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At the heart of Fishtown is the final resting place of generations of Kensington and Fishtown residents. Founded prior to 1748, Palmer Cemetery is one of the oldest in Philadelphia. Interred here, and in Hanover Street and West Street Burial Grounds are soldiers from every war fought by colonists and then Americans, from the French and Indian War until Desert Storm. The fishing families that built the neighborhood, victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793 and the ancestors of the Shibe family are also buried in these plots. Kenneth W. Milano walks the cemetery paths and reveals the secrets the stones keep with Palmer Cemetery and the Historic Burial Grounds of Kensington and Fishtown.
In the frigid winter months of 1876-77, more than twenty-seven thousand people called on the Kensington Soup Society. The society had come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1844. By World War I, however, the need for charitable soup organizations had begun its rapid decline. Facing financial crunches and internal turmoil, the society struggled to keep the doors of its soup house open. Other soup kitchens in the area closed; the Kensington Soup Society became the last of its kind. From the society's birth to its place in today's world, Kenneth W. Milano dives deep into the soul of the Kensington Soup Society.
The outskirts of Philadelphia seethed with tension in the spring of 1844. By May 6, the situation between the newly arrived Irish Catholics and members of the anti-immigrant Nativist Party took an explosively violent turn. When the Irish asked to have their children excused from reading the Protestant version of the Bible in local public schools, the nativists held a protest. The Irish pushed back. For three days, riots scorched the streets of Kensington. Though the immigrants first had the upper hand, the nativists soon put the community to the torch. Those who fled were shot. Two Catholic churches burned to the ground, along with several blocks of houses, stores, a nunnery and a Catholic school. Local historian Kenneth W. Milano traces this tumultuous history from the preceding hostilities through the bloody skirmishes and finally to the aftermath of arrests and trials. Discover a remarkably intimate and compelling view of the riots with stories of individuals on both sides of the conflict that rocked Kensington.
The native americans called it shackamaxon, the place where the chiefs meet, but Kensington soon became a meeting place of a different kind. Ideologies and demagogues, industry and entrepreneurs all came together in Kensington and Fishtown. Kensington was the epicenter of the American vegetarian movement, and a decade later the area's shipyards gave birth to the U.S. Navy's first submarine. In "Kensington & Fishtown," native son Kenneth W. Milano presents a collection of fascinating and diverse articles from his column "The Rest is History," Relive the golden age of Kensington and Fishtown as you learn about their fascinating pasts.
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