Features appear in each issue of Pennsylvania Heritage showcasing a variety of subjects from various periods and geographic locations in Pennsylvania.

At one time deli­cately depicted on dainty lamp shades, the Wissahickon Creek has offered generations of Philadelphians a verdant retreat from the stress of urban life. It is a place to meet old friends, engage in spirited recreational activities, or simply seek solitude. Each person’s reason for seeking respite along the Wissahickon is as unique as the individual, but all share a common love for the beauty found along the creek. And the history of Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Creek can be traced through the many voices and interpre­tations, sketched in words and paint, that described, romanti­cized, glorified, and popularized it.

The Wissahickon Creek is a mere fifteen minute drive­ – just six miles – from central Philadelphia. It flows south for twenty-one miles from two springs in Montgomery County, entering Philadelphia at Chestnut Hill and then winding through Mount Airy and Germantown to the east, and Roxborough and Wissahickon to the west, before uniting with the Schuylkill River.

The name Wissahickon has its roots in one of two Lenape (Delaware Indian) words­ – Wisaucksickan, meaning “yellow colored stream,” or Wisamickan, signifying “catfish creek.” On a 1689 map by surveyor Thomas Holme, it was named Whitpane’s [sic] Creek after land owner Richard Whitpain. Perhaps it may have been the desire to commemorate the local Native Americans, or the lyrical sound of the word “Wissahickon” itself, that gave the creek its name. Neverthe­less, throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, the spelling of the Wissahickon was not standardized, and it often appeared as “Wissahiccon” or “Wissahikon.”

On the creek’s banks once walked the Lenape, followed later by a band of German mystics in 1694 and generations of millers from the 1680s to the 1880s. During this period, the creek became a cradle of industry, powering fifty-four mills, nearly half of which were located in the six­-and-a-half-mile Philadelphia section of the creek. In 1869, in an early effort to clean and safeguard the city’s water supply, the Philadelphia section of the Wissahickon Creek and its banks were added to the Fairmount Park system, making it one of the largest urban parks in the world. The mills and most nearby hostelries were demolished not much later, allowing nature to reclaim the Wissahickon Valley. In 1964, the Wissahickon Valley was designated a Registered National Natural Landmark.

Nearly three centuries earlier, in 1683, inspired by William Penn’s dream to establish wider civil and religious liberties, two small groups of German settlers arrived in Philadelphia. Along with their leader, Francis Daniel Pastorius, these pioneers founded and settled Germantown, the first German community in America, near the Wissahickon Creek. At this time, few Lenape lived in the area, but it is said that they gathered at Council Rock, a massive rock perched high on the slopes above the Wissahickon Creek, until about 1753. It is also claimed that they made a final farewell visit to the rock in 1756 before leaving the region perma­nently. A century later the Lenape were commemorated on Council Rock by a large painted figure of a Native American made from a barn door. For years the towering wooden figure was a signifi­cant landmark to all who lived and strolled along the creek. Cornelius Weygandt described the memorial in his 1930 volume, The Wissahickon Hills.

There was a wooden Indian of weathered red way up the valley, at the very furthest distance my walking powers could encompass. Standing high above the trees on an outcrop of mica-schist, he made “Indian Rock” a place as holy to me as any place can be to [a child of] seven. That painted boarding was less life-like even than the gaudy figures of cigarstores, but it was a symbol of the romance out of which came the play of many hours; a play more pious to me then than any worship.

Eventually, the badly weathered “wooden Indian” was removed and then replaced in 1902 by a limestone statue sculpted by John Massey Rhind. To this day, the crouching figure, adorned in full head­dress, shades his eyes with one hand as he surveys the valley below. Rhind’s creation is popularly – but erroneously­ – called “Tedyuscung” after a Native American leader who, ironically, was never known to have even visited the Wissahickon Creek.

On June 23, 1694, eleven years after the first German settlers arrived, another band of religious outcasts set foot in Philadelphia. Garbed in coarse robes and lugging musical instruments and bibles, these mystics walked six miles to Germantown where they had arranged for sustenance until they could establish them­selves in the Wissahickon Valley. Their leader was Johannes Kelpius, born in Transylvania in 1673.

