kids encyclopedia robot

Holmesburg, Philadelphia facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Saint Dominic Roman Catholic Church, on Frankford Avenue, was established in 1849
Saint Dominic Roman Catholic Church, on Frankford Avenue, was established in 1849
Country  United States
State Pennsylvania
County Philadelphia County
City Philadelphia
Area code(s) 215, 267, and 445

Holmesburg began as a Village within Lower Dublin Township, Pennsylvania. It is now a neighborhood in the Northeast section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Holmesburg was named in Honor of Surveyor General of Pennsylvania Thomas Holme, who was a cartographer.

The Surveyor General had no apparent business relationship or blood kinship to one John Holme, a Baptist minister and magistrate who immigrated to Philadelphia in the 1680s from New Jersey.

John Holme's decedents were land speculators and became very prominent citizens in Holmesburg, who owned a portion of the Pennypack grist mill and a lumber business, establishing an estate called Box Grove.

Holmesburg is bordered to the west by Brous Ave. to Ryan Ave. to Sandy Run/Pennypack Creek to Holme Ave. to Holme Circle to Ashton Rd. to Willits Rd, the Delaware River to the east, and Cottman avenue to the south. The border shared with Torresdale to the north is Welsh/Willits/Academy Road and then over to Linden Ave. Holmesburg's ZIP code is 19136.


Holmesburg is the birthplace or residence of some of famous Americans, including Stephen Decatur (War of 1812 Naval commander), .

Before the Act of Consolidation, 1854, Holmesburg had been a part of Delaware Township of Philadelphia County. Before 1853, it had been a part of Lower Dublin Township.

Holmesburg contains one of the longest continuous African-American communities in the nation, having been founded by runaway slaves prior to and during the Civil War.

Holmesburg is the location of the historic Pennypack Theatre building, built in 1929 in the Art Deco style with a 1,364-seat capacity and designed by acclaimed 20th century theater architect William Harold Lee.

The Frankford Avenue Bridge and Joseph H. Brown School were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Recreation and transportation

Recreational facilities include Holmesburg Recreation Center at Rhawn and Ditman Streets, James Ramp Memorial Playground, Pennypack Park and Pennypack on the Delaware.

Transportation to Center City Philadelphia is provided by SEPTA's Trenton Line commuter train, which affords a quick 25-minute ride into the urban center. Holmesburg is also served by SEPTA bus routes 28, 66, 70, 84, and 88, which take riders to other areas around Northeast Philadelphia and surrounding suburban areas. Interstate 95 is also an easy 10-15 minute drive into downtown, accessible either by the Cottman Avenue (PA-73) entrance to the south or Academy Road entrance to the north.

Holmesburg's main thoroughfare, Frankford Avenue (U.S. Route 13), is a historic byway in use for centuries. Frankford Avenue was used as a route from Philadelphia to points north as far back as the 17th century. The Frankford Avenue Bridge across Pennypack Creek, built in 1697, is the oldest stone arch bridge in continuous use in the country.

Holmesburg in print and film

Holmesburg Prison was used for three major motion pictures, Up Close & Personal starring Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer, Animal Factory starring Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, and Edward Furlong, and Law Abiding Citizen starring Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, and Colm Meany. Parts of the movie Fallen were also filmed here.


The School District of Philadelphia operates Joseph H. Brown Elementary School in Holmesburg. The original Joseph H Brown Elementary School opened in 1895. Brown feeds into Meehan Middle School. All persons assigned to Meehan are zoned to Abraham Lincoln High School. Lincoln was originally scheduled to be named Mayfair High School, but opposition from other neighborhoods, including Holmesburg, meant that the school was instead named after Abraham Lincoln. In 1949 the school's cornerstone was laid.

Saint Dominic Roman Catholic church and grade school are located in Holmesburg. Father Judge High School is also located in Holmesburg. It was established in 1954 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia and is run by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

Also St. Hubert High School for Girls is in Holmesburg. Holy Family University is planning on constructing buildings at the former Liddonfield Projects site.

Other private or independent schools in Holmesburg, Philadelphia include Holmesburg Christian Academy, which is affiliated with Holmesburg Baptist Church and includes a preschool, elementary school, and middle school.

Notable people

  • George Castor -Congressman
  • John Gibbon -Civil War General

Images for kids

kids search engine
Holmesburg, Philadelphia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.