Monument Men

Crossposted at Hidden City Philadelphia.

Just north of Kingsessing’s 49th Street bridge, amid the brush and litter of the Amtrak right-of-way, an old railroad monument offers an express ticket back to the Age of Jackson.

Newkirk Monument in Kingsessing (Bradley Peniston)

Newkirk Monument, looking northeast toward the Philly skyline (Bradley Peniston)

In 1838, the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad completed the first rail line between its namesake cities, a landmark feat that also helped link Boston and New York to the nation’s capital. The following year, the railroad’s board commemorated the effort with a 15-foot marble obelisk at the western foot of its Schuylkill River bridge. Inscribed on this Newkirk Monument were the names of the four railroads that merged to form the PW&B — and 51 of their executives, engineers, and contractors. Continue reading →