Johannes Kelpius and his group, who called themselves the “Chapter of Perfection,” were pietists who believed that the end of the world, or the millennium, was imminent. According to the Book of Revelation, the millennium would be signaled by the “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and the twelve stars on her forehead; she who had fled into the Wilderness.” Once in the Wissahickon, Kelpius and the mystics quickly built a tabernacle of logs on the west ridge near Hermit Lane. The tabernacle measured forty feet square with a rooftop observa­tory from which Kelpius’ followers could track the stars and watch for the coming of the millennium.

Kelpius himself spent much of !us time awaiting the millennium by meditating in a cave. The exact site of his cave has never been established, but a nearby spring house, reached by a footpath from Hermit Lane, is often referred to as “the Kelpius cave.” In 1708, at the age of thirty-five, with his spiritual family by his side, Johannes Kelpius died, still awaiting the end of the world. After his death, some of his followers remained in the valley and others moved on to the Cloisters at Ephrata.

The steady flow of the Wissahickon Creek and its proximity to Philadelphia made it an ideal site for early industries which relied on water for power. The first mills, erected between 1686 and 1689 near the mouth of the creek, were a modest log cutting mill and a gristmill In 1691, Andrew Robeson, Sr., and Charles Saunders pur­chased the mills and, except for the years between 1752 and 1789, the Robeson family retained ownership of the mills until 1862.

On April 20, 1795, the Duke de La Rochefoucault Liancourt of France journeyed on horseback from Philadelphia to Norristown with a Robeson brother-in-law, stopping at the Robeson mills. He recounted his visit in his 1799 Travels through the United States of North America. “Robertson [sic] grinds yearly from forty-five to about fifty thousand bushels of corn, which he procures from Virginia and New-York; and some is even brought from the upper parts of Pennsylvania …. Six horses are constantly employed in carrying the meal to Philadelphia, and bringing back corn in return. This journey is often performed twice a day …. ”

The Wissahickon is perhaps most historically significant as the site of the first paper mill – ­and the only paper mill in British North America for the first forty years. On Monoshone Creek, later called Paper Mill Run, a tributary of the Wissahickon, paper maker William Rittenhouse and printer William Bradford erected a paper mill which was in operation by 1691. The creek also supported flax and linseed oil, saw, dye, and textile mills, many of which eventually became large factories. By 1868, John and James Dobson employed one hundred and fifty laborers at their carpet yarn mill During the Civil War, the brothers leased a mill from the Robeson family and made blankets for the Union Army.

Thomas Livezey III, a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, headed a prominent milling family. His gristmill, purchased in 1747, became one of the largest in the British colonies. It was located a few hundred feet below Cresheim Creek, a small tributary of the Wissahickon. The old Livezey homestead, Glenn Fern, still stands near the former mill site and serves as headquarters of the Valley Green Canoe Club.

Thomas Livezey’s sense of humor and wit survives in a poem that he sent to his cynical friend Joseph Gallo­way, also a member of the Assembly and a leading lawyer, in December 1765. Evidently, Galloway could not fathom Livezey’s desire to live in such isolation.

… This the place of my abode, when humbly here I dwell,
Which, in romantic Lawyer mood, thou hast compared to Hell.
But Paradise where Adam dwelt in blissful love and ease,
A Lawyer would compare to Hell, if thence he got no fees.
Canst thou prefer thy Heaven on earth thy fee the Root of evil­ –
To this my lonely harmless place, my Hell without a Devil?

Although Livezey’s poem portrays a life of idyllic bliss, mill life was not everyone’s paradise. There were, after all, floods, fires, and tragic milling accidents. Poulson’s American Advertiser reported on July 27, 1803, that gristmiller John Wise, “in examining the spindle of the trunnel wheel in the mill, when in motion, his head was caught between the great cog-wheel and wollowers, which after closing upon it, lifted the gudgeon of the latter, and gave sufficient space for his body to pass below. His son, who was near the mill, observed the works to be deranged, immedi­ately closed the water-gate, and on searching for the cause, found his Father’s Body!”

The Wissahickon that Thomas Livezey knew and loved remained relatively isolated into the 1830s. In Philadelphia As It Is, published in 1833, the Wissahickon was described as “a volume of itself, unfortunately a sealed volume to ninety-nine in a hundred of the Philadel­phians.” The entrance to the Wissahickon near the Ridge Road was impassable until 1826, when a mass of rocks was removed from the east bank and a narrow and crude cart track laid out. This road led to the Rittenhouse gristmill at the Red Bridge, today the site of the Blue Stone Bridge. Prior to this, the only access to the creek was by the mill roads which ran across the valley and over the creek bridges connecting Roxborough with Germantown and Chestnut Hill. The road construction of 1826, as well as the completion of the railroad bridge over the creek in 1834, connecting Philadelphia and Manayunk, gradually opened this “sealed volume” to both residents and visitors.

