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Come on for the Mystery Tour… — 2 Comments

  1. There was indeed a spring on Belfield!
    According to La Salle’s Dr. Jim Butler, it was displaced/destroyed when 20th street was put in. I recall him telling a story about how Peale had fountains created by damming the spring and channeling the water through pipes. Glass globes with candles in them would balance on the fountains, looking very nice. Occasionally frogs would get caught in the pipes and block the fountain flow ruining the effect.
    The dams are still there, although the ponds behind them are all silted up. A small trickle of a stream still runs through it during wet seasons. There is also the remains of a pond further up the hill, close to the wall that borders 20th street.
    I’m remembering this from a tour I took some time ago, so I might have the details incorrect.
    I also own an historic map of that area from 1890s. It showed a creek running under Ogontz Ave, and a mill pond and race on 20th street, about 4 blocks north of where Olney Ave is today. There is a low-lying area there currently.

  2. Thanks Tim! Adam was saying that the spring might’ve been in the basement of one of the brick houses on the property which could have been a spring house. I find it really fascinating that before we had refrigerators, people would dip baskets full of milk, cheese, etc. into springs coming from the ground. Your map sounds really interesting too! If you haven’t looked at it already, I highly suggest Adam Levine’s website http://www.phillyh20.com. You might even want to get in touch with him about that map, if you’d be willing to let him borrow it or something. Cheers!

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