Remapping Streets in Queen Village in the 19th Century

The 1854 Act of Consolidation was passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to incorporate all of the townships, districts, and boroughs located in the greater Philadelphia County into the City of Philadelphia.  As a result, neighborhoods like Queen Village, which had operated under independent municipalities, officially became governed by the City.  To further these efforts, additional legislation was passed to provide uniform names for smaller streets that span across neighborhoods.  This list contains some of the alleys, streets, and courtyards in Queen Village that were renamed as part of this remapping project. 

The PSFS Building

There’s much more to this deceptively simple, skyscraper with the famous neon sign than meets the eye. It’s timeless!

“The PSFS Building is one of the city’s most important buildings,” claims Ken Hinde, former director of the Tour Program for the Foundation for Architecture.

“Why? I asked myself at one of Ken’s lectures. My untrained eye just couldn’t see it.

So I set up a meeting with Ken and his colleague, Arthur J. Petrella, one day recently at 1200 Market Street to better understand what I was missing. I came away a believer.

First, Arthur, a walking encyclopedia of Philadelphia history and architecture, pointed out the building’s three distinctive parts, coverings and colors.

The Sign of the Mermaid

By Michael Schreiber and Amy Grant

In the 18th century, South Second Street contained a large number of taverns. Some were alehouses that drew a rowdy crowd. Others were more respectable; farmers who came from the countryside to sell meat and vegetables in the New Market often used their bedchambers for overnight stays.

The Sign of the Mermaid, a tavern on Second near Stamper’s Alley, was a popular destination. The Mermaid was one of Philadelphia’s larger taverns, with three stories, an addition in the rear, and separate kitchen and stables. Despite the tavern’s popularity, the owners faced many obstacles and eventually were forced to go out of business.

Commentary on the Will of Mary Houlton (1730-1811)

MARY HOULTON “Maiden” (1730-1811)
Parents:   John Houlton (1695-1769) &  Elizabeth Brooks (1700-1759)

(On June 11, 1722, New Garden MM, Chester County, Pennsylvania, “Margaret Johnson & Rachel Miller make report that the marriage of John Houlton & Elizabeth Brooks was orderly accomplished.”)

The will of Mary Houlton was written in 1805 and the opening words are:

I Mary Houlton of the City of Philadelphia Maiden

The exact date & place of birth are unknown.  Her death is recorded in ”The Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia Burial Record Record of Burials at Arch Street, 1806-1828.”   The date of interment is May 24, 1811, age 81.  Her date of birth has been calculated from this information.  Existing records indicate that the Society of Friends was a large part of her life.  Persons other than family members mentioned in her will were Friends.  In the 1772 will of William Logan, probated 1776, Mary Houlton is mentioned as “housekeeper.”  William Logan was a prominent merchant of Philadelphia and was made attorney of the Penn family in 1741.  Detailed in Bequeath #17 you will find her name mentioned in wills of other prominent Quakers of Philadelphia of the 18th century.  The Philadelphia MM, Feb. 17, 1798, records an  “application being made for the admission of Mary Lanstroth {sic} into our Alms house and also that her aunt Mary Holton may accompany her.”  Mary Langstroth is named in bequeath #4.