The unprecedented accessibility attracted many visitors who unwittingly recorded their impressions for posterity. British actress Fanny Kemble, credited with arous­ing public interest in the Wissahickon, became ac­quainted with the creek when she and her father toured the United States in 1832, perform­ing in New York and later at Philadelphia’s Chestnut Street Theatre. Her journal, pub­lished in 1835, contains a brief description of the Wissahickon.

I stopped for a long time opposite the Wissahickon Creek. The stone Bridge, with its grey arch, mingled with the rough blocks of rock on which it rested, the sheet of foaming water falling like a curtain of gold over the dam among the dark stones below …. The thick bright rich tufted cedars basking in the warm amber glow, the picturesque mill, the smooth open field … formed a most enchanting and serene subject of contemplation.

While Kemble’s journal entry was instrumental in popularizing the creek, other publications predate her account of the Wissahickon. The most significant of these, Picturesque Views of American Scenery, issued in 1820, featured the first published views of the American landscape. It combined the artistry of Joshua Shaw with the masterful aquatints of printmaker John Hill, both British expatriates. Published in Philadelphia by Mathew Carey and Son, each bound folio contained twenty plates accompanied by text. Shaw’s descriptions of the Wissahickon remain particu­larly striking.

Nothing can be more pictur­esque than the scenery through which this wild and beautiful stream passes. Rushing, as it does, sometimes through dark and romantic forests, and then winding through level and verdant landscapes, it presents numerous scenes upon which the talents of the poet or the painter might be exercised with advan­tage.

On December 6, 1828, the Wissahickon made its first appearance in fiction in the Saturday Evening Post. “The Pike Hole” by L. S. is a story of a bewitched or supernatural place in common surround­ings. In this story, a mischievous miller’s son, Bully Hen, believes that the pike hole must be avoided at all costs.

That’s where old Satan kept his fish a-long ago – and a tarnation sight o’ pike he had there, … but they do say he’s never been seen for a long while, and that there’s no more pike there now – nor ever has been, since Gilley Brunt, the old blacksmith at the falls, went a fishing drunk, and threw his hook, in that ere hole – and gosh! something laid hold of his hook, and jerked line, and rod, and poor Gilley, down to the bottom – if it has any bottom, that is.

It’s later revealed that the pike hole is a manmade fish pond created by a benign old man who lives along the creek. Public fascination ran high, and within two months, “The Pike Hole” was reprinted in two Philadelphia periodicals.

In 1835, the same year Fannie Kemble’s journal was published, a short essay entitled “The Wissahiccon” appeared in the December issue of the Southern Literary Messenger. The piece is the earliest and most comprehensive historical and descriptive account of the creek. And even at this early date, the author, B. Matthias, was concerned with the creek’s preservation. “The place should ever be reserved as a refreshing retreat,” he wrote, “where the soul may be uplifted in devotion, and the heart gladdened in sweet contemplation – where no sound shall be heard but the notes of melody and joy …. ”

Edgar Allan Poe frequented the Wissahickon while he lived in Philadelphia between 1838 and 1844. His short story, “Morning on the Wissahiccon,” was published in an 1844 gift book, The Opal.

Not long ago I visited the stream … and spent the better part of a sultry day in floating in a skiff upon its bosom. The heat gradually overcame me, and resigning myself to the influence of the scenes and of the weather, and of the gently moving current, I sank into a half slumber, during which my imagination revelled in visions of the Wissahiccon of ancient days-of the “good old days” when the Demon of the Engine was not, when pic-nics were undreamed of, when “water privileges” were neither bought nor sold, and when the red man trod alone, with the elk, upon the ridges that now towered above ….

It was also in the 1840s that George Lippard, the most prolific of all Wissahickon writers, published his legends of the American Revolution, some of which were set in the Wissahickon. An eccentric character, Lippard was the most widely read author in America from 1844 until his death in 1854 at the age of thirty-two. Despite his popu­larity, his works were often criticized as being hastily written, difficult to follow, sensational and, not the least, immoral.

