The Northeast welcomed the first inductees into its hall of fame yesterday, celebrating more than 300 years of accomplishments in our region.
More than 100 guests, honorees and elected officials gathered in Holy Family University
's John M. Perzel building to formally honor the first eight Northeast Philadelphians to be included in the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame -- something its creators plan to make an annual event.
"A [Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame] is long overdue," State Rep. Dennis O'Brien said in his address to the events attendees.
What they mean
Prior to the inductions, Rep. O'Brien explained why each had been chosen. (Read more about the inductees below)
Thomas Holme is responsible for making this the "greatest city to live in."
"If it weren't for the Disstons, I don't think we'd have the area of Tacony."
Tom Gola "is a hero and a mentor."
Mother Katharine Drexel was "brave" to do work she could have been persecuted for.
Joan Krajewski is "the toughest politician" next to Frank Rizzo.
Aid for Friends "paved the way for services in the home."
Harry Silcox is the "foremost historian" in the area.
The concept of a hall of fame devoted exclusively to the Northeast came about five years ago in a conversation between O'Brien and Northeast Times staff writer Tom Waring. The idea remained just that until 2007 when O'Brien, Waring and others partnered with the Center for Northeast Philadelphia History
, an offshoot of the Historical Society of Frankford
. With the help of steering and selection committees, the plans for the first Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame induction ceremony were underway in 2008.
The year of planning, organizing and selecting led up to yesterday's event -- a formal, catered affair provided by partners Rev. Paul Andell, president of the Historical Society of Frankford and pastor of St. James Lutheran Church; Sr. Francesca Olney, president of Holy Family University; John Scanlon, editor of the Northeast Times; and O'Brien, state representative of the 169th District.
"Denny O'Brien was really the driving force" behind the idea, Historical Society of Frankford Secretary Patricia Coyne told NEast Philly.
The goal of the hall of fame, as stated in the induction ceremony program, is:
"To foster the development of civic values and a sense of community in Northeast Philadelphia, along with a greater awareness and appreciation of the area's rich history, by honoring the lives and accomplishments of its most distinguished citizens."
The ceremony began with remarks from O'Brien, who then handed over the mic to Jack McCarthy, the project director for the hall of fame and planning director for and archivist for the Historical Society of Frankford. McCarthy presented photos of highlights of the Northeast's history, including a map from 1843.
"There are two misconceptions about the Northeast," he said. The first being that the Northeast has no history, the second that the Northeast is not diverse. McCarthy disspelled both myths with his photos.
Below watch Rep. O'Brien speaking about the value of Holy Family