Visitors will learn about Disston Saw Works, the Market-Frankford El and a lot more at Saturday’s Northeast Philadelphia History Fair sponsored by the Friends of Northeast Philadelphia History.
The fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cannstatter’s, 9130 Academy Road. Admission is free and open to all. No registration is required.
At 11 a.m., Louis M. Iatarola and Amarynth Ruch of the Historical Society of Tacony will present Disston Saw Works, Past & Present.
At 1 p.m., John H. Hepp IV, Professor of History, Wilkes University, will present You Can’t Get to Heaven on the Frankford El: A Centennial History of the Frankford Elevated (in honor of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Frankford El in 1922).
In all, there will be more than 30 presenters – local historical societies, historical organizations, historic sites, museums, authors and others – offering displays, books, photos, maps, prints, memorabilia and more.
Iatarola, an appraiser and Realtor, serves as president of the Historical Society of Tacony, which takes part in the fair every year. The group will have a table in addition to its presentation.
“It’s a great way to show pride in Northeast neighborhoods,” Iatarola said of the fair. “This is something purely positive.”
The presentation will last 40 to 45 minutes and will touch on the Disston family, the neighborhood of Tacony and an existing business, Disston Precision, 6795 New State Road.
Iatarola will discuss Henry Disston, who owned a company that manufactured handsaws beginning in the mid-19th century.
Around 1872, he built the Disston Saw Works complex in Tacony, generally east of State Road from Unruh Avenue to Princeton Avenue. The complex employed thousands of people, most of whom lived in a nearby “town within a city.” The company was ultimately sold in 1955.
The Philadelphia Register of Historic Places approved a nomination making the area the Disston-Tacony Industrial Waterfront Historic District, with hopes for future redevelopment.
“It will be nice to look back on the impact the Saw Works had on the neighborhood, nation and world,” Iatarola said. “We’ll talk about the origins of the Saw Works, Henry Disston rising from an apprentice to the leader of his own company, and walk people through the saw-making process and the sale of the company out of the family in 1955.”
For more information on the fair, call 215-370-4626. ••