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Encyclopedia > Wissahickon Creek

Wissahickon Creek is a stream in southeastern Pennsylvania. Rising in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, it runs about 23 miles (37 km) before emptying into the Schuylkill River at Philadelphia. Its watershed covers about 64 square miles (166 km²) A running stream. ... Official language(s) None Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  Ranked 33rd  - Total 46,055 sq. ... Montgomery County is a county located in the state of Pennsylvania. ... The Schuylkill River, pronounced SKOO-kull (IPA: ), is a river in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. ... Motto: Philadelphia maneto (Let brotherly love continue) Nickname: City of Brotherly Love, Philly, the Quaker City Map Political Statistics Founded October 27, 1682 Incorporated October 25, 1701 County Philadelphia County Mayor John F. Street (D) Geographic Statistics Area  - Total  - Land  - Water 369 km² (143 mi²) 350 km² (135 mi²) 20...


Much of the creek now runs through or next to parkland, with the last few miles running through a deep gorge. The beauty of this area attracted the attention of literary personages like Edgar Allan Poe and John Greenleaf Whittier. The gorge area is now part of the Fairmount Park system in Philadelphia. Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short story writer, editor, critic and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. ... John Greenleaf Whittier John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. ... Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the largest municipal public parks in the world, at over 9,100 acres (37 km²). This figure includes all parkland within the city limits, as all 65 city parks are considered part of Fairmount Park and overseen by the Fairmount Park Commission...


The name of the creek comes from the Lenni Lenape language. On the earliest map of this region of Pennsylvania, by Thomas Holme, the stream is called Whitpaine's creek, after one of the original settlers with William Penn. Industry sprang up along the Wissahickon not long after European settlement, with America's first paper mill set up on one of the Wissahickon's tributaries. A few of the dams built for the mills remain visible today. The Lenape or Lenni-Lenape (later named Delaware Indians by Europeans) were, in the 1600s, loosely organized bands of Native American people practicing small-scale agriculture to augment a largely mobile hunter-gatherer society in the region around the Delaware River, the lower Hudson River, and western Long Island Sound. ... Thomas Holme (1624-1695) was the first Surveyor General of Pennsylvania. ... William Penn William Penn (October 14, 1644–July 30, 1718) founded the Province of Pennsylvania, the British North American colony that became the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. ...

Contents


Geography

Stream flow . . . and fish.


Tame at first, in its last seven miles, the Wissahickon stream drops over 100 feet in altitude. Its dramatic geography and dense forest attract thousands of walkers, riders, and bikers. Walking isn't regulated, but permits are required to bicycle or ride horseback on all trails except the main trail parallel to the stream: Forbidden (or Wissahickon) Drive. Users of the park are asked to stay on marked trails to protect against erosion.


Forbidden Drive, also known as Wissahickon Drive, is the gravel road which follows the Wissahickon Creek from Lincoln Drive to the County Line. It is the most popular point of access to explore the valley. Originally known as Upper Wissahickon Drive, it received its current name in the 1920s when automobiles were first banned from the road. Forbidden Drive is the only trail open to bicyclists and equestrians without a permit.


A paved path connects Forbidden Drive south to Ridge Avenue and the confluence of the Wissahickon and Schuylkill River. This path is a popular access point for cyclists coming off the River Drives or pedestrians departing the R-6 transit route at Wissahickon Station or Bus Interchange. The SEPTA R6 is a route of the SEPTA Regional Rail (commuter rail) system. ...


Forbidden Drive is also accessible at its midpoint at the Valley Green Inn. Valley Green Road can be reached from Springfield Avenue in Chestnut Hill, two blocks west of St. Martin's Lane and the St. Martin's R-8 Station. Just above Valley Green, Wise's Mill Road meets Forbidden Drive, connecting it to Henry Avenue in Roxborough. This road is explicitly described in Edgar Allan Poe's 1844 story The Elk, or morning on the Wissahiccon. Forbidden Drive ends at Northwestern Avenue after crossing Bell's Mill Road. Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short story writer, editor, critic and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. ...


