Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.


Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

Jan 23, 2012

Liddonfield Housing Project Closely Linked to Upper Holmesburg History

by Rosemary Reeves

In northeast Philadelphia, the area east of Frankford Avenue north of Pennypack Creek, from approximately Blakiston Street to Linden Avenue was called Liddonfield during the latter part of the 19th century and for several decades afterOn Nov. 12, 1890 Pennsylvania Railroad Company renamed Pennypack Station on their Main Line to New York route, choosing to name it Liddonfield Station instead.

"The name Liddonfield derives from Liddonfield Farm in old Upper Darby, near today’s City Avenue and Westchester Pike, where Abraham Liddon Pennock (well known abolitionist; 1786-1868) was raised by his maternal grandparents, Abraham and Isabella Liddon.  In about 1815, Pennock purchased the old Pennypack Grist Mill. The mill operation remained in the Pennock family for much of the 19th century.  Pennock’s son, Joseph Liddon Pennock, and his children acquired a considerable portion of the land north of the Pennypack that would become Upper Holmesburg.  They brought with them the family’s old Liddonfield Farm connection.”  Source:  Fred Moore of the Northeast Philadelphia History Network .

S F Hotchkin referred to the new station in The Bristol Pike, published in 1893, in which he notes that Liddonfield Station was among the newer and more aesthetically pleasing depots.

In 1916, rail supervisor C.M. Wisman and his assistant, H.M. Grimm, won the Klondike Prize for the best maintenance of a section of tracks.  They were in charge of the section from Liddonfield, PA to Plainsboro, New Jersey.  The story was covered in the October 13, 1916 edition of the Railway Age Gazette and in the Railway Review of the same period.

But while prosperous citizens of the northeast enjoyed the advent of rail travel, the poor in Philadelphia lived in slums and tenements.  Philanthropist and humanitarian Octavia Hill was shocked at the terrible conditions endured by the tenement dwellers.  A woman ahead of her time, she provided affordable housing for the poor and lobbied for legislation to bring relief to impoverished Philadelphians. 

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