When you’re talking about the “Far Northeast,” you don’t get much farther up than Knights and Woodhaven roads.
“It was the end of the world,” said Bill Conway, who was living in the Robindale development in 1957. His fondest memory of that era was going to Sophie’s, a kind of general store, which he said closed in the mid-1960s.
That notion of the city’s northern limits began to expand in the mid-1950s, when the neighborhood we now call Millbrook was being developed. Some residents literally are at the edge of the city and can see Bucks County from their windows.
Many people might recall the neighborhood being called Chalfont. That’s still the name of the local playground and the local Town Watch.
It’s not a big neighborhood, but it developed in stages, John Kradzinksi, president of the Millbrook Civic Association, said in a recent interview. Most of the building started in 1956, a little more than 20 years after the Northeast Times was founded.
Oldtimers will recall development names like Robindale, Park View, Ashley Square, Hampton Park and builders named DiMarco, Altman and Korman.
A new population brought now well-recognized institutions.
Liberty Bell Race Track, now the site of Philadelphia Mills, was north of Woodhaven Road. The Knights Road Shopping Center is just south of Woodhaven Road. The Robindale Shopping Center is a block or so farther south off Knights.
The YMCA on Knights Road and the Katharine Drexel branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia are in Millbrook. Our Lady of Calvary, which was once St. Michael’s Mission, according to Millbrook Civic Association secretary Mike Bremser, is another Millbrook fixture.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year is the Calvary Athletic Association, right next to the Chalfont Playground on Deer Path Lane. With such a long history in the neighborhood, it might be difficult to find a kid who at one point in his or her life didn’t go into Calvary AA’s building at the top of the hill. ••