A number of trails climb out of the valley from Forbidden Drive to the "upper trails" which run along the walls of the valley. Many of the upper trails have been marked with colored blazes. A map of the Wissahickon Valley is available from Friends of the Wissahickon. It can be purchased on site at the Andorra Natural Area or at the Valley Green Inn. It is also sold at some area Borders Books, EMS, REI, and Bike Line stores. The green blazed trail has been designated a multi-use trail approved for mountain bikers with permits. The blue blazed trail has been designated a hiking trail. Trails in the Andorra Natural Area are prohibited to all bicycles.


Devil's Pool is an attraction best reached from Valley Green by taking the footpath on the eastern bank and going downstream to the mouth of Cresheim Creek. As the ravine widens into Cresheim, waters gather in the basin before leaping into the Wissahickon Creek. Legendary lore has it that the Lenape tribes used this as a spiritual area.


One of the most romantic hikes in this park leads to a precipice overlooking the gorge. To find it, enter the main footpath at the Ridge Avenue entrance and follow the west bank to Hermit's Lane Bridge. Coming from Blue Stone Bridge, follow the path at the west end to Lover's Leap.


Another well-known outlook in the park is Mom Rinker's Rock, on a ridge on the eastern side of the Park just north of the Walnut Lane Bridge, close by the Toleration statue. Here on a moonlit night in May 1847, George Lippard, romancer of the Wissahickon, was married according to so-called Indian rites to his frail young wife. Years afterward in 1883, the Toleration statue was erected, a marble statue of a man in Quaker clothing. Atop Mom Rinker’s Rock, the nine-foot-eight-inch statue has the word “Toleration” carved into its four-foot-three-inch base. Created by late 19th century sculptor Herman Kirn, it was brought to the site by landowner John Welsh, reported to have purchased the statue at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Welsh, a former Fairmount Park Commissioner and U.S. Ambassador to Britain, donated his land to the Park prior to his death in 1886. George Lippard (1822-1854) was a brilliant but erratic 19th century American novelist, journalist, and playwright. ...


Some miles away is the path leading to the Indian statue, a dramatic 15-foot high white marble sculpture of a kneeling Lenape warrior sculpted in 1902 by John Massey Rhind. (The statue is popularly but erroneously known as "Tedyuscung," the name of an eighteenth-century Delaware chief.) Commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Henry, it is a tribute to the Lenape Indians who hunted and fished in the Wissahickon prior to the arrival of colonists. The statue can also be viewed from Forbidden Drive across the creek if one stands just north of the path to the Rex Avenue Bridge.


Geology

There is a tremendous variety of geology along Wissahickon Creek. Three of the geologic regions that the stream passes through are the Newark Basin of Triassic sandstone and shale, the limestone and dolomite of the Chester Valley, and the Wissahickon Formation where the waters of the stream flow into the Schuylkill and eventually the Delaware Rivers.


A unique and very distinctive rock of the Wissahickon Creek valley is Wissahickon schist, the predominant bedrock underlying the Philadelphia region, found over a broad swath of southeastern Pennsylvania from Trenton into Delaware and Maryland. The Precambrian stone, first studied in the Wissahickon gorge, has flecks of glittery mica and many-toned shadings of gray, brown, tan, and blue, and is attractive enough to have become a common building material in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Precambrian is an informal name for the eons of the geologic timescale that came before the current Phanerozoic eon. ...


In addition to Wissahickon schist, there are layers of quartzite in the valley. Both schist and quartzite are metamorphic rocks formed from sedimentary deposits of mud and sand that one time were washed from ancient continents into a shallow sea. These sedimentary deposits were compressed into shale and sandstone. During the long periods of mountain building, the shale and sandstone were slowly transformed into the schist and quartzite found today. In some places, the compression and heat were extreme enough to fuse the schist with emerging igneous rocks into hard-banded gneiss.


Other rocks in the valley are layers of igneous pegmatite and remains of granite plutons. Embedded crystals within the schist. A few locations close to Devil’s Pool and along Bell’s Mill Road have a talc schist which contains the mineral talc, so soft it can be scratched with a fingernail.


A virtual geologic tour of Wissahickon Creek is available at this site.


