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Sign of the times

The King’s Highway Trust Foundation has mounted historic designation signs along Frankford Avenue.

Making their marker: The King’s Highway Foundation recently installed signage to denote the history of the historic path. King’s Highway Day will highlight the history of the area with multi-day events and demonstrations this August. LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

As of about two weeks ago, a simple walk along Frankford Avenue can supply an entire history lesson.

Signs demarcating historic or influential sites like The Devon Theater, Red Lion Inn and the Thomas Holme Free Library were placed by the King’s Highway Trust Foundation June 14.

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The signs are meant to provide historical context to Frankford Avenue, which used to be a highway in colonial times.

“Situated in what was then Lower Dublin Township, All Saint’s Episcopal Church was founded in 1772 as a mission church of Trinity Church, Oxford. It is the only building in the city of Philadelphia and possibly the state of Pennsylvania that was designed by English architect Frank Wills,” reads the sign outside of All Saints’ Church.

Every time the Times checks in with founder Jason Sherman, he spitfires a number of updates on initiatives the foundation has been working on. The group’s nonprofit declaration is one of them — now officially the King’s Highway Trust Nonprofit, they have officially received their articles of incorporation and have applied for a 501©(3).

Here are some of the updates.

King’s Highway Day

August is going to be a big month for the KHTF.

On June 12, Sherman and Mia Hylan traveled to the Pennsylvania State Capitol to watch the House of Representatives vote on PA House Resolution 974, introduced by State Rep. Martina White. The resolution would designate Aug. 20 as King’s Highway Day in PA.

“They voted on the bill on the House of Representatives floor and had to say yea or nay,” said a clearly excited Sherman as he drove along Frankford Avenue, taking in the mint condition signs. “I was on the floor wearing a suit. It was like being in a dream. It’s so hard to put into words.”

The resolution received unanimous approval.

“It is my honor to have my colleagues join me in recognizing Aug. 20, 2018, as King’s Highway Day in Pennsylvania,” White said after the vote.

That means Aug. 20 and the days leading up to it are going to be packed with activity for Northeast Philadelphia.


The First Annual Northeast Philadelphia History and Heritage Celebration will run Aug. 16 to 19 and will offer a number of attractions and activities.

Things kick off Aug. 16 with a walking tour of Tacony, the return of the bus tour and screening of the King’s Highway documentary that started it all. Those on the bus tour will be dropped off at Cottman and Frankford avenues where an outdoor festival will be. The next few days will bring activities such as Share Your Story, where citizens can tell their own stories and their ancestors’ through a series of interactive workshops.

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Aug. 19 at the 1697 King’s Highway Bridge. There will be another festival that day at Pennypack on the Delaware that will place attendees right in the colonial era with reenactments, costumed actors, colonial food and music and much more.

This is just the beginning of what to expect that week. For further events and details, go to the holiday’s website.

Preservation award

Earlier in the month, King’s Highway Foundation received the Preservation Education Award by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

King’s Highway was one of 20 award recipients this year, and was honored for the documentary and efforts to save Lower Dublin Academy.

“The award is a testament to the work we’ve been doing and how important it is,” Sherman said. “Saving a building is great, but spreading awareness to all of the buildings is important as well.”

The foundation’s other initiatives have included creating walking tours that lead tourists to historic sites and running a bus tour of the highway.

Sherman was surprised to learn his foundation was named a recipient.

“I was in shock,” he said. “I couldn’t believe they were giving us an award for something we didn’t expect to get an award for. We were doing it because we want to help, and didn’t expect to get an award out of it.” ••

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