George Lippard was raised in Germantown, the site of an important battle waged between American and British troops during the Revolution­ary War. On October 4, 1777, the Hessians and Americans skirmished near the Ridge Road Bridge spanning the Wissahickon. Gen. John Armstrong, who led the Pennsylvania Militia down Ridge Road, was greatly outnumbered and forced to retreat. Lippard, captivated by stories of these events, published several tales of the war with the Wissahickon as the background, including Herbert Tracy, or The Legend of the Black Rangers in 1844, and The Rose of Wissahikon three years later. He was also inspired by Johannes Kelpius and drew upon the mystic pietist’s life to write Paul Ardenheim: The Monk of Wissahikon in 1848. Much like Kelpius, the fictional Ardenheim is found in the New World leading the life of a celibate. The book’s pictorial wrapper depicts a log struc­ture on a hill and a cave near a body of water, doubtless allusions to the Wissahickon, the cave in which Kelpius meditated, and the log tabernacle.

The Wissahickon remained a lifelong muse for Lippard, and so it was fitting that he was married by moonlight, high above the creek, to Rose Newman – his very own “Rose of the Wissahickon” – on May 14, 1847. The unorthodox ceremony spawned fantastic tales of their wedding, including one which had George and his beloved Rose swimming naked to make their way to a high rock, either Lover’s Leap or Mom Rinker’s Rock. Another legend claimed that the couple exchanged their vows with God as their witness before swimming back to Philadelphia.

Nineteenth century poems portraying the Wissahickon are plentiful, although most are written in a cloying, dated style. Perhaps the most famous poem touching on the Wissahickon is “The Pennsyl­vania Pilgrim,” John Greenleaf Whittier’s 1872 piece about the German emigration to America and the settlement of Germantown by Francis Daniel Pastorius. In it, Whittier also honors Johannes Kelpius.

While writers and bards were celebrating the creek with prose and poetry, painters and photographers were busily depicting the Wissahickon in all its wild glory. At the opening of the nineteenth century, even before the publication of Shaw’s Picturesque Views, artists began to journey to the creek. Among these visitors were British landscape painters whose picturesque ideal depicting man or the manmade in nature created a balance between the wild and the cultivated. They found that their traditional notions of the picturesque could easily be transferred to the industrial­ized yet wild Wissahickon Creek. Some of the early visitors were the architect and engineer Benjamin Henry Latrobe, his student William Strickland, William Groombridge, and George Beck. They were followed by Joshua Shaw, Thomas Birch, James Hamilton, and the American artists James Peale and Charles Bird King.

Even though these artists made brief excursions to the creek, others spent consider­able time exploring its craggy banks and verdant glades. The renowned German-born landscape painter Paul Weber, his son Carl, and his nephew Carl Philipp Weber frequented the creek during the second half of the nineteenth century. The Webers exhibited Wissahickon Valley paintings at Philadelphia’s venerable Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. On June 7, 1853, The North American and United States Gazette reviewed Paul Weber’s painting entitled A View on the Wissahiccon, probably exhibited at the Academy two years earlier: “The Wissahiccon is a real American landscape – having all the characteristics of American scenery, foliage, air [,] everything – nothing of the German, English, or any other landscape or school.. .. ” The noted Moran brothers, Thomas and John, found great inspiration in the Wissahickon. Thomas, with tis sketch pad and paints, and John, with his camera, worked extensively along the creek in the 1860s. Thomas also exhibited his Wissahickon paintings at the Pennsylvania Academy.

In 1871, not long after the Wissahickon Valley was annexed to Fairmount Park, Thomas Moran’s illustrations appeared in the Third Annual Report of the Commissions of Fairmount Park and in Charles Keyser’s Fairmount Park: Sketches of its Scenery, Waters, and History. In Keyser’s book, the romantic names commonly used today to refer to some of the more unusual and spec­tacular natural formations along the creek corridor appeared in print for the very first time. “Lover’s Leap” was the focal point of tales about amorous victims who suc­cumbed to tragic fates, while “Devil’s Pool,” near the mouth of Cresheim Creek, conjured up stories and images reminis­cent of “The Pike Hole.”

The following year, Moran’s illustrations of the western territories were published in a lavish pictorial volume entitled Picturesque America, edited by the eminent poet William Cullen Bryant. The Wissahickon, illustrated in Picturesque America by Granville Perkins, joined views of the Hudson, Mississippi, and Ohio rivers, the Catskill Mountains, and breathtaking views of canyons and ravines on the western frontiers of Utah and Nevada.