History

In 1694, Johannes Kelpius arrived in Philadelphia with a group of like-minded German Pietists to live in the valley of the Wissahickon Creek. They formed a monastic-type of community and became known as the Hermits or Mystics of the Wissahickon. Kelpius was a musician, writer, and occultist. He frequently meditated in a cave along the banks of the Wissahickon and awaited the end of the world, which was expected in 1694. No sign or revelation accompanied that year, but the faithful continued to live in celibacy by the stream, searching the stars and hoping for the end. Kelpius died in 1708 and the group disbanded some time thereafter. Some members likely gave up on celibacy and married. A few joined the somewhat like-minded religious colony of Ephrata Cloister under Conrad Beissel in Ephrata, Lancaster County, even though no previous connection existed between the two communities. Events February 6 - The colony Quilombo dos Palmares is destroyed. ... Johannes Kelpius (1673-1708), a German Pietist, mystic, musician, and writer, interested in the occult, botany, and astronomy, came to believe with his followers in the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness that the end of the world would occur in 1694. ... Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late-17th century to the mid-18th century. ... Events February 6 - The colony Quilombo dos Palmares is destroyed. ... // Events March 23 - James Francis Edward Stuart lands at the Firth of Forth July 1 - Tewoflos becomes Emperor of Ethiopia September 28 - Peter the Great defeats the Swedes at the Battle of Lesnaya Kandahar conquered by Mir Wais In Masuria one third of the population die during the plague J... The Ephrata Cloister or Ephrata Community was a religious community established in 1732 by Johann Conrad Beissel at Ephrata, in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. ... Johann Conrad Beissel (1690/91 - July 6, 1768) was the German-born religious leader who in 1732 founded the Ephrata Community in Pennsylvania. ... Ephrata is a borough located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 38 miles (61 km) east by south of Harrisburg. ... Lancaster County is a county located in the south-central portion of the state of Pennsylvania in the Susquehanna Valley. ...


Other religious groups were also associated with the Wissahickon: on Christmas Day in 1723 the first congregation of the Church of the Brethren in America - often called Dunkard Brethren – baptized several new members in the stream. Around 1747 an individual with connections to both the Dunkards and the Ephrata Cloister built a stone house on land previously owned by Dunkards. The structure, used for church retreats, is still standing today, and is known as The Monastery, a witness to the Wissahickon’s days as an isolated religious refuge. The Church of the Brethren was organized by Alexander Mack, a miller, in Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708. ... The Dunkard Brethren are a small group of conservative Schwarzenau Brethren churches that withdrew from the Church of the Brethren. ...


The same steep slopes and gorge that provided an attractive isolation to religious adherents in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, also provided an efficient source of energy for the development of water mills in later years. By 1690 one miller had already constructed a dam, sawmill, gristmill, and house by the narrow shelf of land at the confluence of the Wissahickon with the Schuylkill River, but the rugged terrain of the valley forestalled development along the stream itself. By 1730, however, eight mills had been constructed, and by 1793, twenty-four, along with many dams. Most of America was still wilderness, but the Wissahickon Valley was developing as an industrial center. There were more than fifty watermills by 1850, though the thickly forested region about the stream still retained the character of a wilderness. Access roads were being constructed into the steep valley, but there was still no road that followed the stream itself. The nature of the rugged terrain can be comprehended in an event that had occurred during the Revolutionary War Battle of Germantown, which was fought not too far from the stream. The American General John Armstrong, compelled by the rough terrain to abandon a cannon in the valley, expressed his contempt for the "horrendous hills of the Wissahickon". Later legends tell of American spies taking advantage of the terrain to retrieve information from an informant named Mom Rinker, who allegedly perched atop a rock overlooking the valley to drop balls of yarn which contained messages about British troop movements during the occupation of Philadelphia. This is likely a legend; other stories speak of a witch named Mom Rinkle who had little to do with the Revolution. Watermill of Braine-le-Château, Belgium (12th century) A watermill is a structure that uses a water wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process such as flour or lumber production. ... Combatants American Revolutionaries, France, Netherlands, Spain, Native Americans Great Britain, German mercenaries, Loyalists, Native Americans Commanders George Washington, Comte de Rochambeau, Nathanael Greene William Howe, Henry Clinton, Charles Cornwallis (more commanders) The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence,[1] was a conflict that... Combatants Continental Army Britain Commanders George Washington William Howe Strength ? 9,000 Casualties 152 killed, 521 wounded, & 400 captured 71 killed, 450 wounded, & 14 missing The Battle of Germantown was in the American Revolutionary War. ... John Armstrong (1717-1795) was an American civil engineer and soldier who served as a major general in the Revolutionary War. ...


