Northeast Times

Pennypack historical marker is re-installed

  • New and improved: The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission re-installs a historical marker at the Pennypack Creek Bridge on Aug. 27.

  • New and improved: The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission re-installs a historical marker at the Pennypack Creek Bridge on Aug. 27.

  • Fred Moore (left) of the Northeast Philadelphia History Network, Rich Frizell (right), president of Holmesburg Civic Association, and his son, Noah Frizell, stand by the new marker.

A Pennsylvania his­tor­ic­al mark­er has been re-in­stalled at the Pennypack Creek Bridge. And this time, it’s pro­tec­ted from Frank­ford Av­en­ue vehicle traffic.

The Pennsylvania His­tor­ic­al and Mu­seum Com­mis­sion first in­stalled a blue plac­ard and sign­post at the 316-year-old bridge last Oc­to­ber fol­low­ing an ap­plic­a­tion and fun­drais­ing cam­paign by loc­al com­munity lead­ers. The bridge car­ries Frank­ford Av­en­ue over the creek just south of Ash­burn­er Street and is con­sidered the na­tion’s old­est road­way bridge in con­tinu­ous use.

But shortly after mid­night on March 30, a north­bound mo­tor­ist failed to ne­go­ti­ate a bend in the road, crossed in­to the south­bound lane, moun­ted a curb and leveled the sign­post. The mo­tor­ist, who was driv­ing on a sus­pen­ded li­cense at the time ac­cord­ing to po­lice, also smashed a sec­tion of the stone bridge. The dam­aged por­tion, a three-foot wall, was an ex­ten­sion of the ori­gin­al bridge and was built about two cen­tur­ies later.

With­in weeks of the crash, a city crew re­as­sembled the dis­placed stones and re­con­struc­ted the dam­aged bridge wall. But it re­mained up to the statewide his­tor­ic­al com­mis­sion to re­pair and re-in­stall the mark­er, which it did on Aug. 27. The work­ers re­lo­cated the plac­ard and sign­post so that it stands be­hind the newly re­built stone wall.

The mo­tor­ist, a 48-year-old man, was not charged crim­in­ally in the crash, ac­cord­ing to Phil­adelphia court re­cords. Po­lice ini­tially said he was in­jured crit­ic­ally. His latest con­di­tion is not known. No oth­er in­jur­ies were re­por­ted. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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