1800 and 1850. During this time, the community grew to the point that it became its own town called Falls of Schuylkill. There are many hotels, taverns, churches, residents, and institutions. Industry starts to enter that area and some factories are built providing more work for the residents of the Falls of Schuylkill community andmaking the town less dependent on fishing. The Fairmount Dam is built and the level of the river rises. This increased height of the water covers up the falls leaving only large rocks jutting out of the water. The river develops into a transportation route without the falls and steamboats begin to take people up and down the river. The boom of industry and people also brings in the Norristown line railroad which acts as another connection between Falls of Schuylkill and Philadelphia. The industrialization and economic growth of Falls of Schuylkill attracts many new residents and begins the boom times of the area.


Map East Falls 1850-1900


          This map shows East Falls between 1850 and 1900. This time brings about the largest portion of industrialization to the area. During this period, another freight train service company builds a rail system that spans across the Schuylkill River, giving even more ability for industry to the Falls of Schuylkill community. The center of the town becomes a thriving and bustling area with large amounts of business and industry. More institutions move into the are and the Falls of Schuylkill gains many more residents. During this time period, the Falls of Schuylkill becomes a neighborhood of Philadelphia because of the expanding of Philadelphia to include many of the surrounding communities. This connection with Philadelphia leads the way fr evenmore industry to move into the area. The Wissahickon Creek and the Schuylkill River are soon sprawling with mills and factories bringing even more job opportunities to the residents of the Falls of Schuylkill.


Map East Falls Civil War


          This map shows East Falls during the Civil War. The area housed many of the Union troops during the war because of its key location on the river for transportation and the industry which provided the armies with supplies such as clothing and ammunition. Camp Union is located where the current day reservoir is located.


Map East Falls 1900-1950


          This map shows East Falls between 1900 and 1950. During this period, the Falls of Schuylkill was renamed East Falls. More bridges, such are the Falls Bridge, were built to connect the two sides of the river. The town develops more intricate systems of roads and grows yet again in population.  The Queen Lane Reservoir is built during this period to improve the residents access to water and to support the large population. Many institutions are established that still exist today such as churches and schools. The groundwork for the East Falls that exists today is finalized during this period and veryfew large changes are made from 1950 to current day East Falls.




Sources of Information




Book:     East Falls 300 Years of History, East Falls Bicentennial Committee, Lithographic Publ., 1976







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