Not until 1826 were the cliffs near the creek’s mouth blasted away to provide access to the cluster of mills at Rittenhousetown, about a mile and a half up the creek on Paper Mill Run, a small tributary of the Wissahickon. Here William Rittenhouse (grandfather of the astronomer David Rittenhouse) had in the early 1700s built the first paper mill in America. Gradually this road and other mill access roads were connected, and in 1856 a private toll road, the Wissahickon Turnpike, linked the entire valley (1908 photo). Long gone were the religious mystics; here instead the mills of Wissahickon Creek made paper, cloth, gunpowder. sawed lumber, milled wheat and corn, and pressed oil from flax, A sizable population lived in the valley to work the mills, in small villages like Rittenhousetown and Pumpkinville. The nation was becoming an industrial nation, and the Wissahickon was leading the way. Paper Mill Run is a small tributary of Wissahickon Creek in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. For most of its length the present-day stream flows under Lincoln Drive. ... David Rittenhouse. ...


This would soon change. Benjamin Franklin already had noted in his will the high elevation and quality of Wissahickon water, proposing that in some future day the stream be dammed to supply a safe and pure water source for Philadelphia’s water supply, and allocating funds for this purpose. This did not happen, but the quest for pure water affected the Wissahickon’s subsequent history. Seeking to prevent the stream’s discharges from affecting the purity of the water of the Schuylkill River, the Fairmount Park Commission took title of much of the land along the Wissahickon in 1869-1870, and continued to expand its holdings in subsequent decades. The mills were razed; the last active mill was demolished in 1884. Several decades later the Schuylkill River became seriously polluted by sources in the coal fields far upstream, far beyond Philadelphia’s control, but the beauty of the Wissahickon Valley already had been preserved. Most of America became more industrialized, but the Wissahickon valley quietly returned to its original wilderness character. Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Baptiste Greuze 1777 Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most prominent of the Founders and early political figures and statesmen of the United States. ... Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the largest municipal public parks in the world, at over 9,100 acres (37 km²). This figure includes all parkland within the city limits, as all 65 city parks are considered part of Fairmount Park and overseen by the Fairmount Park Commission...


The reason the Wissahickon Valley retained its wilderness character, even after its clean waters were no longer essential to the water supply of the city of Philadelphia, was the advent of Romanticism and the changing attitude about nature that it engendered. Before the nineteenth century, nature had seemed a capricious and ambivalent force, a dream at times, but sometimes a nightmare. Nature, according to orthodox Christian thought, had fallen with man; though the Renaissance brought about both a new view of mankind and nature, and this new attitude took time to grow, it eventually resulted in a literary and artistic movement known as Romanticism. Romantics valued heroism and chivalry in people, and regarded the wild, free, and untamed nature as the “natural” model of true beauty. Philadelphians came to value their Wissahickon valley for its wild character. Even when the mills were still operating, there were remote stretches of wild bluffs and overarching trees. Now the old mills had become romantic and picturesque, with mossy stone walls suggesting medieval ruins. Remarks on the Wissahickon in literature by such as Fanny Kemble, Edgar Allan Poe, George Lippard, and others are noted below. Romanticism was a secular and intellectual movement in the history of ideas that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. ...


However much the stream and its valley were appreciated, it still divided parts of the city. To help overcome this, in 1906 the Walnut Lane Bridge [1] [2] [3] was built over the stream, a world-class undertaking at the time, the world's largest poured concrete structure, joining the Roxborough and Germantown neighborhoods of Philadelphia, formerly separated by the Wissahickon gorge. The bridge is but 480 feet long, with a width of 60 feet, but its center arch spans an impressive 225 feet, the crown of the arch is 109 feet above the water, and the sidewalks of the bridge 120 feet above the Wissahickon.


The Henry Avenue Bridge [4] [5] [6] over the Wissahickon was completed in the 1932 and is even more impressive. It is 915 feet long, 84 feet wide, and 185 feet above water level of Wissahickon Creek. It was designed to carry a planned extension of a subway into Roxborough, but the subway never reached the bridge. It is one of the most beautiful bridges in the city, joining Roxborough and the East Falls-Germantown neighborhoods in Philadelphia.


