NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORY

1650 – 1800
The Lenni Lenape Indians were the first inhabitants of the Delaware Valley. The name, Kingsessing or “Chincessing” originated from the Lenni Lenape who called the area a “bog meadow.” Kingsessing was first recorded in the Swanson family deed from Queen Christina of Sweden and was part of Kingsessing Township in 1653. By 1664 settlers began to arrive in the area.

1800 – 1900
Paschalville was also part of the original Kinsessing Township and was established in 1810. Dr. Henry Paschal, a descendant of Thomas Paschal, purchased 500 acres from William Penn. These neighborhoods are historically significant as a site of early Swedish and English colonial settlement characterized by farmsteads and water-powered mills that cluster along Cobbs Creek from the mid 17th to mid 19th centuries.

In 1857, the Philadelphia and Darby passenger Railroad started a line along Woodland Avenue that accessed the neighborhood. Industrialization not only brought new modes of transportation, but also rapid development. Most houses associated with this time period were modest frame structures, many of which still survive today.

From the 1860s through the 1880s, farmland in the east of the village was developed less densely. Early streetcar lines allowed residents to live in the neighborhood and commute to Center City. The neighborhood was soon populated with Second Empire, Italianate, and Queen Anne houses ranging from modest twins to substantial mansions.

The Philadelphia Consolidation Act of 1854 brought new services and infrastructure to the area in the following decade.

1900 – Present
Electric streetcars and mills run by steam and electricity transformed the area more thoroughly at the turn of the century. Many small-scale developers created blocks of modest worker housing, filled in part by employees of the Brill Streetcar Co. (61st & Woodland), the Fells Soap Co. (Island and Paschall Aves.), and, later, General Electric’s West Philadelphia Works (Elmwood Ave. between 67th and 70th Streets). Other houses were erected by workers themselves. At the same time, Woodland Avenue was developing as the area’s main street. To the residents of Paschallville and surrounding Kingsessing, it offered grocery stores, furniture showrooms, churches, and theaters, many of which survive in some form today.

Interactive Map and Boundaries of Paschalville