More than 200 years ago, soldiers of the Continental Army marched across the Pennypack Creek Bridge toward a monumental victory in Yorktown during the Revolutionary War. Saturday, neighbors marched across that very bridge to celebrate its historical marker, an honor that Fred Moore
and the community of Holmesburg have worked so hard to achieve.
A celebration was held to commemorate the bridge, built in 1697. A section of Frankford Avenue between Ashburner Street and Solly Avenue was closed for the residents to walk across the bridge led by Scottish bagpiper Don Phillips and the Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard.
Moore, the chairman of the Bridge Celebration Committee
and the former president of the Holmesburg Civic Association
, unveiled the marker. The procession then moved into Pennypack Park where U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, Pa. Reps. Kevin Boyle and Michael McGeehan and Councilman Bobby Henon addressed the crowd of an estimated 500 people.
The entrance of the park was lined with tables where residents could buy snacks and merchandise, or hear more about the history of Pennypack Creek. Historic demonstrations were also performed throughout the event with re-enactors sharing stories of the Revolutionary War. Children were also invited to go on a scavenger hunt and given commemorative bandanas as a prize.
History in the making
Last year, Moore filled out an online application through the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
and in February received the news his proposal had been accepted.
This wasn’t the first attempt to make the bridge a historical marker. Fifteen years ago, during the 300th anniversary of the bridge, an application was denied.
“The fact that the bridge is old isn’t necessarily important enough,” Moore said.
The bridge was part of the route taken by Continental Army troops under George Washington and French troops under Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau on their way to Yorktown. “Unbelievably, the Washington-Rochambeau route was not mentioned," Moore said. "People are not aware of how important the French were in our victory against Great Britain.”
Moore said he believes the omitted fact was a factor in the application's denial in 1997.
The Pennypack Creek Bridge sits on land used by Lenape Indians. William Penn later dubbed the trail "King’s Highway." He commissioned the bridge to be built by colonists who constructed it with local stone. A massive, five-story mill was also built. In September 1781, the bridge was also used by French and American soldiers in the march toward Yorktown where they would force Lord Cornwallis and his troops to surrender in 1781.