Today the Wissahickon is a quiet stream flowing through a beautiful gorge and park. The sole surviving commercial establishment from the pre-park days is the Valley Green Inn, but that establishment is now an integral part of the park and creek valley. Most visitors to the stream today seek it for reasons not too different from those of Kelpius and his followers in 1694: quiet respite from the world outside. Johannes Kelpius (1673-1708), a German Pietist, mystic, musician, and writer, interested in the occult, botany, and astronomy, came to believe with his followers in the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness that the end of the world would occur in 1694. ...


The Wissahickon in literature

Actress Fanny Kemble, grandmother to novelist Owen Wister, visited the stream in 1832; her writing awakened a more general interest in the stream and its valley. Her description of the gorge's dramatic end at the stream's confluence with the Schuylkill River and her verse To the Wissahickon both sparked a keen interest in this natural treasure often overlooked by its neighbors. She wrote: Fanny Kemble as a young girl Frances Anne Kemble (Fanny Kemble) (1809 - 1893), the actress and author, was Charles Kembles elder daughter; she was born in London, and educated chiefly in France. ... Owen Wister (July 14, 1860 - July 21, 1938) was an American writer of western novels. ... 1832 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...

The thick, bright, rich-tufted cedars, basking in the warm amber glow, the picturesque mill, the smooth open field, along whose side the river waters, after receiving this child of the mountains into their bosom, wound deep, and bright, and still, the whole radiant with the softest light I ever beheld, formed a most enchanting and serene subject of contemplation.

Edgar Allan Poe alluded Fanny Kemble's writing in his description of a beautiful Wissahickon valley in his 1844 story "The Elk, or morning on the Wissahiccon", in which he wrote: Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short story writer, editor, critic and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. ... 1844 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...

Now the Wissahiccon is of so remarkable a loveliness that, were it flowing in England, it would be the theme of every bard, and the common topic of every tongue, if, indeed, its banks were not parcelled off in lots, at an exorbitant price, as building-sites for the villas of the opulent. Yet it is only within a very few years that any one has more than heard of the Wissahiccon, . . . the brook is narrow. Its banks are generally, indeed almost universally, precipitous, and consist of high hills, clothed with noble shrubbery near the water, and crowned at a greater elevation, with some of the most magnificent forest trees of America, among which stands conspicuous the liriodendron tulipiferum. The immediate shores, however, are of granite, sharply defined or moss-covered, against which the pellucid water lolls in its gentle flow, as the blue waves of the Mediterranean upon the steps of her palaces of marble.

The erratic and almost forgotten novelist George Lippard frequently wrote about the Wissahickon, and was even married at sunset on May 14, 1847 on a rocky crag, Mom Rinker's Rock, overlooking the stream. One of his books, The Rose of Wissahikon; or, The Fouth of July, 1776. A Romance, Embracing the Secret History of the Declaration of Independence (1847) may refer not only to the Wissahickon, but to his wife, the former Rose Newman. He wrote: George Lippard (1822-1854) was a brilliant but erratic 19th century American novelist, journalist, and playwright. ... May 14 is the 134th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (135th in leap years). ... 1847 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ...

A poem of everlasting beauty and a dream of magnificance - the world-hidden, wood embowered Wissahickon.

Depending on one of Lippard's mostly contrived stories, John Greenleaf Whittier wrote about Johannes Kelpius and his followers on the Wissahickon in his 1872 poem Pennsylvania Pilgrim: John Greenleaf Whittier John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. ... Johannes Kelpius (1673-1708), a German Pietist, mystic, musician, and writer, interested in the occult, botany, and astronomy, came to believe with his followers in the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness that the end of the world would occur in 1694. ... 1872 (MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ...

Painful Kelpius from his hermit den, By Wissahickon, maddest of good men, Dreamed o'er the 'Chiliast dreams of-Petersen.'
Deep in the woods, where the small river slid, Snake-like in shape, the Helmstadt mystic hid, Weird as a wizard over arts forbid.

Christopher Morley also portrayed the valley's beauty in his writings. Christopher Morley (5 May 1890 - 28 March 1957) was an American journalist, novelist, and poet. ...


