Friday, May 24, 2013

A Little History Lesson About Queen Village

Like most neighborhoods in Philadelphia, just from stopping and looking around, you can feel the history in Queen Village. Below is just the excerpt from Wikipedia.... so many things we didn't know! Read and pass this along today and give your peers a little history lesson. Our city is quite the melting pot of history and cultures.

Queen Village

Queen Village is a neighborhood in the South Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, just south of the Center City district. It is bounded approximately by South Street to the north, Washington Avenue to the south, the Delaware River to the east, and 6th Street to the west.
It is south of the Society Hill neighborhood and east of the Bella Vista neighborhood.

As written by Steve Sitarski, Queen Village resident and Chief of Interpretation & Visitor Services at Independence National Historical Park.

Long before William Penn and the founding of Philadelphia, Swedish settlers arrived in 1638 at a place the local Lenni Lenape Indian tribe called Wiccaco, which means "pleasant place."
The early Swedes established Fort Christina (now Wilmington, Delaware) and settled along the river as far north as present day Trenton, New Jersey. Their leader, Governor Johan Pritz, declared the area New Sweden. These early colonists maintained good relations with the Indians, showing exceptional friendliness and respect to their neighbors.
The local river front was lined with an impressive grove of large beech, elm and buttonwood trees. Nearby meadows were populated with elk, deer and beaver, providing pelts for the fur trade. The area now known as Queen Village was originally owned by the Swedish family of Sven, whose log house stood on a knoll overlooking the river at what is now the NW corner of Beck & Swanson Streets. The one and a half story wooden structure had a large garden with various fruit trees. An inlet of water from the Delaware River allowed small boats to dock in front. The British Army used the wood from the house as fuel during the Revolutionary War.
The Dutch briefly claimed control, but the land was quickly ceded to the British. The King of England granted a land charter for what is now Pennsylvania to William Penn, who founded the city of Philadelphia in 1682 (just north of present day Queen Village).
Wiccaco changed little during the 17th century. The original Swedish settlement had few homes and much of their land remained a wilderness, except for a couple of small farms. One notable exception was Gloria Dei (Old Swedes™) Church. Completed in 1700, the impressive brick church between Christian Street and Washington Avenue is constructed in the Flemish bond style with alternating red and black header bricks. After serving as the Swedish Lutheran Church for more than 150 years, it has been a part of the Episcopal Church since 1845 and is the oldest church in Pennsylvania.
William Penn decided to change the name of “Wiccaco” to Southwark, after a similarly situated neighborhood on the south bank of the Thames in London.
In the late 1970′s, Southwark was renamed Queen Village after Queen Christina of Sweden, to recognize her role in promoting the original settlements.
The principal development of the area occurred in the 18th century and was heavily tied to commercial activity along the Delaware River. Ship builders, rope and sail makers, sailors, dock workers, carpenters, and craftsmen were among the early residents of the neighborhood.
Southwark did not officially become part of Philadelphia until 1854, when the Act of Consolidation was passed.
(from Wikipedia)

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