The addition of the Wissahickon to Fairmount Park proved to be quite timely. Philadelphia hosted the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in West Fairmount Park, and among the fine art exhibitors was Germantown resident and artist William Trost Richards, a student of Paul Weber, who painted The Wissahickon in 1872 for his friend and patron, George Whitney. His master­piece won a bronze medal at the Centennial.

For the Centennial crowds, publishers produced dozens of guide books and hundreds of stereographs featuring the exhibition grounds, as well as historic and picturesque sites in and surrounding Philadel­phia. Naturally, the Wissahickon figured promi­nently in these guides. However, the most impressive pictorial book published in conjunction with the 1876 celebration was A Century After: Picturesque Glimpses of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, which featured illustrations by James Hamilton, Thomas Moran, and Felix Octavius Carr Darley. The Wissahickon appeared in ten illustrations­ – six of them full-page!

Although the Wissahickon remained a popular place to paint, the picturesque ideal aspired to at the opening of the nineteenth century eventually grew passe and the creek was no longer considered among the most desirable locations to paint. By mid-century, landscape artists became drawn to the American wilderness, a new – and largely uncharted – frontier representing unlimited possibilities and opportunities. The artists’ focus shifted to the majestic villas found in the newly accessible Adirondack and Catskill mountains, the Hudson River, and later to the West, eclipsing many smaller picturesque sites that had been liberally illustrated in earlier pictorial publications.

The Wissahickon Valley, preserved as it is today, resulted from Philadelphia’s growing demand for a sufficient supply of clean drinking water. By the end of the eighteenth century, Philadelphians discussed the Wissahickon as a potential source. In his will, published in 1790, Benjamin Franklin stipulated that after one hundred years, a portion of his legacy was to be used to bring Wissahickon water into the city. Eight years later, in 1798, Benjamin Henry Latrobe studied the city’s water supply and submitted proposals for a waterworks. Latrobe rejected the Wissahickon as a source because it lacked “a sufficient quantity of water” and, he further noted, “the creek has been, even this winter, almost frozen to the bottom.” Instead, Latrobe built the city’s first waterworks in 1801 to draw water from the Schuylkill River. By the end of its first decade, however, it grew evident that Latrobe’s pumphouse could not ad­equately serve the needs of the city. A new waterworks was built in 1815 on the banks of the Schuylkill River at Fairmount.

In order to preserve the purity of its drinking water, the city began to systemati­cally purchase the lands upriver from the Fairmount Waterworks. In 1855, the city passed an ordinance which “devoted and dedicated to public use, as a park, the Lemon Hill estate, to be known by the name of Fairmount Park.” This act opened the way for additional land acquisitions and gifts of estates along the Schuylkill River. The Fairmount Park Commission was established in 1867 to maintain the park, and the Wissahickon and its banks were annexed to the park two years later. Before long, potential water polluters, including the mills and most roadhouses, were demolished.

The first Wissahickon roadhouses were built in the 1840s. The Maple Springs Hotel was famous for the fantastic decorations that proprietor Joseph “Rooty” Smith created and gave to visitors. Smith gathered laurel roots on his many rambles along the creek and fashioned them into hundreds of grotesque figures, caricatures of notable people, and other odd and ornamental curios. One of the owners of the Old Log Cabin attempted to attract patrons by exhibiting an assortment of animals, including buffaloes, monkeys, snakes, an American eagle, and two “learned” bears trained to delight crowds by pulling corks out of spruce beer. Other well known inns and road houses included the Lotus Inn, two Indian Rock Hotels, Wissahickon Hall (now a police station) and the Valley Green Inn. Valley Green, the only other inn structure to survive, is still in operation, but its traditional, time­-honored fare of catfish and waffles has been replaced by poached Norwegian salmon with dill. But one enduring tradition remains: the driver of the first sleigh to reach the inn after the first snowfall of the year is bestowed with a bottle of champagne.

As neighborhoods devel­oped around the Wissahickon, so did local interest and pride in the creek. Around the turn of the century, civic groups and leaders rallied around various causes, including the restoration, improvement, and expansion of the Wissahickon and Fairmount Park. In 1902, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Henry presented the Native Ameri­can statue on Council Rock to Fairmount Park, and in 1906, the Houston-Woodward­-Henry family donated much of the land along Cresheim Creek. The Society of Colonial Dames, a patriotic lineage society, had financed the restoration of the Valley Green Inn for use as a cafe.