The Wissahickon is mentioned very briefly in A Biography of the Poet, Sidney Lanier by Edwin Mims. Sidney Lanier. ...


Mark Twain mentioned the Wissahickon during the short time he spent in Philadelphia working for the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Unlike New York, I like this Philadelphia amazingly, and the people in it. . . . I saw small steamboats, with their signs up--"For Wissahickon and Manayunk 25 cents." Geo. Lippard, in his Legends of Washington and his Generals, has rendered the Wissahickon sacred in my eyes, and I shall make that trip, as well as one to Germantown, soon . . . ." Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer. ... The Philadelphia Inquirer is one of a two Knight Ridder newspaper duopoly daily for the Philadelphia area. ...


The Wissahickon in art

Artists have portrayed the stream and its valley:

There exists a Currier & Ives Scenery Of The Wissahickon Thomas Moran. ... Thomas Moran. ... Thomas Moran. ... James Peale (1749-May 24, 1831) was an American painter, best known for his miniature and still life paintings, and a younger brother of noted painter Charles Willson Peale. ... James Peale (1749-May 24, 1831) was an American painter, best known for his miniature and still life paintings, and a younger brother of noted painter Charles Willson Peale. ... The Philadelphia Museum of Art, located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphias Fairmount Park, was founded in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year and is now among the largest and most important art museums in the United States. ... James Peale (1749-May 24, 1831) was an American painter, best known for his miniature and still life paintings, and a younger brother of noted painter Charles Willson Peale. ... Swarthmore College is a private liberal arts college in the United States, with an enrollment of about 1450 students. ... James Peale (1749-May 24, 1831) was an American painter, best known for his miniature and still life paintings, and a younger brother of noted painter Charles Willson Peale. ... James Peale (1749-May 24, 1831) was an American painter, best known for his miniature and still life paintings, and a younger brother of noted painter Charles Willson Peale. ... William Trost Richards (June 3, 1833 - April 17, 1905) was an important American landscape artist associated with both the Hudson River School and the American Pre-Raphaelite movement. ... William Trost Richards (June 3, 1833 - April 17, 1905) was an important American landscape artist associated with both the Hudson River School and the American Pre-Raphaelite movement. ... Thomas Sully, daguerrotype by Mathew Bradys studio of an oil painting, between 1851 and 1860. ... Currier and Ives was a firm headed by Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) and James Merritt Ives (1824-1895). ...


The Swann Memorial Fountain, a fountain sculpture by Alexander Stirling Calder that is located in the center of Logan Circle, also known by its historic name Logan Square, in Philadelphia, contains three large Native American figures that symbolize the area’s major streams: the Delaware, the Schuylkill, and the Wissahickon. The young girl leaning on her side against an agitated, water-spouting swan represents the Wissahickon Creek. This statue is portrayed here. Wissahickon Girl on the Swann Memorial Fountain The Swann Memorial Fountain, is a fountain sculpture located in the center of Logan Square, encircled by Logan Circle, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. ... Swann Memorial Fountain, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania // Biography Alexander Stirling Calder (January 11, 1870 – 1945) was an American sculptor, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ... Logan Circle, also known as Logan Square, is an open-space park in Center City Philadelphias northwest quadrant and one of the five original planned squares laid out on the city grid. ...


The Wissahickon in music

There exists a song called "The Gentle Wissahickon: A Ballad" published in 1857 by Edmund L Walker, 142 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. The words are by Col. James G Wallace, the music by Herman Trevor, and it recalls a "happy childhood time", "the picnic grove", and at the end "dear Alice Ray" who became the singer's "blushing bride."


There exists sheet music mentioning the Wissahickon:

  • The Wissahickon Waltz by Charles Grobe, 1849 (2 pages)
  • The Wissahickon Gallopade by J. B. Bishop, 1856 (4 pages)
  • Sounds from the Wissahickon waltzes by Harry M. Rollin, 1871 (10 pages)

"Wissahickon Drive" is the name of one of the tracks on the CD Here's to You by the Bog Wanderers, "a collection of original, contemporary and traditional slides, jigs, reels, waltzes and songs." Liner notes say the tune is "of the great fiddler/composer Liz Carroll."


The Wissahickon and Fairmount Park

Once the stream enters the city of Philadelphia, the creek valley and its deeply wooded gorge form part of the Fairmount Park system in Philadelphia, a jewel of nature set in the middle of an urban landscape. The park here is a ruggedly beautiful valley for naturalists, artists, fishermen, bicyclists, and hikers who are drawn to the wooded, steep banks of the stream. Precipitous wooded inclines that rise more than 200 feet above the water create a feeling of remoteness and mountain vastness. There are two main and many smaller bridle paths crossing the park's 1,372 acres (5.5 km2) along the Wissahickon Creek. Thomas Mill Road covered bridge spans the creek in the park. The Wissahickon Valley is one of fewer than 600 National Natural Landmarks in America. Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the largest municipal public parks in the world, at over 9,100 acres (37 km²). This figure includes all parkland within the city limits, as all 65 city parks are considered part of Fairmount Park and overseen by the Fairmount Park Commission... A covered bridge is a bridge with enclosed sides and a roof. ...


Quotations

  • A poem of everlasting beauty and a dream of magnificance - the world-hidden, wood embowered Wissahickon. - George Lippard (1822-1854) (Quoted in Grove, Victor. Philadelphia: A Hiker's Paradise. Philadelphia, PA: Old City Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1933153016)
  • Wissahickon creek takes its rise in Montgomery County, flows generally to the south, bearing west, and enters the Schuylkill above the Falls. --Cresheim creek, which rises in Montgomery County, enters the Wissahickon at Livezey's mill. It received its name from Cresheim in Germany, from which some of the original settlers of Germantown came. --Paper Mill run rises near Mount Airy, flows to the south-west, and empties into the Wissahickon near the intersection of Rittenhouse Lane. There was once a paper-mill there. Wissahickon is derived from Wissha mechan ("catfish"). On Holmes's map it is called Whitpaine's creek, after the name of one of the original settlers with Penn. Wissinoming creek rises near the old Wheat-Sheaf tavern, on the Bustleton and Wheat-Sheaf turnpike, and flows south by east. This stream is called Sissimocksink by Mellish, Wissinoming by Ellet, and Little Wahank on Lindsay & Blakiston's map. The name is derived from Wissachgamen ("a place where grapes are"). [7]
("Changes in the Names of Streams In and About Philadelphia." Public Ledger Almanac: 1879. Pages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, & 13) [8]

George Lippard (1822-1854) was a brilliant but erratic 19th century American novelist, journalist, and playwright. ...

See also

This is a list of rivers in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania Allegheny River Clarion River Conemaugh River Delaware River Juniata River Lehigh River Monongahela River Ohio River Schuylkill River Susquehanna River West Branch Susquehanna River Youghiogheny River See also List of rivers in the United States This list...

References

  • Brandt, Francis Burke. Wissahickon Valley within the city of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Corn Exchange National Bank, 1927. Entire book is available for download from the Penn State Digital Library at this site.
  • Conwill, Joseph D. “The Wissahickon Valley: To A Wilderness Returned.“ Pennsylvania Heritage. Summer, 1986.
  • Grove, Victor. Philadelphia: A Hiker's Paradise. Philadelphia, PA: Old City Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1933153016 (Contains many photos of Wissahickon Creek and area)

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Wissahickon Creek - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3784 words)
Wissahickon Creek is a stream in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Precambrian stone, first studied in the Wissahickon gorge, has flecks of glittery mica and many-toned shadings of gray, brown, tan, and blue, and is attractive enough to have become a common building material in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The reason the Wissahickon Valley retained its wilderness character, even after its clean waters were no longer essential to the water supply of the city of Philadelphia, was the advent of Romanticism and the changing attitude about nature that it engendered.
Roxborough, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (553 words)
Roxborough, known by residents as "The Boro", is somewhat isolated from surrounding communities by the Schuylkill River and the Wissahickon Creek.
It is bordered to the southwest, along the Schuylkill River, by the neighborhood of Manayunk, along the northeast by the Wissahickon Creek section of Fairmount Park, and to the southeast by the neighborhood of East Falls.
Because of the Wissahickon Creek and the park which protects much of its watershed, Roxborough and Manayunk are physically separated from the rest of the city.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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