The great interest in the creek, however, also brought a serious threat to its preserva­tion as a wild area. In 1900, the road along the lower Wissahickon was widened to allow motorists to drive safely along the creek between Ridge Avenue and Rittenhouse Street. In 1910, 1915, and again in the early 1920s, proposals to allow automobiles along the upper reaches of the creek came before the Fairmount Park Commission. Concerned citizens, neighbors, and civic groups banded together and led a successful resistance against the motorized invad­ers. As a result of these protests, two organizations were created to protect the Wissahickon. The Philadelphia Riders and Drivers Associa­tion, founded in 1920, hosted a large equestrian demonstra­tion in October 1920. The following year, the first annual Wissahickon Day Parade was held in May, attracting twelve thousand spectators who came to see more than six hundred equestrians in support of banning motorists from the upper Wissahickon. The second group, the Friends of the Wissahickon, organized in 1925, continue to support the maintenance of the Wissahickon through both monetary gifts and labor. One recent gift financed the installation of three state-of­-the-art fiberglass bridges at Devil’s Pool. Volunteers also donate their time and labor to plant trees, remove invasive foliage, and clear trails. Since 1934, the Friends has been responsible for the upkeep of the Valley Green Inn.

Many more groups are actively involved with the protection and preservation of the Wissahickon through educational programs and the donation of time and skills. Despite myriad efforts to preserve the Wissahickon, the creek is still threatened by pollution. As recently as January 17, 1993, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Wissahickon Creek is “as picturesque as it is putrid,” noting it receives “tremendous volumes of treated waste,” most of it entering the waters upstream in Montgomery County. Even so, on a crisp October morning, gleeful shrieks ring out near the bridge at Kitchen’s Lane. With bikes strewn in the creek, two boys are hotly pursuing a snake. A father pushing a baby carriage stops on the bridge above to watch the commotion below, as does a couple linked arm in arm. A runner with a radio jogs in place and lowers the headset from her ears. The boys – now screaming, “Snake! Snake!” – are trying to pick up the frightened creature with a stick. It is sizable, about two feet or so. About three-quarters of a mile downstream, below the Blue Stone Bridge, a woman with a fishing pole in hand sits serenely at the bottom of a steep rocky gorge. She casts her line into the clear, cold water slowly and methodically. Only the faint rhythm of water splashing over rocks breaks the silence. It is peaceful. It is beautiful. It is the Wissahickon Creek.

 

For Further Reading

Brandt, Francis Burke. The Wissahickon Valley Within the City of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Corn Exchange National Bank, 1927.

Contosta, David R. Suburb in the City: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 1850-1990. Columbus: Ohio University Press, 1992.

Conwill, Joseph D. “The Wissahickon Valley: To a Wilder­ness Returned.” Pennsylvania Heritage. 12, 3 (Summer 1986).

Daly, T. A. The Wissahickon. Philadelphia: The Garden Club of Philadelphia, 1922.

Green, James. The Rittenhouse Mill and the Beginnings of Papermaking in America. Philadelphia: The Library Company of Philadelphia and Friends of Historic RittenhouseTown, 1990.

West, Sarah. Rediscovering the Wissahickon Through its Science and History. Philadel­phia: Westford Press, 1993.

Weygandt, Cornelius. The Wissahickon Hills. Philadel­phia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1930.

 

The author gratefully acknowl­edges the invaluable assistance in the preparation of the exhibition and this article from the staff of the Library Company of Philadel­phia, lenders to the exhibition, F. Markoe Rivinus, former presi­dent of the Friends of the Wissahickon, and John McIlhenny, park historian, Fairmount Park Commission.

 

Susan Oyama, Philadelphia, is assistant curator of prints for the Library Company of Philadelphia and curator of the exhibition “A Walk on the Wild Side: The Wissahickon Creek 1800-1940,” on view at the Library Company from Monday, October 18, through March 18, 1994. She is also an exhibiting artist and was photographer for Philadelphia Then and Now, published by Dover Publications, Inc., New York, in 1988. She received her bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Hawaii and her master of fine arts degree from the Tyler School of Art of Temple University.